Dive Master General
(originally posted 9/12/2012. a terrible story but it includes the line “I swim with the same finesse that most people drown” so it gets reposted)
Just to be clear on the topic, I am a very popular guy. A day does not go by that my mailbox isn’t clogged with invites to various social functions. Starting about 3 in the afternoon on Thursdays my phone begins ringing and does not stop until the wee wee hours on Sunday morning… each caller with a better offer than the previous one. If there is ever a party Hall of Fame I will certainly be its first inductee. I usually have a jet fueling in an underground location near my home to take me at a moment’s notice to any hot-spot on the globe that requires a visit from Captain Party. The latest victim of my unquenchable thirst for wild times? My neighbors pool party yesterday.
Let’s also be clear on another topic. I hate pool parties. I am skinny and look horrible in any swimming attire. Even though all of the other males at the party looked equally horrible, each gut hanging further over then the next pair of trunks… does that make any sense?, I am uncomfortable because I am so tall and so thin and extremely pale. Cave-dwelling fish give me shit about how white I am. So the pool party is not my first pick of places to hang out but I was invited so what could I do. Aside from the whole being a physical wreck the real reason I hate pool parties is that I’m not ‘strong’ in the water. Let’s just say that having to hold my nose when I submerge is not my biggest problem when it comes to aquatic endeavors and leave it at that. I swim with the same finesse that most people drown. I am constantly being ‘saved’ when in fact I’m just minding my own business swimming laps. The biggest reason I loathe pools is my issue with water-entry. Let me explain.
I am not only a toe-in-the-pool kind of guy… I am a take-20-minutes-to-get-my-whole-foot-in kind of guy. I don’t want to be that guy but I am. I can’t help it. I watch with utter awe as other manly-men cavalierly launch themselves into the water not knowing if their landing will put them in boiling water or sub-arctic temperatures and not seeming to care. Children clap and women sigh as they surface, their faces always the same… smiling broadly and making it known to all that they are truly oozing with actualization. On the other hand I am the guy who meets this performance with a childlike squeal if they happen to splash me with their cannonball. It usually pushes back the entry of my knee and upper thigh into the water by at least 10 minutes. I won’t even try to describe the hopping and bouncing that go on prior to the submersion of my testicles. Imagine how a lobster would enter the pot of if he was given the thumbs/claws up on decision-making.
I don’t want to be ‘that guy’. Really. I want to be the guy who just runs in with reckless abandon. But I can’t… however much I want to be. It must be in my DNA. Someone in my family tree must have died from sudden-testicle-immersion-in-freezing-cold-water syndrome (STIIFCWS… won’t you give generously) and now it’s been hammered into my genetic coding that I can’t dive in any water however much I want to impress the bikini-clad observers. I must be that douche bag that takes 20 minutes to get into the water regardless of how many people/children are laughing at me. If they happen to splash me to try to coax me in I wish that I could laugh an easy laugh, see the futility in my actions and join them in the deep end. Instead I shriek and clamp my hands instinctively over my breasts as if all of my body-heat is going to come rushing out of my nipples!
This might help you understand why I am like I am. Ever been with somebody that is driving 60 in a 55, sees a cop on the side of the road and slams on the brakes with a fervor that cause the car to start a power-slide resulting in a thick fog of smoke, long black tire marks behind said vehicle and a very real threat the car will start rolling end over end in NASCAR crash fashion down the Interstate? Yeah, that’s me. Again, I can’t help it. I don’t want to be that guy but I am. It’s not even just cop cars that elicit this response. Anything with lights on them; ambulances, fire marshals, construction vehicles. If it has lights on its top I will immediately lock up the brakes. Even if I see that it’s an ambulance I will still feel deep down that they will suddenly forget all about Mr. Wilson’s hemorrhaging in back and suddenly turn around and chase me, lights flashing, to ask to see if my seatbelt is adequately in place. “Yeah, this is Fire Marshal Dave… I’m going to be late to the 3-Alarm warehouse fire. I just passed a green Taurus doing 37 in a 35. I’m going to go ahead and turn around and follow him for awhile… I have a hunch.” I’m THAT guy.
You know, I long ago gave up any hope that I would ever have a body that looked good in a swimsuit. I will die skinny and I’ve come to terms with that. Children will cry and women will wince when I strip off my shirt. But just ONCE I’d like to be able to dive into a pool without a thorough researching of temperature, depth, clarity and chlorine content. That is something you think I could control. I have spent countless (and tortured) minutes at the side of countless (but not tortured) pools from childhood until yesterday hoping to summon the courage to just run and jump. No toes. No handfuls of water on my legs to ‘get them ready’. Instead I took 15 minutes to ease into the water and spent the rest of the ‘party’ telling myself that not everyone was uncomfortable making eye contact with me for fear that being a douche bag near H2O was contagious. One day I just want to dive in. Even if there turns out not to be any water at all it would be worth it.
And yes, this story is a metaphor.