It is all attitude at this point, because his flesh has become nothing more than a science experiment. After every ride and between every fall, Doc takes a second to collect himself before giving his audience something to grasp.
He gets catapulted from the stretchy hammock-style seats of the Body Glove Bounce Duo. "A setback … is a setup … for a comeback!"
His weight is too much for the back end of the Connelly Maniac, which rudely topples him. "This isn't a good day. This is a GREAT day!"
A riding partner shows him how to choreograph their movements to spin the Sportsstuff Lulu 2, whether Doc wants to spin or not (his look on every rotation shifts from disbelief to exhilaration to concern and finally to that of someone whose toes are being stepped on). "Teamwork equals dreamwork!"
The two men riding with him on the Connelly Scorpion, one lying face forward and the other reclined like Doc, squeeze him to the edge with splayed elbows and flying feet. "One is lonely. Two's a crowd. But three's a party!"
His cheeks puff out so tight that they nearly explode when the Straightline Big Buster blows him across the wakes, just as a high-octane deck tube should. It's a tough ride for the back end of a long day.
"Here's one I didn't think I'd use today: Always listen to your body."
All the while he is smiling. It isn't just part of his schtick either.
"This is Doc," says Marla. "That's what attracted me to him before we were married 20 years ago. He wakes up every day and decides to encourage everyone around him. Who wouldn't want to be with someone like that?"
So even as he rubs his temples and mumbles something about a Tylenol, he can look at the HO G6 and yell, "Let's do this!"
He crawls into a spot on the hot-tub-size tube, his back resting against its cylindrical center cushion. Four other riders join Doc, one kneeling, one standing, one playing bongos on the community backrest and one hanging off the side. Doc is sitting comfortably, occasionally shouting a "Whoo!" to keep the crew … motivated. But for the most part, this is his chance to ride one out and let the crowd carry him.
And yet, as we return to the dock 13 hours after the day's first ride, there is still one more tube waiting to be ridden. It is a transparent rubber sphere, 6.5 feet in diameter, with a name so ominous that we've attempted to keep it quiet all day. Doc dutifully climbs inside the bubble, isolated from the world. The Barf Ball is so fresh that nobody knows for sure what it, or Doc, will do.
The Centurion roars out of the hole, and as it does, Doc throws his body, headache and all, into the sides of the tube. The Barf Ball rolls and skips across the water. Doc appears as a silhouette inside the ball, which is heaving over wakes between the boat and the sunset. He, not the driver, is doing the work. When we stop to see if he's OK, a muffled voice can be heard.
"This is the best one!" He is lying on his back, exhausted. But the voice is still strong. "Whoo! Whoooo!"
"Hey Doc," I shout into the ball. And then I begin, "If you want something badly enough …"
You can hear one more deep sigh. " … you'll do what it takes to get it!" he finishes, with emphasis.
That's just it. He has finished what we started, with a positive attitude. This isn't rah-rah stuff. This is motivation come to life.