Then imagine that your swim instructor urges you to do a 25 yard (1 length of the pool) as quickly as you possibly can. You have fins on your feet, so really, you can actually go pretty quickly. “I can do this,” you think to yourself. Determined to give it all you have you set out with gusto. “One, two, three, breathe,” you chant over and over again. “One, two, three, breathe,” you repeat, recognizing that if you don’t tell yourself to breathe you may very well forget.
Then, let’s imagine you get a little more than half way down the lane (just past the point that you can reach the bottom of the pool because you are, say 4’11.5” tall…) and you unknowingly find yourself inching closer and closer to the lane line.
And, for grins and giggles, let’s imagine that as you glide your hand into the water you ram your poor little pinky into the hole of the lane line with such skill and force that it gets jammed more than halfway down your littlest finger. Stuck. Unable to be removed.
You pop your head out of the water and don’t even notice the pain in your arm from trying to unsuccessfully pull the entire lane line out of the pool as you attempted to pull out your pinky and just keep swimming like you’ve (blush) done before when you’ve gotten the same pinky caught (but not stuck) in the same line.
Because you’re cool like that.
Instead you realize that no amount of grace and composure is going to get your pinky out. It’s stuck. And throbbing. And turning deep purple.
You look at the life guard, trying not to cry. You start mumbling something about your finger being stuck. Then you start communicating louder. And louder still. Then the tears fall and the nice lady in the lane next to you turns around and comes over to find out what’s wrong. You’re trying to tread water but the fins are making it difficult. She holds you up while another lady comes to get your fins off of your feet at your request.
Perhaps at this point you don’t totally remember what’s going on around you because you’re imagining your pinky falling off in the pool. One of the ladies tries to pull your pinky out but it won’t budge. You scream, “Stop, it hurts. It really hurts.” As if that wasn’t already obvious.
Through huge tears you feel the lane line start to move. The life guard has detached it and jumped into the pool. He drags you, your pinky and the lane line that’s still attached to it to the side of the pool. Then he informs you that he’s going to lift you onto the deck. In one fell swoop this young life guard with muscly arms the size of your head (I’m not gawking, you would have to be blind not to notice) hoists you out of the pool and into the arms of, I kid you not, 3 other life guards who all just happened to be there (two off duty, one coaching swim team). Oh, and another swim coach who has, I believe, also been a life guard in the past.
Then, shivering on the pool deck you look down, starting to feel woozy. As one of the swim coaches call out quietly, but within ear shot of you, “I think we need to get some help.” Then a little more loudly she shouts to someone, “Go find SOMETHING we can cut this off with.”
Then you really start to panic. You look down. Your pinky is purple and visibly throbbing. You’re not sure how long your pinky will stay attached with this much pressure on it. It’s swelling more and more with every second. More swelling means less chance it’s going to slip out on its own.
You’re wondering if someone’s going to have to put you through horrendous pain and just pull your stupid pinky out, perhaps breaking it in the process. Or maybe someone else is going to come at you with a device strong enough to cut hard plastic. Or maybe fire men are going to have to come work their magic. Because getting rescued by four life guards isn’t a sufficient story to tell.
Then, in some random moment of clarity while everyone around you is trying to figure out the best course of action to take you think, “Maybe if I can get some of this blood out of the tip of my pinky, maybe it’ll shrink enough to allow me to pull it out.” So you start massaging the tip of your pinky. You’re not hopeful since it already feels swollen.
But eventually after
As you breathe a sigh of relief the wonderful life guards get you some water. And your glasses. And a towel. And some gauze and tape to control the bleeding. They take good care of you. They assure you that you’re going to be alright. After a few minutes they change the bandages and reassess the wound. Your pinky is bruised and bleeding and cut all the way around, but it still bends. And best of all, it’s still attached to the rest of your hand.
You realize you’re going to be okay. You wipe the tears from your eyes and try to compose yourself. Then you drive home and part way down the road you burst out in tears again. The pain is still horrible. And honestly, you’re a bit embarrassed.
Then you get home and after a few minutes your husband realizes you are home early and asks what’s wrong. Then he gives you a hug and you start bawling like a baby about the emotional roller coaster you just went through over a pinky. A PINKY!
After you take some pain medicine and spend a few hours resting you text your good friend, fellow pastor’s wife and swimming buddy to let her know that Mr. Muscles had to literally pluck you out of the pool today. You get a good laugh when she asks if you were actually drowning or just faking it!
You realize through all of this that you are a potential danger to yourself when attempting to do any sort of athletic endeavor. Despite your best attempts, you’ve never been much of an athlete—and it’s becoming more and more obvious that this fact is not likely to change anytime soon.
Perhaps this is best illustrated by reflecting back on the time just a few months back that you somehow not-so-gracefully managed to fall of a STATIONARY bike during a spin class.
Clearly, you are a woman of high class. Hypothetically speaking of course. Because really, stories like this would never really happen… right?