Truly Blessed

ALS patient James Martin shares his journey.

Slip Slidin' Away

Print Print
James Martin
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This week we took a family trip to Wisconsin Dells, home to the world's largest waterpark and two different resorts that claim to be America's largest waterpark. I guess the politicians are correct, there are two Americas and some live on another world. 

I could not go on any water slides, but it had more to do with common sense than my diagnosis. The newest slide, "Tommy Bartlett's Human Sacrifice Tube of Death," is a sight to see. After climbing the equivalent of the Empire State Building, the sacrificial lamb is publicly weighed to ensure the water god will be pleased. The lamb then enters the clear plastic coffin and places his hands on his chest in the traditional funeral pose.  He remains standing at the top of the tube.

After the proper countdown, the floor drops out.  The lamb shoots straight down and is propelled through a loop and is then expelled out.  It is over in seconds, but for the lamb it is eternity in a tube.  One poor sacrifice did not have the thrust to make it through; he was stuck at the top of the loop.

A whistle blew and then this strange music began to play. Then appearing on the ladders were the waterpark Oompa Loompas.  They were carrying a giant mechanical plunger that they attached to the tube.  The Oompas began pumping and pumping with the pressure building and building, all along singing their song.

The pumping continued and the pressure needle hit red, then a giant pop was heard throughout the park.  The pop was followed by a giant whoosh that preceded the scream of the sacrificial lamb as he flew through the remainder of the slide.  With the buildup of this immense water and air pressure  he was propelled out of the slide and took flight over the lazy river, finally landing unceremoniously on top of a cabana.  The pressure on him was so great that his swimsuit wedgie actually went up his back and over the top of his head. It was like watching a mushroom get speared by the table chef at Benihana. 

Though I did not go on any slides, especially that tube of death, I did attempt to float around the lazy river.  It was quite a challenge.  In my condition I did not try to sit in a tube as I was concerned that I would be unable to get out.  Then I would have become a permanent fixture on the river, going around and around and around. And that is not anyway to spend the remainder of my life. 

Instead, I held on to a tube and allowed the current to take me.  In some ways I would have been more at ease on the tube of death. At least my demise would have been quick.  The river was anything but lazy as I have seen smaller rapids on the Snake river.  Who knew that two and a half feet of water could be so terrifying? I spun and turned and bobbed like an apple in a barrel at Halloween.  Two laps and I was done.  I climbed out of the river and slumbered to the lounge chair to spend the remainder of the day.

So if tubes of death and rapid lazy rivers sound like fun to you, head to the dells.  If not, there is always Netflix. 

Last updated: 10:46 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

James Martin is a former attorney and graduate of Gonzaga University and Marquette Law School. He lives in Spring Prairie near Burlington. He has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He is married with 6 kids. James is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the Gazette staff or management.

Print Print