Head games

Missy Votel - 06/08/2017

Sometimes in life, one finds oneself doing things she swore up and down she would never do. You know, like using phrases such as “when I was your age” or ordering a vanilla almond milk macchiato with a straight face.

But, when it comes to fads, I like to think I’m fairly resilient (my rule: comfort first. Plus, if you wore it the first time around, you can’t wear it when it comes back in style 30 years later). Sure, I have a new iPhone and love my speedy wifi as much as the next pleb, but when it comes to technology, I am a bit, shall we say, challenged. I like things easy; and something requiring a password (with upper and lower case letters and at least one symbol) not to mention a PhD in computer science makes me want to renounce all things with a charger and become a hermit.

Yes, I understand it’s all intended to make our lives easier. But sometimes, when I am regularly outsmarted by my refrigerator (one of these days I will figure out how to reset the water filter), I yearn for the simpler days. The days of three channels that you turned with a knob, snail mail, answering machines and good, old-fashioned film cameras.

Alas, I am in the communications business, and that world is evolving at breakneck speed whether I know how to hashtag or not. As such, I have begrudgingly dragged my luddite ass into the digital age. Perhaps most impressive is that I have learned how to Snapchat – and give myself kitty ears, whiskers and a nose – with minimal help and eye rolling from my kids. I can even tag someone on Instagram and, on good days, remember to update my Facebook.

And, in my ultimate willingness to get with the times – and make sure my former self would hate my current self – I laid down an absurd amount of money on a Go Pro camera. Yes, the same Go Pro that I once shamed my mother-in-
law for even so much as entertaining thoughts of buying. That butt of all jokes, when festooned on the heads of gapers and friends alike elicits sanc-timonious giggles and smart-ass comments. The gadget that screams from the top of helmets and handlebars, “I’m so rad I have to video myself!”

Yep, that’s me.

It’s OK though, because I can justify it from a work standpoint. I have to do this to stay in the game. Video killed the radio star and now it’s coming for the newspaper geeks. It’s time to merge onto the information superhighway or risk getting rear-ended.

And, truth be told, there’s a small part of me that thinks maybe it might be kind of cool to relive my feats of heroic weekend warrioring – whether real or imagined. Plus, if it embarrasses my friends and family – which most things do – sign me up.

Thus, I laid down the plastic, affixed the sticky mount on my helmet, charged up the battery and hit the water, Go Pro shining like a beacon of dorkdom.

“Oh, are you wearing your TV?” one friend chided while another complained, “are you taping us again?”

This only hardened my resolve to continue. Go Pro or go home, I told them. Just wait till the world sees my daring descent of the fish ladder or my epic front surf in  Ponderosa. Maybe, if I was lucky, I’d catch a boat-load of orange high-floats flying through the air, mid-flip.

But what followed instead was a series of epic fails, including a dead battery and some riveting footage of the top of my helmet, my feet and my kitchen counter. Instead of being a Go Pro, I was a no go. (Yes, I know only a moron would succeed in twice turning it off when she thought she was turning it on. But you try pushing a tiny button on top of your head in a cold, raging river and see how good you are, smart guy.)

Not to mention that, generally, I came to the realization that people were laughing at me and not with me. Although public humiliation is seldom enough to quell my behavior – and often serves to fuel the jackassery – the final straw came when I realized every kayaker’s worst nightmare: I lost my roll. Now, for the badass kayakers out there who don’t flip or can roll so fast they don’t get their hair wet, this may be no big deal. But for myself, someone who spends almost as much time upside down as right side up, this was naturally troubling. Let’s just say Michael Phelps I am not. After several two-and three-peats to get up, I was seriously rattled. My former bomberly roll, just about the only thing I had going for me in the boating department, had dissipated as if overnight. I began to worry I was headed down the slippery slope of the legions of doomed boaters who, plagued by the head game, quit never to return.

“It’s that stupid thing on your head,” the husband annoyedly pointed out after one excruciatingly long roll attempt.
And sure enough, he was right. The extra weight was just enough to throw off the hip and head snap it had taken me years to perfect.

Yes, I know people love some good carnage, especially when caught on Go Pro, but I figured it best not to tempt the river gods, and promptly removed my new accessory. Maybe some day, preferably on dry land, I will attempt to Go Pro again. But for the rest of river season, I think I’ll opt for the minor leagues.