Child Rearin'

Published on April 27th, 2016 | by Richard Black

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Summer, Swimming and Avoiding Incarceration in 2020

UF_Drown_042716Spring has sprung and its arrival harkens the beginning of the end of the school year and that most dreaded of times for those of us with children, the beginning of summer. As a stay at home parent summer is a trying time. Suddenly there are hours to fill and that most dreaded of activities in which to participate, swimming.

Unfortunately Darcy cannot swim. She’s of normal weight and height for her age but her body density defies the known laws of physics when she enters water. Despite the best of intentions to float on her back or stomach or flail furiously in water that rises above her head my daughter sinks like her feet are tied to a washing machine. This wouldn’t be an issue if my daughter despised the water but, like most young children, she loves swimming and being a decent parent I’m required to make sure she doesn’t drown.

It doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice and for most people I suppose it wouldn’t be. Who, after all, wouldn’t thoroughly enjoy a day at the pool? The answer of course is me.

I hate swimming. That’s actually an understatement. I’d rather sit on my balls a few hundred times than go for a swim. It’s not that I can’t swim. I spent more than ten years swimming “competitively” in my youth (for the curious I put the word “competitively” in quotes because it implies that I wasn’t all that good and saves me from the embarrassment of explicitly stating that fact.)

Some parents worry about having their kids contracting leukemia or prostituting their bodies for heroin. I don’t. I spend hours lying awake in a cold sweat at night terrified that my daughter will take an interest in competitive swimming.

To be fair the sport isn’t all that bad if one is a participant. Sure your hair turns into tacky chunks of bleached straw and your skin becomes so dry that it can be used to sand the burrs out of steel. Come to think of it the practices are also pretty rough.

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CAUTION: OBJECTS IN SPEEDOS MAY BE SMALLER THAN THEY APPEAR.

On the upside you get to wear a skimpy swim suit four sizes too small that leaves nothing to the imagination. The water is also pretty cold which does nothing to enhance the male sex organ. I attribute my lengthy bout of virginity to the fact that just about every girl in high school had seen me in a Speedo.

The real upside of swimming are the meets is the freedom involved. You take part in a few races in the small ones, sometimes more in the larger events, and spend the bulk of your time talking with your friends and acquainting yourself with the nuances of sex. I received my first hand job at a swim meet and whether it was from the young woman to my right or the young man to my left are issues I haven’t spent much time considering for the sake of my fragile male ego.

As an adult swim meets are a bit different. For starters I have yet to receive a hand job at one. I don’t think I’m overstating the fact that they take on unique brand of hell that Dante failed to mention in the Inferno. If you’ve never attended a swim meet and have a sadomasochistic bent then I heartily encourage you to do so.

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A swimmer’s skin at 100x magnification.

At best you’ll end up spending three or four hours sitting on a steel bench in an indoor pool. The humidity will be in the range of 150%, the temperature will hover around the high 90’s. You will also lose twenty or thirty pounds in water weight while the EMT’s take bets on whether or not you’ll soil yourself as you pass out.

If you’re not fortunate enough to be spending the time indoors you’ll be outside, usually during the hottest months of the year and risking third degree burns from the sun. To make matters worse you’ll be stuck with a bunch of other parents with which you’ll have nothing in common but feel compelled to make polite chit-chat.

“Hot enough for ya?” I can hear some poor soul asking me a few years from now.

“Actually I’m a Satanist and am quite comfortable. Have you heard the bad word?” I imagine myself asking.

“So those Redbirds are doin’ pretty well so far,”  another might say.

“I don’t really follow baseball but Cardinals are delicious. Have you ever tried them fricasseed?”

“I’m voting for Trump in 2022,” I’ll inevitable hear.

“I don’t care for the man but I’ll say this about him,” I’ll say as I lean in and whisper, “Trump makes me horny as hell.”

It will only be a matter of time before I’m beaten to a pulp or arrested and possible both.

This summer will test my mettle as a parent and it’s become obvious that I’ll have to walk a very fine line. On one hand I’ll have to encourage my daughter to learn how to swim. On the other I’ll have to cultivate a disinterest in competitive swimming to avoid my inevitable incarceration. Fortunately my interest in biology is finally paying off.

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“They caught that one but there are always other sharks in the sea Darcy.”

There’s a small fish in the Amazon that has a penchant for swimming up urethras which I intend to bring to my daughter’s attention over the next few weeks.  I recently read that one out of five adults admit to urinating in the pool. These are, I feel compelled to note, grown men and woman who admit to taking a leak in a pool not the hordes of small children with presumably even less bladder control.

The pool can be a revolting place. Aside from staying out of the water entirely, the best way to avoid swallowing a mouthful of urine or dodging a fish that can swim up your pee hole is to know how to swim really, really fast.

On an unrelated note it looks like there’s a Jaws marathon on TV over the next few days. As coincidence would have it Darcy has expressed an interest in sharks and, because I’m a good and attentive father, I’m going to record them for her. There may be some unexpected emotional trauma but hydrophobia is an imminently treatable condition and one I’m sure her health insurance will pay for once she’s gainfully employed and in her early twenties.

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