There’s Old. Then There’s Me.

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I’m taking swimming lessons.

That’s a lie.

I’m taking learn how not to drown lessons. This Kid Swims Like a Fish.  I Do Not.

I’ve been asked why I’m taking these classes.  This is an excellent question Captain Obvious.

I can’t swim.

Why can’t I swim?

Because I sink.

Why do I sink?

I’m not exactly sure, but I think it has something to do with my inability to swim.

People tell me I need to learn how to swim because it’s so much fun.

Not when you sink.

So after 42 years of avoiding canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, and cliff diving, I’ve decided it’s time to learn.

As I went to my first lesson, I was a little nervous but excited to fight for my life as my lungs filled up with water.

I anticipated a near death experience.  I’ve often wondered, do you actually go towards a bright light?

What I didn’t anticipate were the other students who would be learning to swim.

First, there were lots of them.  Probably close to 50 in a relatively small pool.  For some reason I thought there were be less at 8:00 pm on a school night.

Second, they were all wearing diapers (hence they probably didn’t have school the next morning).

For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me that I would be slightly older than the other students.

It certainly didn’t occur to me that I would be 4 decades older than the other students.

Yes, I said 4 decades (that’s 40 years if you are keeping score at home).

When I arrived at the pool, I went to the main desk and checked in (without my parents, like a big boy).  The nice girl running the swimming lessons told me to go change and come back and see her when I was ready (she also asked me what life was like in the 1980’s).

After changing into my drowning trunks, I had a little trouble finding the swim lady.  This was probably because she was in a huddle with all of the lifeguards.  They were obviously talking about someone.

And they were pointing.

At me.

She stopped laughing long enough to introduce me to my child-like swim instructor.

This young person stood in front of me with a look that can only be described as half-horror and half-confused.

Just to take a shot in the dark, I asked her if I was the oldest student she’s ever taught.

Her response… yes by FAR!.

Let the drowning (and public humiliation) begin.

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10 Responses to “There’s Old. Then There’s Me.”


  1. Jackie
    on Feb 17th, 2010
    @ 5:13 pm

    You should be proud of yourself! It is not easy to be the odd man out. Just ask any kid in any school who doesn’t have the lasted (insert teen clothing store here) $80 t-shirt on! Consider yourself a role model, er, of sorts.


  2. Diane
    on Feb 17th, 2010
    @ 5:28 pm

    When I took swim lessons (in college) I was told that some people are floaters and some are sinkers. Don’t know how true that is, but I know that I have never been able to float without some sort of air-filled device to help me.

    Maybe you should ask for private lessons. Unless some part of you enjoys the humiliation….


  3. pamzella
    on Feb 17th, 2010
    @ 5:30 pm

    WTG! You really should be proud! For doing it for yourself instead of giving up, and because really, never giving up on the idea/following through and tackling something that you’re afraid of is the ultimate in role model behavior. You bet the kids at your school are going to look up to you for it.

    And swimming is worthwhile, for safety, for enjoyment, and when you get older, a good form of exercise, easy on the joints. It takes a very different kind of strength than other sports, so don’t beat yourself up when it doesn’t come easy at first.


  4. Margaret Howard
    on Feb 17th, 2010
    @ 6:39 pm

    “After changing into my drowning trunks. . .”

    Okay, I actually snorted loudly when I read this–not at all a lady-like response!

    Good luck with the swimming lessons. I’ve had one week of lessons in my life (I’m 53 and the lessons were 45 years ago) and I have enough sense to scissor-kick my legs as I’m sinking and that’s about it. I don’t know what that’s supposed to do, but it seems to prolong the downward journey.

    Not that that matters when your head is already underwater…


  5. Alicia Kessler
    on Feb 17th, 2010
    @ 8:57 pm

    I sure hope you told her hair bands were over-rated and MTV actually played videos.


  6. AllanahK
    on Feb 17th, 2010
    @ 9:10 pm

    You probably sink because you are dense (said in a kind, nurturing way). Me- I float above the water! Good luck at your adventure to learn a new skill.


  7. Bobbi
    on Feb 17th, 2010
    @ 9:36 pm

    You should be proud of yourself! In high school and college, I taught swim lessons. My oldest student was 92 years old. She paid me in knitting and other crafts. I was 19 at the time and adored her. She was so dedicated! By the end of the summer she swam the length of the pool and was walking w/o her walker anymore! Hang in there!


  8. Pat
    on Feb 18th, 2010
    @ 3:33 am

    I bet the only reason you sink is because you are a very muscular hunk! (Ask your wife, I bet she will agree!) Remember that muscle weighs more than fat so use your muscles and swim to the light (I’m not saying “go to the light” like as in death!). I obviously am the complete opposite and I float in all water (too much fat I guess). Even in the hot tub, I have to force my arms and legs down. You might think that is good but not if you snorkel. I wanted to learn to dive but due to my “buoyancy” they would have to put tons of weights on me which reminded me of all those stories about the mafia and lead weights and having to do with death. So, no diving for me. Have fun, relax, and enjoy yourself!!


  9. sharon
    on Feb 18th, 2010
    @ 8:40 pm

    You have chosen a very good practice to learn for future exercise. Once you learn a few movements and relax a little, you will never give up. Being able to swim is a great way to stay flexible and stay in shape. Good luck, don’t stop.


  10. Melanie
    on Feb 19th, 2010
    @ 2:24 pm

    I applaud your efforts. I am also one of the swimming-challenged. I always sink and had a near drowning experience as a young child. Since then I have a deep-seated fear of going under the water. I did think it was funny though that comparing your experience to a 92-year-olds was supposed to make you feel better, I think! :D Keep kicking!

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