Monday, October 15, 2007

Emergencies That Strum The Heart

I once saw an epileptic teenage boy named Lawrence jump off the high dive a the swimming pool where I worked. He had a seizure between the diving board and the water and hit the cement and then slipped into the pool where the lifeguard on duty grabbed the backboard and pulled him up to the surface. The ambulance came and took Lawrence away, blood all over the cement to mop. Lawrence's best friend, a boy with a cleft-palate that everyone used to call Hairlip John was inconsolable for a few minutes and then went back to jumping on other swimmers' heads. The pool was a place of both joy and sorrow, much like the world of sex. It was no surprise that I read Fear of Flying that summer bought for one dollar at a thrift store by my dad who thought it was a sweet young adult novel written by an "adorable Jewish girl who really is scared of planes."

I always hated those commercials that utilized the diving into the empty pool and ending up with a broken neck motif as a way of expressing danger -- don't do drugs, don't invest poorly, don't neglect getting check-ups. The ads never showed the end damage -- just the empty cement and an ominous warning. Some of the especially adventurous ones showed the person mid-dive, right before coming to reality with all that cement. I already had dreams of drowning; did I need this bullshit? It didn't matter if the pool was full, half-empty, or drained. I dreamt of Lawrence's ill-fated jump often. I dealt with water day in and day out, but it still haunted me. Sometimes I guarded the pool at night for private parties -- the mosquitoes would come out then and begin to eat you alive. The people in the pool looked like shadows and light and you were never quite sure when they'd come up for air.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out." David Sedaris

Cocktail Hour
Drinking Detroit band suggestion: Groove Council

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


Charles Gramlich said...

The last paragraph of this is really powerful.

Whitey the Bear said...

Wouldn't your heel be rough on Grouchie's face, Michelle?

Phil Rizzuto said...

After the season was over, my dad would have his little league team over for a swim in our backyard pool. All of us would run around inside the pool close to the circumference, creating a whirlpool current. Then we would all stop and float with the flow. Those were the days. Holy cow!

Cyrano de Bergerac said...

My white plume. Mon plume blanche.

the walking man said...

That must have been one hell of a day at work. Seizures and blood , jumping on peoples heads, then the night work wondering if some fool was going to drown. Kinda makes you wish they were fish in a barrel.

But the tale actually is overcoming; overcoming fear, fear of drowning, fear of other peoples not smart decisions and knowing you could handle it. Even the fear of flying.

The commercials i always was offended by were monkeys beating on a transmission or some yokel saying "I always wanted to be a mechanic,"

Man that was how i made my living and here they are making people think I'm nothing but a rube with a hammer. It all worked out though, especially the years I surpassed 85k by being a monkey with a ball bat.

I guess in the end we both had the last laugh.



Ropinator said...

Once I fainted due to hot weather during a school performance years ago. I was like 11 years old. The audience and my classmates were shocked.

Anonymous said...

Lovely derriere.

Anonymous said...

i never feared the water. Even though I'm not a champion swimmer, and had some interesting encounters in water when I lived in Florida. However, when I was the tender age of 5 I was at Hudsons downtown shopping with my dad and I wittnessed a little girl getting caught by her tights in the escalator. She was right in front of us. I heard her scream, saw blood, and became fearful as a child, and extremely cautious as an adult, of all escalators from that moment on. To this day I caution my adult sons when we ride them and I cling to my 2 yr. old granddaughter with fear and apprehension. Even though I'm quite sure that escalators are much safer than they were several decades ago to a 5 yr old that scene was tragic and remains that way in my physci.
I found your spell of the day of interest. However, it has been my experience that if you try to change a person then why be with that person in the first place? The only person who can change you, is you. And that's only if you want change.

realbigwings said...

Lovely lighting in your picture, Michelle. And i love the image of the swimmers in the night.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Reminds me of all those times I taught swimming to special needs students.

ugee p. said...


I'm a special needs student, can't you tell? I'm a sub-talent tub-o-lard on the crap end of fifty years who can't keep my mind off of Michelle's derriere.

I have the distinct feeling I'm about to be schooled, too. See you in the slammer.

eric1313 said...

Great post.

I love the title's play on the idea of heart strings.

randiana jones said...

Is that a snake?

eeek, i hope not.

dumbaise said...

oh i see its a plastic snake.

Pythia3 said...

I couldn't agree with you more about I detest those commercials! How awful they are. Diving has always scared me - I always imagined - in horror - what it would feel like to hit solid ground instead of the water.
That job must have been incredibly stressful. Too many things can go wrong in a split second.
Love that quote! LOL! My problem is I worked my list to death - unfortunately my death!