As sad as this is, there is a perfectly good explanation as to why I have made it to the age of 21 without ever learning to swim properly. I can swim on my back. A little. But, like I said, if I were dropped in the middle of a lake, I'd most likely drown.
This problem all stems back to when I was about four years old, and my family lived in Florida. I don't remember a tremendous amount of my life there. I was born in Florida, we lived there for about a year or two, we moved to Michigan, then moved back to Florida after about a year.
I do remember making "lemonade."
It wasn't great. Don't make lemonade using water and yellow colored hand soap. Yellow and lemon-scented does not equal lemon flavored. I was maybe three. I didn't know. Now you do. You're welcome.
I remember having the Chicken Pox.
But mostly, if only because of the impact that still hangs on to this very day, I remember the pool.
There was a time I liked the pool. I would wade around in the shallow end with my dad, happily splashing around like most children do when introduced to water.
I would ride my Big Wheel around the pool, carefully avoiding the edge, but still feeling pretty dang cool.
So for a while, the pool and I were friends.
This would not last.
One afternoon, my family hosted a get-together at our house. People from church came, friends were there, a good time was being had by all. Some of my friends and I decided we wanted to play with my wagon. One friend and I piled into it, while another, older friend, began pulling us around the pool.
It was going great. We were having a blast riding around the pool in that wagon. Suddenly, at the deep end...disaster struck.
One wheel slipped off the edge. What was once a carefree joyride around the pool had turned into a plummet into the deep end. Wagon and all.
Next thing I knew, I couldn't tell which way was up, and everything around me was blue.
All hope seemed lost. I was going to die, upside down (or something) in our swimming pool. I had resigned my little body to death, when next thing I knew, I was lying on the patio beside the pool gasping and choking for breath, flopping around like a fish, while several concerned adults stared down at me.
Turns out a couple of quick-acting teens at the party had jumped in and hauled my friend and I out before we inhaled too much chlorine water and died. My parents hauled me inside moments later, and I was relatively unscathed. At least physically. Mentally...well, that's why I still can't swim to this day.
That and some swimming lessons at the YMCA that traumatized me even further. Note to anyone who's reading and might be a swimming instructor: When you encounter a child who says they are not ready for you to dunk them under the water...don't dunk them under the water. They will panic and suck in a lungful of water. Especially if they've already got one near-drowning-experience under their belt.
Needless to say, I did not complete my YMCA swimming lessons, therefore, I still cannot swim.
Yes, it's lame. No, I do not like that I can't swim. Yes, I should take lessons. But that would involve getting in a pool. And putting my face in the water. And that leads to a panic attack.
I know I have a problem. And maybe someday I'll actually do something about it. For now, I'm good, thanks. Just don't invite me to your next pool party.