1. Check the receipt for your new inflatable standup paddleboard. It’s been six months since you ordered it after drunkenly scrolling your ex-coworker Brittney’s Instagram feed, which is full of majestic outdoor photos. You are way past the return window, so you might as well actually try it at this point.

2. Open the box that has been gathering dust in your garage. All of the components are included in a handy carrying case. You should find your board, a paddle, and a flimsy pump that looks like it couldn’t even handle a balloon.

3. Watch a quick tutorial on how to inflate your board and learn to paddle. It’s easy and fun.

4. Attempt to put everything back into the carrying case only to find that it magically shrank. Throw everything loose in the back of your vehicle.

5. Drive ninety minutes to a county park you found in a paddlesports Facebook group. Discover that there is no restroom facility.

6. Notice a sign posted at the boat launch. All watercraft must have an “invasive species waterway protection permit,” whatever the hell that is, or risk a two-hundred-dollar fine. You should have also purchased a life vest.

7. Berate yourself for forgetting a life vest, but remember that you were the star student at the community pool’s Guppies class in 1997, so it’s probably fine.

8. Try to buy the permit online. There is no cell service at the boat ramp, and a Department of Fish and Wildlife cop is pulling into the parking lot. Throw everything back in your car and swear loudly enough to alarm a nearby picnicking family.

9. Wait another week. Buy a life jacket, the permit, and some expensive polarized Ray-Bans like the ones Brittney has on in her photos. You should now have invested about six hundred dollars into a hobby you have not yet tried.

10. Drive back to the boat ramp. Stop at 7-Eleven for a bathroom break because you are an expert now.

11. Twist the pump onto the valve on your paddleboard and start inflating. The gauge is color coded. Keep pumping until you hit the green zone of 13 PSI.

12. Pump for fifteen minutes. Become sweatier and more fatigued than you have ever been in your entire life.

13. Check the PSI gauge and discover you are at 3 PSI.

14. Keep pumping, because you will get on this paddleboard today, goddammit.

15. Inflate the board to 13 PSI. Your heart should be on the verge of exploding. Unscrew the pump from the valve.

16. Feel a hard punch of air in your face like a fetid blast directly from Satan’s butthole. You did not have the valve in the correct position: the valve needs to be in the “up” position when inflating. This was not covered in the quick tutorial.

17. Frantically push the valve into the “up” position and screw the pump back onto the valve. Check the gauge. You are at 3 PSI.

18. Pump that motherfucker back up to 13 PSI again, wishing you were dead the whole time.

19. Drag the board and paddle to the lake. Attach the paddleboard leash to your ankle. Wade into the murky, freezing water and ungracefully vault onto the wobbly board on all fours.

20. Force a smile at a smug family gliding by like swans on their paddleboards. Their youngest kid, a boy who looks to be around eight, tells you, “It gets easier!”

21. Remember the tutorial: you should stand up in one fluid motion.

22. Pop to a half-stand, half-squat in a bleak imitation of chair pose, then immediately get back on all fours.

23. Take a deep breath and thrust yourself upward. If that snot-nosed kid can do this, so can you.

24. You’re up! This feels amazing! You are like Jesus walking on water. A great blue heron flies overhead. A beaver slaps its tail against the surface of the lake. You feel one with nature. Pull out your phone to snap a selfie. Those Ray-Bans look sharp.

25. Feel the fin of your paddleboard snag on a submerged log.

26. Continue traveling forward as your board stays in place, cursing the laws of physics as you begin to fall.

27. Keep your mouth open and inhale through your nose as you faceplant into the lake, ensuring the scummy brown water fills every orifice.

28. Heave yourself up on your paddleboard like a whale beaching itself. Collect your paddle, which is floating nearby. Your sunglasses are lost to the lake forever.

29. As you cough up water and pick algae out of your hair, fantasize about smacking that brat with your paddle when he floats by again and chirps, “Looks like you took a swim!”

30. Paddle back to shore on your knees, squinting into the sun. Deflate your board and throw it in the back of your vehicle. Slam the hatch shut. Try not to cry.

31. Stop at 7-Eleven on the way home. Buy a twin-pack of Hostess Ding Dongs and shove both in your mouth in one go.

32. Once you are home and have showered off all the lake sludge, review the selfie you took. Damn, you looked really good up there. Maybe even better than Brittney, if you’re being honest.

33. Post the selfie to Instagram with the caption, “What’s #SUP fam? Lovin’ my new paddleboard SO MUCH!”