9.16 The Dunk Tank
The next few blogs will be transcripts of the latest season of Storytime with Paul Dore. Storytime is a short adrenaline shot of a podcast straight to the mind, heart or sometimes the funny bone, wherever that is located. For this season, each episode is a live recording from the monthly event Stories We Don't Tell. With the release of season three of the podcast, I'll be posting the transcripts here on the blog.
Last year I wrote a three-part story that made me question the world and my place in it. Since then, I’ve had three experiences that fit under this same category. So, this is sort of a sequel. These stories are all about rules: following the rules, breaking them and so on. To quickly refresh your memory, last year’s stories were about someone wearing the same unusual shirt as me, getting yelled at while skating at an outdoor rink and people misunderstanding the concept of emergency sirens. Now for this year’s very different stories.
#2 23 Time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps
For the past few months, I have been trying to exercise more, but I’m not looking to get huge or anything like that. I’m more focused on things like agility, long distance running, swimming, flexibility, cardio - skills that might be needed in the ongoing political turmoil in the United States.
I started swimming laps at my local community centre pool. I’ve swam in a lot of pools over the years and noticed a pattern. Usually, there are three lanes for laps: slow, medium and fast. Men, and in my very scientific study it’s always men 100% of the time, enter the pool and jump right into the fast lane. They may not be the fastest swimmers, in fact, a lot of the time they are barely treading water, but in their mind? In their mind they are 23 time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps.
Because of this phenomenon, the fast lane is usually loaded down with slow-moving men, leaving the other lanes open. Many times, five to seven men duke it out - slowly - in the fast lane, while I have a relaxing time in the medium lane.
A couple of weeks ago, the pool was quite busy. Some of the men were forced to take the hit to their ego and do their laps in the medium lane. I jumped in and stood at the end of the pool, getting my goggles on. Beside me was an older lady doing some kind of water aerobics.
A man was swimming towards us. He stopped and stood, raising his goggles. I recognized him as a Michael Phelps right away. “Hey! You know, it’s very difficult for us to do our laps when all of you are standing at the end of the pool in our way. You’re not supposed to be standing there, it’s against the rules.” I looked at the older woman doing water aerobics, but she just shrugged her shoulders.
As Michael Phelps stood yelling, there was another swimmer behind him approaching and not paying attention. Now, I could have alerted Michael Phelps that this swimmer was coming up behind him. But then I thought: No, you know what? Perhaps this could be a teaching point for him. He kept yelling, “It’s really difficult for us to turn quickly when-”
-he didn’t get a chance to finish. That other determined swimmer somehow managed to bump into his legs, causing Michael Phelps - as though he was sitting on a dunk tank - to plunge completely underwater.
The lesson here is don’t be a jerk and try to impart your own made up rules on to others, or karma will come up behind you and literally knock you on your ass.