Many summers ago when I was in elementary school (to be more specific, attending I believe my fourth or fifth year of my eight year Catholic school) I had met my first brush of almost death.
I was swimming in my backyard pool with my sister and her best friend at the time. Although my little sister, practically at least a year or so old, was not present, she had this kind of flotation device designed for infants to swim in the pool. It was one of those baby swimming floats and it was the color of a nice shade of blue and had cute designs on it. I stayed in the shallow end of the pool during the whole time, and if I went to the deep section, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe.
Prior to the event, I had watched an episode of Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman and the episode involved the titular character, the dog, Ruff, doing some type of boogie boarding. He basically put his knees in two small holes and started swimming.
Even though I was a straight-A student and knew that you weren’t ever supposed to copy anything off from TV, I did it anyway. And what a terrible decision that was! Like, there is a really good reason why they tell you not to copy things off TV. And I always followed this rule, but then the one time I didn’t? Damn, I shouldn’t have ever because what a crummy mistake that was.
I took my sister’s swimming float and knelt down on it, my kneecaps touching the place where the infant’s legs were supposed to go. And then I pushed myself into the water and started floating around. It was nice at first, and it solidified in my mind that doing this was actually a good idea.
But, let’s be real here.
Eventually after a few moments, my weight proved too much for the swimming float, and instead of just falling off normally, because my knees were firmly situated in the swimming float leg holes, I flipped over and my legs were firmly secure on the swimming float, making me stuck to the thing.
So I was down under. Majority of my body was underwater, including my head. I didn’t panic at first, but tried to bring myself up. This was not a successful move. Because my legs were stuck onto the flotation device, I was partially floating. Gravity, or whatever law out there that made me stick to the flotation device while I was completely flailing in water, didn’t allow me to bring myself back up.
Every time I tried to get up, I was pushed down. Because of the way it was, I was trying to push the swimming float into the water so I could get out. But the universe is not so kind to let little, dumb kids try to fix their big mistakes when science is working against you. So I couldn’t reach the surface at all, because the swimming float’s ability to float made it unable to sink into the water for me to grab a hold of myself and get out.
Instead, it firmly stayed situated on top of the water and I was stuck down under. That’s when I started to panic. The water was choking me and I was taking in too much water and I couldn’t breathe and all I wanted was to get up but I couldn’t since I was stuck. So I was on the verge of drowning in the shallow part of the swimming pool.
Like all things, I cried.
Eventually, after moments of struggling, I did manage to get out. Wee, the universe is not so cruel after all! I had lived, and I lived to tell the tale.
But what really made this an incident to talk about was my sister and her best friend at the time. There were at the shallow end of the pool too, and they were oblivious to my struggles. This was not really a woe is me situation, because I didn’t know at the time that they had no idea I was in a life-or-death situation. Because every single time I tried to push myself up and I’d fail, I’d hear my older sister and her friend laugh and giggle to themselves and whatnot.
So in my mind, I had believed that they tried to murder me!
What hagwash! Such truth! What tyranny!
But little kids are too imaginative and tend to believe weird things. Obviously, they didn’t try to murder me. They just had no idea what was going on and were confused when I was quite mad and blubbery and started blaming them.
When I think about this situation, I can’t help but thank whoever it was that made natural selection not take me away. And also, I never copied anything off TV again.