Me, long before the nickname kerplunk

Me, long before the nickname kerplunk


The smell of the low tide on the way home tonight brought back more childhood memories.  You know how you can be somewhere and just get a whiff of something and it can take you back to a specific time in your life?

My dad was a commercial fisherman and stone crabber and we were out on the water a lot growing up.  It’s hard to remember exactly how old I was, but I think I was around 10 or 11 and I must have been going through a gawky, clumsy stage.  One year my dad gave me the nickname “kerplunk”.  It wasn’t one of those nicknames that last you for the rest of your life (thank goodness!)  It was a nickname for a season.  And let me tell you, that particular season, I earned it.

It seemed that we couldn’t be in the boat or actually anywhere near a body of water without me falling in. “Kerplunk”, he would say.   I was thinking today that maybe the fact that dad started calling me that made me fall in even more, since our words hold such power.

I remember one time he was fishing and there was a large cooler in the boat and at the time the lid was halfway off.  I was precariously perched on the edge of it and before I knew it, I was overboard and trying to get back in the boat.  “Kerplunk”.  Another time, my dad was stopped near a mangrove tree and had told us all to sit down as he was about to take off.  In all my youthful stupidity, I thought it would be a cool idea to hang on to the mangrove branch as my dad moved forward.

The next thing I know, I’m hanging from the branch as the boat speeds away.  I thought it was pretty funny until the branch broke.   I screamed and they looked back about the time I found myself going under.  Thankfully, I did know how to swim.  I can still remember how the oyster shells felt when they cut through the tender flesh in the salty water.  My dad gave me a piece of his mind that day for that one, but he had to feel sorry for me at the same time.  I was a pathetic, bawling, dripping mess by the time they picked me up.

Then, it seemed that as quickly as my “kerplunk” incidents began, they just stopped happening.  I guess you could probably say I learned my lesson, started paying more attention instead of trying to merely get attention.  Even though it’s kind of an embarrassing one, it’s a good memory, because I remember all the good times we had out in the boat.  I’ll have to remind my dad about that the next time I see him.


  1. Any time I smell diesel it reminds me of Everglades around the crab boats. Also there’s a citrus-kind of smell that always reminds me of my Granny Johnson’s house when I smell it. Thank God for memories!!!

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