Thursday, May 21, 2009

Swim Lessons with Michael Phelps

So here’s the thing.

I can’t swim.

I mean, I can dog paddle so I guess I can technically swim. But it’s sort of embarrassing to dog paddle around a pool.

I had swim lessons as a child but I was petrified on sticking my head in the water so they didn’t go very well. I still don’t like to put my head in the water. My husband is greatly amused by this. He once scooped me up and said he was going to throw me into the pool.

He let me down only because I dug my nails into his skin and screamed straight into his eardrum.

I know I need to learn how to swim better. It’s going to be embarrassing when my own child swims right past me as I’m dog paddling along the water. I need to set an example!

Which was why this Michael Phelps swim lesson intrigued me.

In case you’re in no mood to click the link, well, basically it’s an auction for a private swim lesson with Michael Phelps. The money goes to a charity and if we had that kind of money then I’d probably bid on it.

Let’s just pretend that we’re rolling in cash and I won the auction. I’d show up at the aquatic center wearing an oversized t-shirt over my swimsuit because hello, I’m not about to let Michael Phelps see my thighs. Or my stretch marks. Apparently he hangs around with strippers with tight bodies and breasts as big as my head so I wouldn’t want to startle him with my pale skin and breasts that are probably the size of his ears.

I imagine Michael would be surprised to see me because I believe the auction is intended for swim lessons for a CHILD. Because after all, most adults know how to swim, right? So he’d be giving me a baffled look as I calmly set my duffle bag that would contain my towel and a water bottle down.

“Is your kid coming?” Michael might ask and this is when I’ll realize that he’s standing there in nothing but a tiny Speedo. My face will immediately flush because hello, the Speedo doesn’t leave much to the imagination. It’s just a tiny bit of spandex covering know...and you really can’t HELP but look.

So to be on the safe side I opt to look right over Michael’s shoulder at the wall as I speak to him because I know if I look him in the face that my eyes will inevitably wander downward and he’ll think I’m a total perv.

And I’m not, I swear it, I’m not a pervert. But it’s sort of hard not to look when someone strolls out in a tiny swatch of body hugging material.

Of course Michael will wonder what I’m staring at and will follow my gaze to the wall and stare at me in bewilderment.

“Oh,” I’ll say all flustered. “Sorry. It’s hard to look at you when you’re wearing...that...” And then I’ll gesture to his Speedo and dear God, because it’s me my hand will nearly bump his....area....and he’ll think I’m about to molest him or something.

“How about we get started?” Michael will suggest and then he’ll easily jump into the pool.

So I’ll slowly start to take off my shoes and walk over to the pool.

“Um, aren’t you going to take off your shirt?” Michael will wonder.

Is he insane? I’m not about to take off my shirt and frighten the Speedo off of him.

“I think I’ll keep it on. If that’s okay,” I’ll quickly add because I wouldn’t want to insult him. I mean, he’s won a bazillion medals which means he’s sort of like a swimming god.

“Keep it on if you’d like,” Michael will say because really, he just wants to get this over with and go home and play video games.

Then I’ll head to the pool stairs and Michael will call out, “You know, you can just jump in!”

Jump in! Does he want me to DIE? Honestly, Michael Phelps, you may have won a bazillion medals but you have a terrible memory. Maybe all the swimming he does has ruined his memory. Did he forget that I’m here for SWIM LESSONS and thus don’t know how to SWIM?

But then a thought will hit me. Suppose Michael thinks that I’m PRETENDING to not know how to swim just so I could meet him? I mean, fine, I do have a crush on the guy but I wouldn’t pay over two grand just to MEET him. No offense.

“I really can’t swim,” I’ll be compelled to say as I grip onto the side of the pool for dear life.

Michael will probably not believe me. He’ll start to prattle on about safety, something that his lawyers made sure that he’d say so he wouldn’t get sued if I drowned. Then he’ll ask if I know how to tread water and I’ll say, “For like ten seconds.”

Michael will demonstrate how to tread water and will patiently wait for me to let go of the wall.

I’ll slowly let go and start to move my arms and legs like crazy and then I’ll start to panic when I realize that I’m not treading in water but instead thrashing around the pool like I’m a mad woman. I’ll instantly freak out and my hand will go back to gripping the side of the pool.

“What was that?” Michael will wonder, still calmly treading water like it’s no big deal.

Poor Michael. All the chlorine must’ve ruined his sight. Did he not see that I nearly DROWNED?

“I nearly drowned,” I’ll say incredulously.

A sigh will come from Michael’s lips. He’ll be thinking, okay, I think my donating swim lesson days are over. I can’t handle this. I’ll just give the charity a chunk of cash from all my endorsements.

“I won’t let you drown,” Michael will promise. “Try again. Like this.” He’ll demonstrate again and it’ll look so easy that I’ll let go of the wall and try again.

It’ll go smoothly at first and I’ll call out, “Oh my gosh! I’m doing it! For more than ten seconds!” but then I’ll realize that I’m slowly sinking and I’ll make a dying animal noise and reach dramatically for the wall.

“You’re panicking. Don’t panic. Calm down. Breathe. If you panic, you’re going to go under,” Michael will say in cool, even tones.

Go under? I can’t go under!

“Maybe we should move onto something else,” Michael will suggest giving me a forced smile. “Since you seem so terrified of going under, how about we stick our head in the water and blow bubbles so you see there is nothing to be afraid of?”


“Actually,” I’ll say. “I’d like to learn how to swim without having to stick my head under. If that’s okay,” I’ll quickly add.

Michael will close his eyes briefly as though he’s going to his happy place. Then he’ll open them, toss me his tenth forced smile of the day and explain through clenched teeth that if I want to learn how to swim that I’ll have to stick my head under the water.

“Are you worried about your hair?” Michael will inquire. Because I imagine he’s been around those girly women who flip out if their hair gets dirty or if they chip a nail. I could care less about that. My hair never works anyhow and I chew my nails. So I’ll shake my head and say, “No. I’m worried that I’ll DROWN.” I’ll say this all seriously with wide eyes and Michael will be somewhat amused.

“I told you. I’m not going to let you drown. Now come on. Stick your head under like this and blow some bubbles,” Michael will say and then his head will disappear under the water and a sea of bubbles will pop up.

I’ll take a deep breath and do the same. Or at least I’ll try to before flipping out and gluing myself to the wall again.

“You’re panicking again,” Michael’s voice will boom out causing me to jump. Uh oh. He’s starting to lose his patience. He’ll quickly realize that he’s just shouted at the person who has donated over two grand for a charity and therefore he has to be nice. So he’ll close his eyes again to go to his happy place and then he’ll say, “Let’s move on.”

Right. Let’s.

“I’m going to show you how to do a breaststroke. Each time you do a stroke you tilt your head so you can breathe. Got it?” Michael will say and then show me what he means. He makes it look so easy, of course.

I decide that I’ll try because after all, I gave birth to two children so swimming should be a breeze. Right?

But as soon as I attempt to copy Michael’s moves I realize that I breathe at the wrong moment and inhale a bunch of water. So then I’ll start thrashing again and I realize that I’m going to die and Michael quickly swims over to me and tries to scoop me up but I’m going nuts and my limbs are all over the place and Michael is shouting, “COULD YOU PLEASE REMOVE YOUR NAILS FROM MY BACK? I’m trying to HELP YOU!”

Oops. I’ll relax and let Michael take me over to the side of the pool. He’ll stare at me with shock and say in a surprised tone, “You really don’t know how to swim, do you? I honestly thought you were joking….” he’ll trail off and give me an apologetic look.

Yup. Just as I thought. He assumed I forked over all that cash just to meet him. Sorry Michael Phelps, but I’m not a psycho. I really DO need to learn how to swim.

“Look, if I had known that you really couldn’t swim I’d have started off easier. Here, let me get something,” Michael will say and then will easily hoist himself out of the pool. I’ll try not to look at his butt but again, Spandex doesn’t cover much and it’s RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME.

Michael will jog over to the corner of the room and pick up a yellow foam thing.

“A kickboard!” he’ll shout triumphantly, jumping back into the pool. He’ll hand it over to me. “There. Just swim around the pool with me like that.”

I’ll feel a little foolish accepting the kickboard but I’ll take it because I don’t want to drown.

I get the feeling that the kickboard was intended for a child but it doesn’t matter.

“Let’s race,” Michael will suggest.

Racing Michael Phelps! A once in a lifetime opportunity! Suppose I end up beating him and he’ll be impressed with my supersonic kick and go on the news and say that he’s just been beaten by someone who doesn’t even know how to swim....

So I’ll nod my head enthusiastically and he’ll shout “GO!” and I’ll take off with the kickboard underneath me. But then halfway to the other side of the pool my legs will start to ache and I’ll wonder how Michael does this for more than an hour each day.

“I’m tired!” I’ll gasp out as Michael touches the other side of the pool. I stop kicking and sort of bob in place.

“You’re tired?” Michael will shout. “Do you know that I swim in the pool two hours a day, TWICE a day and don’t even get a day off?”


“” I’ll admit.

“Surely you can make it to the end of the pool and back?” Michael will continue.

No. No I can’t, Michael Phelps. Because I’m allergic to exercise and this really feels like exercise. My thighs are burning and the chlorine fumes are starting to make me dizzy. But I can’t tell him this because he took time out of his day to teach me how to swim. So I’ll start kicking again and try to forget that my legs feel like they’re about to break off.

I’ll make it to the end ten minutes later and Michael will look like he’s about to fall asleep.

“Great job!” he’ll yell when I finally make it over. “Fantastic! You did a GREAT job!” he’ll say overenthusiastically. “You’re done!”

What? I’m done? I thought we were swimming back down the pool?

“I thought you said—” I’ll start but Michael is already climbing out of the pool.
“I have an autographed picture for you and a copy of my book,” he’ll be saying as I kick my way over to the pool stairs. I’ll slowly climb out of the pool, still confused. I mean, I really haven’t learned how to swim.

“Here you go,” Michael will say and practically shove his picture and book in my baffled arms. I’ll realize that he has a towel around his waist, thank goodness. “You have a fantastic day.” Then he’ll turn on his heel and because his legs are so long he’ll have disappeared into the locker room in record time.

And that, my friends, is why I will not be bidding on the lessons. I do not want to wind up being known as “the chick who made Michael Phelps lose his patience.” And then, oh my gosh, suppose he ends up losing a race at the London Olympics and during an interview Michael will be all, “I’ve never swum the same since this one woman dug her nails into my back and punctured a muscle.”

I can’t have that sort of thing on my conscience!

I just can’t.


  1. Doesn't The Bonging Fish know that swimming with a kickboard is tons harder than winning 14 gold medals? If it weren't for your tee shirt - which seriously slowed you down - you would have wupped his a**.

  2. That was just awesome! I often talk myself out of things before they have a chance to happen, but you have bested me in every possible way.

  3. I'm just wondering how good of a swimmer he is when he's high?

  4. You thought every detail through!!! Amazing... amazing...

    If Michael had asked me to dunk my head under and blow bubbles, and suppose I didn't want to dunk my head under... I would have turned around and tooted. There the bubbles will rise and you've accomplished his request without getting your hair wet. I think that'd work, yes?

  5. Very funny.

    I think dog padding is totally acceptable.

    (Also - if you're really intersted most rec centers have adult swimm lessons - I'm sure they have seen it all.)

  6. I am laughing. Seriously. Esp. at the part where Michael says, "Is your kid coming?"

  7. Hilarious! One has to wonder how quickly he spent his endorsement money to be desperate enough to auction out swim lessons. (Hugs)Indigo

  8. funny!!!.....hey im 30 i didnt learn to swim until i was about 22...self taught...was really embarrassing when 7 year olds would make fun of my doggie it up now kids...i can swim!lol

  9. HILARIOUS! I just found your blog through Buried with Children and it is so funny!
    "My breasts are the size of his ears"- HA!


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