Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Real Hold Your Breath Tale...



The last time I had great sex is still within the fringes of my aging memory. The thing that I recall second-most about the event, was just how winded I got during the exercise.

And I have to admit, I was rather shocked that I actually got winded (and I mean, wheezing and panting) because, if I were to list physical attributes in order of exceptionality, I would put my lungs right up there at number two behind my broken arm-wrestling elbows…

When I was in elementary school we used to go to a swimming center that had an Olympic pool and tennis courts. One of the games we played involved holding your breath and swimming under water, and I was usually challenging some of the older folk for top dog in this sport. Later, free diving for abalone out in the rugged Pacific waters became one of my top can-do attributes. I could free dive down to forty feet, fish around for mollusks and swim to the surface after a good long while. All this to say, my lungs were always X-tra large and they always served me well.

Which brings me to a party I went to maybe fifteen years ago. It was one of those summer impromptu events where somebody had a pool, and somebody had a freezer full of meat, and many of us knew where the liquor store was to buy beer and ice. It all just came together on a hot Sunday in August, and we all knocked back a few beers and spiffled around meeting and greeting drinking folks and told lies and exaggerated truths while hot dogs and T-bones crackled on an oak log barbeque.

And there was this weaselly guy, who I’ll call Weasel, who got to talking to me about abalone diving. Somehow, he got it in his head that he was a regular porpoise, and that his swimming and breath holding were legendary and that I should believe him because he said it was true.

I didn’t.

I told him he was full of shit and lying to the wrong guy and was not at all taken in by his underwater heroics (which, according to him, were absolutely amazing).

The guy was smallish in height, and skinnyish in girth, and had tattoos up and down a couple of arms. His ribs looked caved in, flat at best, and I knew what kind of ribs produced lung capacity because I had them and were quite familiar with them. My nickname for over a year in junior high was, as a matter of fact, “Ribs”. Big, gaudy ribs produced big lungs, which allowed for breath holding prowess. That was just how that worked.

I showed him my ribs and told him of my theory, and the next thing you know we had a wager going as to who was the best at holding their breath underwater.

Easy money, was what I was thinking.

It turned out to be more than that.

The party we were attending had an above ground pool with a ladder that hung over the side. It was round and about four and a half feet deep. We both got in the pool and left our beers outside. We were opposite each other and the crowd at the party had gathered in a larger circle outside of the pool (mostly the men) to see the bet unfold.

Someone counted down from three and I grabbed the rim of the pool and gently pushed my head under, leaning up against a side, sitting on the bottom, quietly holding my breath while holding myself easily down with my arms pushing against the rim of the pool.

Weasel, on the other hand, had some trouble from the get go. When you hold a large volume of air in your lungs, you tend to float. Weasel was having trouble staying under because of this. He had not worked out the system of simply grabbing the pool rim and pushing up on it so your body stayed down. Weasel began using his hands and arms like flippers and struggled to stay down. I sat quietly opposite him, and watched him, thoroughly amused. If I could keep from laughing, this would be an easy win for me.

Weasel kept struggling but he was losing the buoyancy battle. In desperation, Weasel began swimming along the outside edge of the pool. His belly was rubbing up against the blue vinyl, as he swam in a desperate circle, swimming inward just enough to swim by me while I watched with a stunned amusement. Then, he got right back onto the outer edge of the pool, his belly rubbing against more vinyl. He was now in panicky out of breath mode, and I was a Zen-Buddha statue just sitting calmly under water watching him.

What he didn’t see was the ladder that hung over and into the pool. You know those ladders? The ones that hang over about three feet and then have those two little rubber legs that rest against the vinyl? Well, Weasel brainiac, in his brilliance, managed to swim in behind the ladder and lodge himself quite effectively between the ladder and the vinyl.

He went from panicky breath-holding swimmer to out-of-breath-and-stuck idiot in a matter of a few seconds. I remember watching from my underwater vantage point through blurry water. The scene was so comical, I watched him wiggle probably longer than I should have, but eventually, I got that he was drowning and got up and walked over and grabbed his legs and pulled him backwards back out from behind the ladder.

Needless to say, one of us was panting and wheezing…

5 comments:

Mushy said...

You are so evil...but I'd have done exactly the same! Funny.

Jeannie said...

That would have been pretty amusing. As a kid, I sank like a rock - too much muscle and bone I think. I didn't have incredible lung capacity though we always had contests.

meno said...

Guess he didn't understand that activity uses up the oxygen faster. Pinhead.

citizen of the world said...

Last great sex still within the fringes of your aging memory. I don't know whether to giggle or offer my sympathy.

Billy said...

I've always heard that coming up for air is an attribute of good sex. Wheezing is good.