I was once like them. I thought the same thing. I watched hours of Facts of Life, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Jefferson’s, I Love Lucy — but who would’ve thought that Baywatch would have been the most instrumental TV watching program to prepare me for the moment I saved a human life.
I was swimming in a lane yesterday, probably on lap 24. I noticed a man in the lane over from mine. He was underwater: eyes open. He was standing on the floor of the pool trying to fix his goggles on his face: eyes open. He looked focused. He also looked like he was staring at me, and I began to think “What a fucker. What is it with people staring at you underwater? Isn’t this like the last bastion of peace? Where you can just swim, and not be bothered? But no! Motherfuckers be staring at you in places where you can’t breathe, and shit.”
Two seconds later, I pushed off the other side of the wall and noticed the man (still standing on the floor of the pool) looking toward the surface. I saw air bubbles coming from his mouth, and it looked as though he was admiring them on their journey toward the surface. A second later — he was prostate on the floor and looked to be drowning. I popped my head up toward the lifeguard station, and he was standing up on his chair. I swam underwater, into the other lane, in between another swimmer who was doing laps, put my hands under the drowning man’s armpits and kicked off the floor of the pool. When I got to the top I “Hasselhoffed” that shit — with one arm around his neck (that doesn’t choke you) and feeling his heart beating through my arm and torso, swam him to safety. There, the lifeguard screamed at the other guy doing laps”Get out of the pool!” and to the other lifeguard “Get the board!” I was able to help the lifeguards slide the board under the drowning victim, and lift him out of the pool.
Cops, ambulance, paramedics, other lifeguards, and members of the Aquatic Center gathered around. The officer asked me some questions and said “You did good today.” Which made me smile.
Then I called my son later to tell him about it, and he said “You’re the best dad ever.” Which made me cry.