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Memorial Day Weekend 3: PSA – Recognizing a drowning victim

So, I saved my son – not once, but – twice from drowning this past weekend. Do you know what someone drowning looks like? It’s not what you think.

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

Mentioned before that the kid “graduated” his swimming class recently – which means he can do some basic floating and kicking.

Well, when we first got to my buddy’s pad and the boy saw the pool, he was so excited that he cannonballed right into the deep end of the pool.

Luckily for both of us, I had already emptied out my pockets and taken off my shirt so I immediately dived in after him and hauled him out.

He was SUPER upset and wanted to get outta the pool but after a few minutes, calmed down and was back in the pool for a bit.

I’d gotten dressed and was chilling with my friends but kept an eye on him for the remainder of the day.

After a while, we both relaxed and I proceeded to absolutely crush whatever food was offered.

While I was doing this, the kid had climbed on top of a clear banana float. Almost as soon as he got on, he slipped off in the middle of the pool, which was still over his head.

I saw him go under and he exhibited all the classic drowning signs – which, if you don’t know, look nuthin like in the movies.

Here they are, for your edification, alla which the kid displayed perfectly.

        1. Mouth at water level, bobbing in and out of the water
        2. Arms out to the side.
        3. Head tilted back.
        4. Vertical body
        5. Gasping for breath.
        6. NO SOUND!

When someone is drowning, they’re desperately trying to breathe so there’s no chance to yell out, “Help.”

But as soon as I saw that he exhibited all six signs, I dove in after him, fully dressed.

This is what we looked like a few minutes later.

The whole process – my assessment and then going in after him – took less than two seconds but it felt like an eternity.

I pulled him out, sputtering, for the second time that day but this time there were no tears or crying.

He simply looked at me and said, “I’m sorry you had to get your shirt wet to save me.”

I wanted to cry. Partly because I’m always terrified of something happening to him, and partly because – goddamn, what a sweet little kid.

He almost drowns for the second time with me and is worried about me messing up a $20 tee-shirt. This is kid is gold.

Me: It’s fine. This my job. I’m here to take care of you.
Him: OK, papa. Thank you.
Me: I love you, kid. Let’s not scare papa like that again, ok?

Think that one of the hallmarks of good friends is that they try their best to make life annoying for you.

Case in point, there was a twisty slide that you can see in the above photo that the kid loved going down.

But, because it was at the deep end of the pool, I had to literally catch him and carry him all Lion-King-like to the shallow end of the pool.

Rick: (to my son) Do you want to go down the slide? Your daddy will catch you.
Me: What? No!
Him: Yay! Slide!
Me: (to Rick) God, I hate you.
Rick: (to son) It’s fun right!?

I did that half a dozen times before Gar’s wife, Wynn, gave him a life vest and I could go back to day-drinking.

He literally spent the next three hours climbing up the ladder, counting down 5-4-3-2-1, and then going down the slide.

When I was a very little kid, I remember my mom in either a pink or white dress and her suddenly jumping into a pool while we were on vacation somewhere.

Turns out that it was my kid sister drowning and my mom sprang into action. There’s nothing quite like a parent’s love for their child, which makes the recent national events in Texas all the more gutting.

In any case, all these years and decades later, and I still remember well when my mom saved my sister.

I suspect this past weekend will join it as one of my fondest memories.

Him: Do we have to go?
Me: All good things come to an end at some point. But we’ll do this again.
Him: Promise?
Me: (nodding) Absolutely.
Him: I’m sorry about your shirt.
Me: Don’t be. As long as you’re ok, I’m ok. OK?
Him: (nodding) OK.

Location: tonight, a party in midtown with PT Steve
Mood: grateful
Music: why you gotta be so in between loving me and leaving (Spotify)
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