Contrary to popular belief: I am not a water nymph

I can’t swim. I know, this revelation may come as a world-shattering surprise, especially when my book reviews only suggest that I have the aquatic maneuvers of a water nymph. Apparently, someone who shall not be named informed me that swimming, along with driving (in my case, driving FAR), is a useful life skill. Well, here’s what I say: bull plucky! I’m perfectly happy admiring the ocean from afar than diving into it. The ocean is full of kelp and carnivorous fish and there’s not enough Purell in a drugstore that could sanitize it to my standards.  If, say, global warming transforms the earth into a post-apocalyptic version of Water World, I could always strap cables to those who can swim and improvise a makeshift human raft…kind of like Poseidon riding a team of dolphins. Mush! Mush! Survival of the fittest means nothing in the face of a diabolical mind.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to swim. It’s just that I had more important things to do (Mozatesque Reading) to bother with such plebeian activities. Also, Baywatch is full of LIES and if you’ve ever tried to prepare for your 6th grade class trip to Wild Rivers by simulating David Hasselhoff’s stealthy backstrokes on your mattress, well… YOU WILL BE ILL PREPARED for the water slide. For the record, I did not need the lifeguard’s intervention. I would’ve figured out I was in the 3 foot end of the pool eventually and once I’ve reoriented myself, I could’ve simply…stood up. My “friends” (and yes, I mean every bit of the finger quotes) were not supportive of my buoyancy deficiency what with the hyena laughter and finger-pointing ridicule. These “friends” will also be the first ones to “volunteer” as my human life-raft when Watery Dystopian Future Scenario comes into play. It’s gonna be pretty hard to laugh when you have harnesses strapped to your mouths…

As it stands, I still can’t swim. Or float. Like that’s important… But let’s say, hypothetically, that I want to take swimming lessons at the local pool. I face a number of obstacles. The children will probably ridicule my floaty armbands and put me at risk for a FLASHBACK to that Wild Rivers fiasco and I will run from the shallow end and sob hysterically into my Team Jacob beach towel. Dignity is all I have!  I see the only way to save face is to transcend the situation: it’s not that I can’t swim, I choose not to swim. According to my very expensive biology degree, organisms evolved OUT of the water to walk on land, ergo, I am simply too evolved to swim. P.S. Children are mean and Michael Phelps is just showing off!


8 thoughts on “Contrary to popular belief: I am not a water nymph”

  1. I had a similar experience to your Wild Rivers one. A beach trip during high school left me very embarrassed. I was only about thigh-deep in the water when a wave came in and knocked me down. My feet went out from under me and my arms flailed with abandon. As a struggled to find the surface, I was met with the shrieking laughter of my “friends” (I understand the quotes completely!). Apparently, I’d found the surface some time ago and was flailing my arms above the water–for all to see. My eyes were clenched shut and I was making a humiliating face. I thought I was going to die, so you can imagine what that looked like.

    In short, I can’t swim, either. I can float, but getting relaxed enough in the water for that to happen is some sort of miracle.

    So, we’re two non-water nymphs floating (scratch that) sinking in a sea of primitive swimmers. Let’s don glasses so we can look down our noses at them disapprovingly!

  2. Brenda:
    Since we went to the SAME high school, I was probably on the same trip. Was it the 9th grade beach trip to Corona Del Mar? If so, I think I borrowed your Savage Garden CD and sang on the bus, entertaining one and all with my beautiful imitation of Darren Hayes’ choir boy voice. That was when Mike Wong the Valdictorian of his year made fun of my pale legs even though his legs were only a shade darker. Hmmph!

    I didn’t see your near drowning. I would have jumped in and tried (and failed) to save you. Again, need I reiterate? Baywatch=LIES!

  3. It was that very trip! I think you did borrow my CD. Oh how I loved the soothing sound of Darren Hayes’ voice. ::sigh:: I once sang a bit of a Savage Garden song on the phone randomly while talking to my friend and she straight up laughed at me. Yeah, I said straight up.

    And how dare he make fun of your pale legs! He was probably insecure about his own paleness and struck out at anyone he perceived to be paler. Oh high school boys. Such fools, they are. (Side note: Why do I keep talking like Yoda?)

    Baywatch does = lies. And I appreciate that you would have tried to save me. Though that might have been a bad idea. Don’t need both of us dying.

  4. My mother has never been able to swim. Even now, she wades and lays out. It doesn’t matter, you can be a tree sprite.

    On another note, I’m getting a bag of 25 Christopher Pike books on Tuesday! Do you see the obsession you’ve started?! And I picked up A Knight in Shining Armor today.

  5. Chris: TRUTH! I am no water nymph, though I have been observed flitting around the forest. Am I a forest nymph? I think so.

    Wendy: 25 Christopher Pikes?!!!! I am foaming at the mouth with jealousy!

  6. You’re not alone – I have a few friends who can’t/choose not to swim.

    Interesting though – when I lived in the Prairies with no natural body of water in sight, everyone I knew could swim. Then I moved to the coast, right on the ocean, and I meet all these people who don’t swim. Is it just me, or is that odd?

  7. I’m no water nymph either, much as I’d like to be. My own horror story was in 7th grade PE class where I conveniently forgot to tell the teacher I didn’t know how to swim. Everyone else made it to the other end of the 7-foot deep side and when it was my turn, lo and behold, I sank like a ton of bricks. Only my frantically blubbering face looking up through the water at my teacher’s face saved me as he put in a hand to drag me out. Then he sent me to the 3 foot side. At least I had a friend there.

    I still want to learn though…

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