Faking My Own Death In San Diego

Somewhere between the ages of 13-15, mom, dad, and I flew down to Phoenix to spend Christmas time with cousins on my mom’s side, and my Uncle Stan and Aunt Pat on my dad’s side. This was our second or third year doing this.

When we arrived, I found out that Jody and Julie (the second cousins that were my age) were about to go to San Diego for a small vacation. My folks gave Jennifer, their mom and my first cousin, money, and let me go with them.

I swam in the ocean for the first time using a wet suit. I can’t remember much else from that trip. Oh yeah, except the time when I faked my death.

We were all at the hotel getting ready to go out to eat at a Japanese steakhouse where they prepare the meal right at the table. Being the young boy that I was, it took me vast amounts of LESS time to get ready to go than it took for all of my female cousins.  So I began to wander the halls of the hotel.

I made my way to the elevator room, and was standing there lost in my own mind when I decided it would be a good idea to lie down and stare at the ceiling.

There I laid, staring at the ceiling thinking about life, the universe, and everything.

Then I heard some people making their way down the hallway. I adjusted my position into a much more awkward one, making it look like I had fallen. I picked a spot out on the ceiling and stared, unblinking, at that one spot.  As they neared the elevator shaft, I took a deep breath and held it.

The couple came around the corner and saw me lying there. They asked if I was okay. They came over and looked down at me. I didn’t flinch. I didn’t blink. I wasn’t breathing. In a panic, the guy kicked me.  He then nudged me a little harder with his foot, yelling “HEY BUDDY, WAKE UP!” Again, I didn’t flinch or blink, and continued to hold my breath.

The couple turned around and sprinted down the hotel hallway back to their room to call someone (this was WAY before cell phones were a standard). I let out a breath, got up and ran down the hallway in an opposite direction to the vending machine room where I hid behind a soda machine.

I stayed there to listen to the people return with someone else. The guy was explaining to some unknown face how “he was RIGHT here! Just a second ago.. HE WAS RIGHT HERE!”

At this point he probably wished he had kicked me MUCH harder.

There I was, hiding behind some soda machine, basking in my own little Andy Kaufman moment. Unlike Andy, however, I didn’t have a Bob Zmuda to share the moment with. Just me, myself, and I, giggling at my own little prank.

Such are the exploits of an only child while vacationing in San Diego.

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