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The Fish In The Pants

In the summer of 1985, I went on my first real vacation. By real, I mean my family and I didn’t sleep in the spare room at a relative’s house for a week. We piled in to the family station wagon and made the 12-hour trek from da ‘Nati to Sunset Beach, North Carolina.

I have many memories from the week. I saw a shark for a first time when a fisherman on the pier unwittingly reeled one in. I discovered ocean currents are an actual thing when I was nearly sucked out to sea. Dad took us to see the USS North Carolina, a relic of World War II. Then, there was, as Revis has affectionately dubbed it, the “fish in the pants” incident.

After a lengthy dip in the salty Atlantic one day I moved to the beach where I laid my towel atop the blistering sand so the sun could bake my body dry. I laid face down on the towel and rested my head on a pillow made from my crisscrossed arms. I had just gotten comfortable when I felt a flutter in my swimming trunks. I quickly glanced toward my left thigh where I had felt the disturbance. I saw nothing out of the ordinary and assumed that it was just water running down my leg.

I laid my head down again. Moments later the flutter in my trunks came back with a vengeance. I looked back down at my swimming trunks and what I saw dropped my jaw to the beach like a skydiver without a chute . It looked like a disembodied heart was beating haphazardly inside my swimming trunks. There was a bulge in my shorts and it was pulsating.

Like this, except the side of my swimming trunks. And it wasn’t heart-shaped.

I freaked the fuck out.

I shot up from the ground and squealed in terror. I frantically peeled my swimming trunks up in an effort to figure out what the hell was going on inside of them. A small golden fish finally popped out of my swimming trunks and fell onto my towel. The fish began flopping around on my towel while I continued screaming like a little girl. By this time my father had come over to investigate the ruckus.

“That fish was in my shorts!” I shrieked like it had just tried to murder me.

My father calmly regarded me. His gaze shifted from me to the fish floundering on my towel, then back again, his look clearly asking, “Are you fucking serious?” When he realized that I, in fact, was literally having a breakdown in the middle of a crowded beach because a small fish escaped the ocean in my swimming trunks, he sighed and said, “Toss it back in the water.”

Incredulous, I roared, “I’m not touching that thing!”

My father heaved a burdensome sigh and muttered, “Jesus Christ.” He scooped up the little fish and threw it back into the water. He then walked away, shaking his head over the scene his son had just caused over a fish half the size of his hand.

I wasn’t so traumatized that I didn’t go back into the water the rest of the week, but I for damn sure inspected my shorts every time I left the ocean thereafter. I’ve also endured years of criticism and embarrassment due to this horrifying incident. All I can say is this: if you unwittingly carried a fish out of the ocean in your swimming trunks I think you’d freak out, too.

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Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

Discussion

139 thoughts on “The Fish In The Pants

  1. *resists the urge to hum the theme from “Jaws”* Seriously, that must have sucked.

    Like

    Posted by 1jaded1 | March 18, 2014, 6:44 am
  2. Yeah, pretty much.
    You scream like a girl.

    Like

    Posted by merbear74 | March 18, 2014, 7:04 am
  3. Oh, no… but I’m sorry — haha! That story was adorable, TD.

    Like

    Posted by Eva | March 18, 2014, 7:42 am
  4. haha! you lay with the fishies. i would have freaked out too. sooo funny!

    Like

    Posted by icescreammama | March 18, 2014, 8:00 am
  5. That gives new meaning to the term trouser trout….

    Like

    Posted by evilsquirrel13 | March 18, 2014, 8:48 am
  6. I often wondered how Jesus did that loaves and fishes thing – he had the fishes in his swim tunks! Ha! Imagine the environmental impact if everyone had fish in their trunks – fish leaving the ocean by the thousands and milliions – all in peoples swim suits. Egad! A veritable ecological disaster in the making. Sorry TD – Bwhahahaha!

    I once accidentally (and it’s a long story) went swimming in a water reservoir. I had to climb out because there were literally thousands of little fingerling fish (about 1.5-2 inches) following me around, trying to check inside my swim suit and literally scaring the heck out of me. I guess they had never learned to fear anything and were curious. Shades of Poe. You would have really freaked at that TD.

    Like

    Posted by Paul | March 18, 2014, 9:44 am
  7. I admit I had a giggle. I don’t like giggling at others expense, but I giggled.

    A fish in your swimming trunks. *heehee*

    Like

    Posted by wannabepoet | March 18, 2014, 9:46 am
  8. Yeah. I would be freaking out if something would be flopping around uncontrollably. Great beginning of a horror movie.

    Like

    Posted by Christopher S. Malone | March 18, 2014, 10:11 am
  9. Did you ever see a doctor to clear up whatever it was that attracted a fish to your nethers in the first place?

    Like

    Posted by El Guapo | March 18, 2014, 10:31 am
  10. You big tough guy…

    Like

    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | March 18, 2014, 11:15 am
  11. [Candace] AHHH! AAAAAHHHHH! AHHHH! AAAAHHHHH! AHH!
    [Street Performer 1] Now somebody, anybody, everybody scream!
    [Candace] AHHHHHHHH!
    There are squirrels in my pants!
    [Street Performer 1] That girl’s got some serious squirrels in her pants.
    [Candace] There are squirrels in my pants!
    [Street Performer 1] Tell me makin’ you jump like that!
    [Background] S-I-M-P, Squirrels in my pants!
    [Street Performer] Ain’t got no chickens,
    Ain’t got no rats…
    [Background] S-I-M-P,
    [Candace & Background] Squirrels in my pants!
    [Street Performer 1] S to the I to the M to the P,
    Then maybe you can be moving like me…
    [Street Performer 2] Step right over and watch me put it down…
    [Candace] Squirrels
    Squirrels!
    [Street Performer 2] Step right over and watch me put it…
    [Background & Street Performer 2] S to the I to M to the P!
    [Street Performer 2] Who you got back and watering your plants?
    [Backgound] S-I-M-P, Squirrels in my Pants…
    [Street Performer 1] How can I qualify for government graaaants…
    [Background] S-I-M-P, Squirrels in my Pants…
    [Street Performer 2] Yeah…
    Hypnotize me, put me in a trance…
    [Background] S-I-M-P, Squirrels in my Pants…
    [Street Performer 1] Got an Aunt Florance living in Fraaance…
    [Background] She can’t see the-
    [Candace] Squirrels in my Pants!
    [Street Performers] Step right over and watch me put it down…
    [Candace] Squirrels! Squirrels!
    [Street Performers] Step right over and watch me put it down…
    [Background] S to the I to the M to the P!
    [Candace] AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Like

    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | March 18, 2014, 11:17 am
  12. uh… that was funny… I think I also had my first experience with bulging, pulsing swim shorts on a beach…

    Like

    Posted by pouringmyartout | March 18, 2014, 11:22 am
  13. My parents took me to the drive-in to see Jaws when I was six, so I’ve never actually swam in an ocean. Now I’ve got another reason to stay out of the water :-)

    Like

    Posted by Sofia Leo | March 18, 2014, 11:41 am
  14. Freak out? Holy hell, I’d never get in the water again. Ever. I’m not sure I’d even be able to drink water again…

    Like

    Posted by djmatticus | March 18, 2014, 2:12 pm
  15. Seriously lol’d. Good one, champ! *still laughing*

    Like

    Posted by Steph | March 18, 2014, 4:26 pm
  16. Bawhahahahahahahahaha!!! An that friend is why I do not swim in fish infested waters. Well that and many other reasons…

    Like

    Posted by behindthemask | March 18, 2014, 4:45 pm
  17. Oh I would have loved to have seen your reaction — and that of any adolescent girls in the area.

    John once mowed over a yellow jackets nest. His dance was pretty impressive too.

    Like

    Posted by Elyse | March 18, 2014, 6:30 pm
  18. I thought this was Weird Sexual Metaphor Tuesday. I didn’t know this was going to turn out to be so literal.

    Like

    Posted by Exile on Pain Street | March 18, 2014, 7:06 pm
  19. You forgot the other embarrassing thing that happened to you on that trip….

    Like

    Posted by Revis Edgewater | March 18, 2014, 7:56 pm
  20. Oh this is too funny! I have a similar story about a moth… except I was wearing a skirt… and the moth was never found. (O_O)

    Like

    Posted by Janelle Weibelzahl | March 18, 2014, 9:50 pm
  21. Yeah, not pleasant at all!! I actually squirmed reading this! Would you ever go to Thailand or something and get the fish to nibble at your feet? I couldn’t do that. Yuck.

    Like

    Posted by Daile | March 19, 2014, 2:11 am
  22. It wanted to go home with you!

    Like

    Posted by bardictale | March 19, 2014, 7:41 am
  23. This sounds like a Troy McClure origin story.

    Like

    Posted by The Cutter | March 19, 2014, 1:48 pm
  24. At least you weren’t in the Amazon & it wasn’t one of those fish who love to swim up your urethra! I can picture you doing the fish in my pants dance on the beach!

    Like

    Posted by benzeknees | March 20, 2014, 6:49 pm
  25. I have to say, I would have freaked out too. (In 1985, I was five, btw.)

    Like

    Posted by faithhopechocolate | March 25, 2014, 1:35 pm

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