High Dives

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday, while sailing in my boat, The S.S. Squirrel, I did some thinking. I thought about things that no one else reading this will care a feather about. Mostly, insignificant memories I’m surprised I still remember.

I thought about the high dive at the public pool growing up. When the high dive was built, it was the most popular thing in three counties. Kids came from miles around just to pee off it. And, the public pool even developed the underground-nickname, “Golden Pond.”

The truth was, the high dive was serious business. It was high, and dangerous. Only one child had ever survived an actual jump off the thing. Mark Pock, who we all called Pock Mark. We called him that because that’s what little brats do to each other. One year, I decided I would solidify my reputation in local folklore, and be the first to perform a bonafide belly flop from the top. I knew it would likely kill me.

Before jumping, I remember yelling out, “Remember Alimony!” a botched attempt at the phrase, “Remember the Alamo!” And, Robbie Lawson’s recently divorced mother stood and shouted, “Amen,” right after I yelled it.

I splatted on the surface of the water and knocked the wind clean out of myself. My next move was to attempt the doggy paddle, which looked more like the goat paddle – I sank to the bottom like a brick.

The lifeguard was Lynn, a senior in high school. Every boy my age thought Lynn was hotter than a pair of wool mittens. She dove in to rescue me, tugged me ashore, and muscled me onto the pavement single handed. And that’s saying something, I was chubby at the time. In fact, my mother had even sewn a third back pocket onto the seat of my Husky jeans. Try living that down.

Lynn pulled me out. “You could’ve drowned you dumbass.”

But I gave no response. I held my eyes shut, doing my best dead-man impression. Neither did I breathe.

“Sean, speak to me!” she screamed in a panic.

But I did not.

“Oh, my God,” she said. “What do I do?”

Some lifeguard she was. It’s a good thing I was faking, or I would’ve already been playing backgammon with Jesus.

I coughed myself into a faint state of resurrection. “L-L-Lynn, I think I need CPR.” Then, I pointed to my mouth.

And then she shoved me into The Golden Pond. And this time, she held me under.

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