M is on a CDS staff retreat this weekend, and today I am doing a 24-hour shift as the on-call chaplain at the hospital. (Charlotte readers, if you have to go to the hospital today, go to Presbyterian uptown and ask for the chaplain. I’m sitting here in this room until you do.) For my own joy in remembering, and to spread that joy to others who might be bored over the weekend, I’m proud to present Magic Carpet Ride, a short film detailing one of the funnier events I’ve ever been a part of.
Allow me to present some background, then watch the video, and I will note some things to go back and watch again. This footage is from an event I organized at Wesley, the 2004 Men’s Forceful Advance (’cause we don’t retreat from nothin’). Amazingly, I just realized this was 3 years ago this weekend. Anyhoo, we were at a retreat center somewhere near the NC/TN border, and it was bitter cold and snowing most of the time we were there. Naturally, during the Saturday afternoon break we did some exploring, and in the course of our explorations we came across an attraction that was one of the big selling points of the retreat center: a 75-foot water slide. Now, that would be a lot of fun in the summer. But this was February, and it was snowing. No one goes down a 75-foot waterslide in the middle of winter.
No one, that is, except the men of the Manistry.
My fellow intern Tate went down very cautiously, holding the side of the slide the whole time. He still gathered a good bit of speed though, and at the end he basically had to jump off to avoid going into the pool at the end of the slide. (This being February, the pool was pretty chilly. The water was also pitch black and generally nasty, as pools tend to get during the off season. Nobody wanted to go into that pool.) This showed us that if anybody was going down full speed, we needed a way to keep them out of the pool. The solution was simple: We stretched a hose across the slide. The slider would go down with arms up, the hose would catch him under the armpits, and the drag would slow him down enough that he could stop before the water. What could possibly go wrong? But just in case something did, we had a backup: Two guys standing at the end of the slide, braced for impact, with chair cushions as a barrier. That’s what you see as the video opens: Clay (Associate Director for Staff and Leadership Development, UGA Wesley Foundation) getting ready to go down, a guy on either side of the slide holding the hose, and two guys holding up the cushions. Now watch with me:
OK, on the first viewing that’s pretty funny. But there are several things to go back and watch unfold.
- At about :37, with Clay rapidly approaching, the cushion man on the left seems to have second thoughts, and he starts to get out of Dodge. That probably made it a little easier for Clay to break the barrier.
- At :35, you can see that same kid’s first reaction to Clay going in the water: the double fist pump. This is the coolest thing he’s seen that day. At this point he’s still running away. Then he seems to realize the urgency of the situation, turns around and goes over to help get Clay out of the water.
- Everybody’s first reaction is to go crazy with laughter. The especially loud and crazy laughter is from the cameraman, Jonathan (of Man-Prayer fame, and now a missionary to orphans in India). He’s also the one that screams “He’s gonna die!!” at about :30.
- At about :22, the laughter dies down into concerned silence, as the guys work on getting Clay out of the water, stripping his wet clothes off and getting other people’s clothes on him. Finally at :11 JG says, much more seriously: “Crap, dude.” It took him about 26 seconds to go from maniacal laughter to “Crap, dude.”
- At :05, you can hear my stellar leadership kick into gear: “Everybody shut up; we’ve got a whole bunch of clothes.” Everyone was chattering at me and at Clay about whether he needed more layers. This edit actually tones me down a bit, although I’m happy to report there was no profanity.
- Right after I say that, somebody says “I think we’re getting yelled at.” He was right– somebody who worked at the retreat was coming over, and he wasn’t happy about us being near the waterslide. We beat a hasty retreat… I mean a deliberate advance.
In the end, we found Clay’s glasses, and they needed some work. He developed a pretty strong headache and left the retreat early, but he was OK by Monday. We were not formally disciplined for accessing the slide during the off season, but we were told they weren’t very happy with us at the office.
Thanks for joining us for today’s showing of Magic Carpet Ride. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!