Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sink Or Swim

True confession:  I don't swim too well. I know how. I try hard. But I sink every time. Either that, or I swim crooked.

I'm fine as long as I can hold on to the side of the pool – if I'm in a pool, that is. But when I attempt to swim across the pool – from the shallow side, across the deep end, to the other shallow side – I had better make it all the way, because if I stop anywhere in the middle, I'm going to sink.

I'm not really sure why this is the case. Because I'm bottom-heavy, perhaps? Maybe I have no natural buoyancy. Maybe I'm a freak of nature. I don't know.

I can't swim straight, either. The truth of the matter is that I swim in semi-circles. Maybe sometimes in the figure of a question mark. Never an exclamation point. I don't know why that is. I try to go forward. That's both the goal and the intention. But I always end up halfway back where I started. It's kind of hilarious to watch, at least from what I'm told.

When it came time for me to take the swim test in college – often (if not always) a requirement to graduate – I couldn't even attempt it. I had to take an elective health class which basically ended up being Remedial Swimming. I had to relearn everything I'd been taught about swimming when I was a kid.

And still I sank. And I still couldn't swim straight. I really did give it my best effort, but my body simply didn't cooperate. I passed Remedial Swimming, but I'm not sure I ever did pass that swim test. Maybe they felt sorry for me. Maybe I did enough halfway-across-the-pool laps that I reached the required number of full laps. Maybe they just got tired of seeing me fail and moved me along.

I don't care, really. It's slightly embarrassing, and would become quite an inconvenience if I was ever on a boat that capsized and there were no life preservers. But it is what it is. I'm not a swimmer.

I could make some profound point here, about how trying and trying but always failing is a metaphor for life. Or I could use this analogy to demonstrate that it's okay not to be able to do something, as long as you give it your best. But that's just trite nonsense. There's no deeper meaning here. I just can't swim. That's all there is to say.

WAR AND PEACE UPDATE:  I've done it. I've finally reached 10% of the book, which means I'm around Location 2900 on the Kindle, or page 98 of the printed version. I'm right at the beginning of Book Two (there are sixteen Books, or parts, that comprise the novel). This is almost where I gave up before. I'm not giving up this time. What's more, I don't even want to!

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