Friday, May 10, 2013

Flashback Friday!

The always awesome Jaybird reminded me to tell my 'jellyfish story', that I had mentioned in her comment section during the A to Z Challenge. So, here it is a quick all it's cheesy glory....

I must have been about seven…maybe eight…years old and we were living on the Naval Base in Pensacola, Florida. As we often did on the weekends, we took a trip to the beach. I can still remember the white sands and blue-green waters of the Gulf…it was a great beach.

On this particular day, though, as we made our way to find a spot to lay out our towels and umbrella, I noticed a lot of people up by the lifeguard stands. Many were rubbing ointment or some such on their legs and arms. I even saw a couple of grown men crying.


The reason, we found out , was due to an unusually large jellyfish infestation that had moved in and the guards were cautioning everyone who was going into the water to be careful. While I was a bit worried, I still decided to risk it and head into the water. My mom, of course, tried to make me sit on the beach, but my dad (the Navy man) wasn't worried.... “Ah, let the boy go in the water…he’ll be o.k…”. So that’s what I did.

The ocean was clear, so I figured I could see any crafty jellyfish trying to sneak up on me and I was pretty vigilant. The more the time went past, the more I figured I was safe and things were going to be o.k….no jellyfish were coming for me this day….so I began to run and swim around a bit more.

I forget, exactly, what I was doing, but as I stood in the water…about knee high…I felt something slowly wrap around my leg. I looked down and, sure enough, saw a clear jellyfish wrapping itself around my leg. Of course, the first thing I did was scream bloody murder and take off towards the beach. I kid you not when I say I was almost running on top of the water. Whatever happened I did NOT want to get stung, so I had to get this thing off of me!

Like a shot, I took off and got to the beach….still screaming “Get it off me, get it off me!!”…all the while remembering those grown men crying from the sting that I knew was coming. I ran towards my parents while my mom was running towards me. I then noticed my dad start to laugh.

Here I was, about to get the worst sting of my life. A sting that brought grown men to their knees…..and he’s standing there laughing!

It was about then that I looked down and noticed it wasn't a jellyfish at all, but a plastic bag that had been floating in the water and found it's way to my leg.

Of course, I laugh about it now….but, back then, it was no laughing matter. I was madder than a hornet, but thankful it wasn't a real jellyfish all the same.

My parents still think this is a pretty funny “Mark” story (and they have quite a few of them), second only to the “Mark, the Puppy, and the Leash” tale that I’ll save for another day. :)


I know it's not Monday, but I'll leave you all with some music just the same. A little Electric Light Orchestra because we should always 'hold on tight to our dreams'.

Have a great weekend!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is hilarious! Hey, those bags can sting as well.
At least you can laugh about it now.

Dani said...

Oh this is soooo good! Hahahaha! I'm glad Jaybird made you share it with us! Well with it.

Dee said...

But thank goodness it wasn't a jellyfish.

Anonymous said...



Suzanne Furness said...

Great story and a reminder that we need to take care not to litter the ocean. Must admit I've always had a fear of jellyfish in the water. Husband got a nasty sting once in the Caribbean and it was no laughing matter!

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

Thanks for sharing this humorous story, Mark. I can imagine how frightened you were at the time, but it's good that you can laugh about it now.

LD Masterson said...

I'm glad it was only a bag.

I have a collection of those kinds of stories about my sons. I use them to entertain their children. The kids find these tales hysterical. My sons, not so much.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. oh thank goodness - because jelly fish can sting for 'hell and begone'!

I'd have had hysterics if I'd been watching too .. what a great story!! Just so amusing to watch the horror turn probably to even more horror!

Oh dear .. poor 7 year old you - but now - great story ... cheers Hilary

Mark Means said...

@Alex: Haha...that's true, they can! :D

@Dani: I know, I had forgotten I mentioned it and she was all too happy to remind me about it :)

@Dee: Very true...and it made for a funnier story :)

@Yvonne: LOL....and I sure did, as well!

@Suzanne: Oh wife got stung down in the Keys...on the face...that was, definitely, no fun...

@Deanie: Heh, yes, I'm glad I can look back on it and laugh :)

@LD: I'm sure it's a "parent" thing as mine have a ton of them. I feel for your sons :P

@Hillary: My dad sure was in stitches and I guess I can't blame him :)

Manzanita said...

Hahaha A little plastic bag therapy was needed.
But jelly fish can be no laughing matter. I lived a few yards from the water for 25 years and had some encounters with them too. Not fun.

Ella said...

Mark we might be related, lol! This sounds like something that would happen to me...omg!

Oh, gosh..I have been to that beach and the life guard squirt vinegar on us. Next time Adolf Meat Tenderizer was used by many on the beach!

You remind me of the time I saw one on my town wharf-it was huge and bubble gum pink in the center. I didn't swim in the ocean at all that summer-scared the you know what out of me!

Oh, gosh...I can't imagine how scared you were and now you have this story following you around! lol

Thank you for sharing! I can't wait to hear your next story ;D

jaybird said...

Bahahahaha! OK I'm really laughing with you, not at you, my friend.

Thanks for sharing!! That's a great story. My Navy Dad would have laughed his ass off at us (even if it was a real jellyfish) He has that kind of warped sense of humor. Ironically, I married a Marine with that same twisted sense of humor. What's wrong with this picture?

Thanks again for sharing!!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I can't laugh out loud because I'm in the library but that's hilarious. Glad it wasn't a real one but super funny.

Robin said...

Great story. Parents love to trot these stories out at the holidays when the whole family gets together. They are always fun whenever you start dating anyone new. Be glad you are married now:) Your wife has already heard it (probably several times)!!! It is still pretty darn funny, though. I imagine it is even better with asides from the parents.

I watched the ELO video. I was really digging it until they flashed the word SUSPENSE across the screen (fairly early on) and they misspelled. How in the name of all that is holy does that happen???? They spelled it SUSPENCE. For the rest of the song I tried to let it go, but my mind was stuck on that dumb spelling error. I really am a spelling geek. When you are making a video that will stand the test of TIME, and you are floating words across the screen, can we please spell them correctly? Didn't ANYONE edit this thing????? Aaaacccchhhhh.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I just imagine Daffy Duck running on top of the water Mark. That is a great story and you're a gifted comedy writer Man.

Andrew Leon said...

I have stories like that, but they're always about someone else.

S.P. Bowers said...

Hilarious! I'm glad it was only a bag, but I would have been laughing too.

Julie Flanders said...

Hahaha. When reading I was thinking maybe it was just seaweed wrapped around your leg but a plastic bag is even better. I shouldn't even laugh though because the same thing could probably happen to me even now!

Looking forward to that puppy story. Have a great weekend!

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

Haha! I love it :) What a great story (and well told, too) I am looking forward to that puppy and leash story! Have a great weekend.

Mark Koopmans said...


Anyone that ends a great story with an E.L.O. video is alright in my book :)

Have a Jellyfish-sting-free weekend :)

Mark Means said...

@Manzanita: Plastic bag therapy....yes!!! lol

@Ella: Haha...I don't blame you, I wouldn't have gone in, either!

@jaybird:'s can laugh at was pretty comedic. Thanks for bringing it up again, too...( I think :P )

@Sheena: Haha! Thank you and, yeah, don't get in trouble at the library :)

@Robin: Heh, you're wife has head them time and again. It's a good thing we live 1,000 miles from my family or she'd get an even bigger dose! Oh, come on now...cut them some slack. After all, it was the 80s :D

@Maurice: LOL....I can really picture that...and thank you!

@Andrew: Then you're a lucky soul! :)

@S.P.: I still remember how mad I was at my dad for

@Julie: Seaweed would have been least it's not clear :)

@Rebecca: Thank you very much and you do the same! :)

@Mark: Haha, thanks and you too :) I hear the jellyfish get pretty big over there!

John Gray said...

Anything lfloating towards me in the water would have panicked me
In the uk
It might have been a turd!

mshatch said...

I think I would've reacted the same way :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great jelly fish story. They are scary creatures.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Funny story! Thank goodness it wasn't a jellyfish. I was stung by quite a few of them when I was a kid, and it was never a fun experience. (Didn't keep me from going back into the water, though.)

Shannon Lawrence said...

Darn jellyfish blooms! We ran into one in Florida two years ago. I didn't let the kids go in (the jellyfish were so rampant you could see them everywhere), but I went to stand in the water while they played in the sand. I did really well for awhile, but one really good wave came in around me and two jellyfish nabbed me. The stings sure didn't feel great, but they weren't as bad as I expected, either. Thank goodness.

Your story is hilarious. I would have been cracking up if I were your dad, too.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Spacerguy said...

Great story dude, you had me laughing all the way towards the end.

Al Diaz said...

I have to laugh because it happened to me too. Those bloody bags can scare the life out of you. Good I had wings. :D

Brandon Ax said...

Nice, all said I have never been stung by a jellyfish. I had to carry a girl from the beach who was stung once as she was in a great deal of pain. I'll take the plastic bag, lol.

BTW awesome Flash tag for this.

Elise Fallson said...

LOL! Those plastic bags can be so scary! Heheeh. Thankfully, Clearwater beach was free of jellyfish, and plastic bags. (;

klahanie said...

Hey Mark,

That was hilarious and yet I shouldn't probably consider it so. Yes, for sure, not so funny to you at the time. You got to watch out for those nasty plastic bags.

And to leave will a predictably silly ending. Considering y'all call jelly, "Jell-O", I thought you might have called it a "Jell-Ofish" Ignore me and enjoy your Sunday, my friend :)


Jeff Hargett said...

The first concert I ever attended was Electric Light Orchestra. Oh, the memories. (Yeah, I'm THAT old.)

A keep on the lookout for those plastic bags.

Mark Koopmans said...


Hey, I had the means and you were the mark...

So I am offically Happy for you today.

See for yourself... :)

Nick Wilford said...

At least you can laugh now! A lucky escape, I'd say. I was in Australia where they have deadly jellyfish in some areas. I steered clear of the water!

mail4rosey said...

LOL! We lived in WPB for years, and my oldest did get a nasty jellyfish sting once. It was no laughing matter then or now, but yours sure is. :)

Stopping by to visit from a shout out Manzanita gave over at her place.

~Sia McKye~ said...

This cracked me up. I can see why it's a favorite Mark story. I have been stung by jellyfish and it's not fun.


Pk Hrezo said...

LOL too funny! Better that it was a funny scenario than awful sting. I've been swimming when jellyfish moved in and like 6 of us were stung at once. Oy. It's not horrible, but very uncomfortable.

Lexa Cain said...

Gee, your dad was a tough guy - but I bet you did look pretty funny, running and screaming with a plastic bag on your leg! lol

Tara Tyler said...

i can see it being serious at the time, as a teen i lived in fl and one time when i was babysitting, i had to rush my 2 wards to the hospital for jellyfish stings!

but yes, funny now =)

Mark Means said...

@John: LOL! I'll have to remember that should I ever cross the pond :)

@mshatch: Glad to hear I'm not alone :)

@Susan: Heh...thank you...and they are! :)

@Susan: Luckily, I've yet to be stung...but my wife has and it didn't look very pleasant...

@Shannon: Two? Ouch....glad it wasn't so bad, though. Yes, I get my strange sense of humor from my Dad, I'm sure :)

@Spacerguy: LOL...thank you :)

@Al: Haha...yes, I'm in good company, then! Unfortunately, I didn't have wings...but my water running skills came in handy :)

@Brandon: I'd take the plastic bag again, no doubt! Thanks, I found the picture of the Flash's back (get it? flashback) and did some text editing on it. Didn't turn out half bad :)

@Elise: Glad to hear your vacation was plastic bag free :P

@Gary: LOL...if it didn't sting, I'd have no problem with a Jell-O fish :) Thank you, sir, and have a great one yourself!

@Jeff: I never got the chance to see them in person, I'm jealous! :)

@Mark: Hey, thank you very much...I appreciate that and glad to be thought of :)

@Nick: Oh yeah, can't blame you there. I'm still afraid of the non-deadly type we have here :)

@mail4rosey: My wife grew up down in the WPB area...nice place. Thanks also for stopping by :)

@Sia: I can imagine it's not after seeing my wife's stings...ouch! Oh, my mom has a bunch that rank right up there :)

@PK: Yeah, I seemed to have gotten off lucky with just a plastic bag

@Lexa: Hehe...yeah, he's always been,pretty much, the tough love sort...but there when I needed him. :)

@Tara: Those sound like some nasty stings, My wife got stung in the face, but it must have just been glancing because she was ready to hit the water again a bit

ilima said...

Haha. Great story. Having experienced jellyfish stings myself as a chlid, I can say you are one lucky guy to have dodged that one. :)

Lisa said...

I've been stung by a man o' war and it wasn't fun so count yourself lucky it was only your pride that got hurt! Too funny really! I could see you running across that water! Can't wait to hear the other stories!

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