That Time I Almost Died
Long ago in a distant land, I -Aku- the shapeshifting master of darkness, unleashed an unspeakable evil. But …
Have you ever felt like Samurai Jack? Like you’re all alone in the world with nothing and no one on your side?
Well, while you think about that question, can we talk about swimming?
Long ago in a distant land, I – Mark – the IT guy extraordinaire, went to a work conference thingy. But …
It is a dark and almost stormy night. It is a dull and gloomy Thursday. It almost seems stormy, which would be fitting given that Thursday is named after the “god of thunder, Thor”. (Look it up.)
The conference room seems small. Almost stifling. There are three really long tables arranged in a U-shape. Old people are squinting at their laptops because they do not realize there is a zoom function in Microsoft Word. I’m in the corner of the room, lucky enough to have found a detached desk from where I can play games on my PC and pretend to work, without shame.
At the far end of one table, a lecturer informs the others of the on-going strike. She is loud. I can hear her through my earphones. The thing is, I can’t adjust my volume in case the boss calls for technical assistance. Just because we’re on strike doesn’t mean I can’t get fired. So I bear with the noise and wait patiently for 5 pm.
Now I had made a habit of going to the gym each evening to workout. Or, if we’re being honest, to spend more time staring at the machines then psyche myself up to actually use them. Today is no different and so at 5 I pack up my stuff, go change into workout clothes and head to the gym.
Today, however, I have company. This young lecturer is at the gym. Let’s call him, John* (* because that’s his actual name). I find John lifting these huge weights like he just saw the Avengers movies and he wants to look like the Incredible Bulk. I, on the other hand, go to the gym to lose weight. And I had already realized that getting into shape meant giving up sugar, and wheat products and potatoes and basically everything that makes life worth living. So today I’m just taking a casual ride on the stationary bike, daydreaming that one day I’ll eat fries again.
But here’s the thing, John and I are sort of friends. And friends are supposed to assist each other at times. Now, the guy wants to lift the next set of weights and to do so without dying (read as dropping the bar and crushing his own chest), he needs a spotter. And since I do not desire to be an eyewitness to suicide, I end up being the said spotter.
Long story short, it doesn’t take long for me to be lifting the weights alongside him. How could I not when he keeps saying things like, “Usiogope chuma, Mark.” A man has his pride.
*one hour later*
It’s 6:15 pm and I hate everyone.
I can’t walk. My arms and legs are jelly. My shoulders and back are sore. My butt is sore! I can’t even sit upright. But of course, John is fine. Smiling like he has achieved something. I hate him so much.
“Mark, you know what can help your soreness?”
“A dip in the pool.”
You have got to be kidding me. “No, thank you.”
“Hizi vitu zimelipiwa. Use them.” John says.
“I’d rather not. I can’t swim.”
“Aiii! How? Kwani unaogopa maji?”
“The more accurate thing to say is that I’m afraid of dying,” I say.
“You can’t die in the shallow end. You’re tall. Just stand up.”
His argument sounds legit. The logic is sound. And I do not like his implication that my fear is trivial. Let’s do this!
What the hell is wrong with me?
*five minutes later*
I can’t believe people do this for fun. The water is cold as fuck! I’m in water waist-deep but because I’m “brave”, I try to submerge myself. That’s a horrible idea because:
- a) Why?
- b) I can see a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel.
- c) My nostrils, unlike those of a hippo, allow the water into my body. Water which proceeds to choke me.
- d) I want my mommy.
*end of flashback*
In conclusion, I learnt 3 things from my near-death experience:
1. Swimming is stupid! End of discussion. No one can tell me that swimming is a leisure activity. Nope! No way. Pools are only good for aesthetics or for keeping pet sharks.
If swimming for fun is what God intended, Jesus would have Michael Phelpsed Himself to the disciples that one time in Matthew 14.
Swimming is for fish, aquatic mammals and penguins.
2. Peer pressure is bad. Don’t give in. Do not yield! Don’t do drugs.
3. John tried to kill me. Twice! And I shall have my revenge!
In other news: Apologies. I thought this post went out already. Turns out I mistakenly scheduled it for June instead of May. Oops!