Trying to keep my head above water

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico columnist

I’d make the Mafia more efficient.

It’s probably not good to say such things when everybody’s looking to save a few pennies. But it’s true. If the Mafia decided to take me for a swim, they wouldn’t need a bag to put me in. Or rocks for the bag. Or ropes to tie my hands. Just throw me in and save on material costs.

No, I don’t know how to swim. Every year, I hear, “Kevin, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to learn.” This may also explain why I can’t learn any pieces of foreign language not on the menus of Taco Bell, Olive Garden or Panda Express.

Since I know you’re asking … yes, my hometown had a pool. The first time I went there, I apparently had a tattoo on my forehead that said, “Doesn’t know how to swim yet. Swim up to him, dunk him in the water. Spread the word so other capable swimmers may share in this joy.”

I realized to swim, I have to go to the pool. To go to the pool, I have to repeat this watery nightmare. That was a good theory for a 6-year-old.

How did I otherwise avoid water? There’s this big body of land between the oceans called the continental United States of America, and it’s pretty easy to keep my feet on said land. Regarding pools, I’m 5-foot-11, so I avoid any part of a pool with “6 FEET” painted on the side.

But the time is over for excuses. I was inspired in 2008 through both Michael Phelps and Barack Obama (Yes I Can … Not Drown). So in 2009, I will learn to swim.

Before I could find a class, a friend said she’d teach me. She wanted me to share in the joy of swimming. I wanted to see her in a swimsuit. Deal, I said.

But I had doubts a few days ago when the text messages came in.

Her: I had the most vivid dream last night.

Me: Do tell.

Her: I was at a swim meet, doing the backstroke. In a pool of chocolate pudding.

Me: Did you win?

Her: No. Do you know why it was the backstroke?

(You’re lactose intolerant? It wasn’t sugar-free? You prefer butterscotch?)

Me: You don’t like pudding?

Her: You can’t see through chocolate pudding.

Me: I hope I didn’t inspire this dream.

Her: You don’t remind me of chocolate pudding.

Me: You said you’d teach me to swim.

Her: Well, it’s too hard to swim in chocolate pudding.

Me: You don’t know that. You just dreamed it.

Her: The dream was really vivid.

Me: Maybe teaching me in pudding would make me a better swimmer.

Her: I’m not finding a pool filled with pudding.

Me: So you won’t go the extra mile for a friend?

Her: You’ll learn in water like everyone else.

I should probably drop the argument at this point. I’d hate to upset her enough to put a Mafia hit on me. All things considered, it still wouldn’t be that expensive.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com