Went to the beach the other day. Unlike hiking, I usually enjoy the beach. The reason I say “usually” is because I learned a valuable lesson this latest time. I learned that the beach can suck as much as hiking if you’re not careful. What happened was this: My girlfriend and I were out wading in the water and I noticed that at this particular beach (which I’d never been to before) there was a sandbar out about 100 yards off shore. There were several groups of people on the sandbar. I said that I wanted to swim out there to check it out. My girlfriend said “I don’t think that’s a good idea, that’s really far.” I took another look out to the sand bar and saw that there were extremely fat people, and old people, and out of shape people all over it. I pointed this out and she repeated “that looks far.” So, of course, I got pissed. ”If they can make it out there I can!” I told her. She shrugged. Now I was really pissed, and I knew I had to show her. If some fucking obese asshole who probably gets winded brushing his teeth can swim out there, I knew I could. So I took off. It wasn’t hard… for a while. About half way to the sand bar it started to get a little tough. I had enjoyed swimming before that moment, but then and there I realized something. Swimming is just an aquatic form of hiking. Swimming is bullshit. I stopped for a second and took a look at the people on the sandbar. The old and fat dipshits were staring at me. ”Fuck them” I thought and started swimming again. I started pushing myself harder, I wasn’t going to let some lard-nuts show me up. After about a minute of swimming like this I felt a sharp pain in my ankle. I looked down and then something hit me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me. I tried to swear – as I am wont to do – but since I had no breath it just came out as a sort of pathetic wailing sound. After flailing for a second I finally noticed something large under me. I probably would have wet myself if I weren’t so busy trying to flail and breath. I thought it was a shark for a moment, but then I realized what it was. It was some sort of fucking coral reef. I had run right into it. I looked up and all those elderly fat shit-nuggets were looking at me, they weren’t but a few feet away and they were all wearing the same look of “what the fuck is this guy’s problem?” Then, I noticed something that took the wind out of me even worse than the coral had. They were all on floats and rafts. Every one of those motherfuckers had floated out there. I looked back at my girlfriend… so far away I could barely recognize her. I wanted to scream like a little girl “help, please! I’m an idiot!” But instead, of course, I just waved at her. I tried to stand up triumphantly but I slipped on the slick choral and fell on my ass. I hoped it looked like a macho fall. I turned around and the whale-wannabees had floated off, obviously annoyed by me. For a split second…. and you must understand it was an extremely small split… I thought to ask one of them to help float me back. But I knew what had to be done… all pride rode on it. I had to swim back myself or die. It would be much better to have everyone read in the paper the next day of how I died trying to accomplish such a daring feat, rather than hear my girlfriend tell her friends about how I had to be floated back to shore by some 300 pound wet gorilla of a man riding on a couple of pink water noodles. So I started back. I was tired WAY before the halfway point this time. In fact, after a few seconds I could no longer swim the standard front-stroke way. So I turned and did the back stroke for a while, then when that got tiring I tried the side stroke, then my other side, then I doggie-paddled (I shit you not) then I was trying strokes never heard of. In a matter of minutes I probably invented strokes that would revolutionize the swimming world, but all I was trying to do was use any muscle not yet failing me. Then, when I was a little past the halfway point I stopped and treaded water in order to get catch my breath. I looked over at my girlfriend and I noticed the life guard out, with his little red float, looking right at me. FUCK THAT! “FUCK YOU” I thought. I’d rather be brought back in by the fat-pack back there than have some shirtless baywatch reject bring me in to my girlfriend. FUCK THAT. Before I even started swimming again I had it planned out. If he came to get me I’d punch him in the face. I’d beat the shit out of him with the last of my energy and we’d both go down. Then the story would be that conditions were so bad that not even a lifeguard could endure. FUCK THAT GUY! I started again. This time I plowed through the pain. My arms would fall off, I was sure of it. I was going to make it to shore. And I did. It probably should have been one of the proudest moments of my life. The lifeguard put his stupid red float away and sulked back into his watchtower. The bulky-bunch floated out at the coral reef, undisturbed and barely moving. And I was standing on shore. It should have been a proud moment, indeed, but I looked at my girlfriend and she said “So are you done? That was dumb.” and walked back to our spot on the beach. I followed her, barely able to make it, and crumbled up in the fetal position for a few hours. Oh, and I had massive diarrhea that night, but I have no idea if that was related.