had to join a new gym because . . . uh, well, that’s not important.
important thing is that we found a gym with a good pool, great
weights and, most important, a place where no one knows me.
week, during my first visit, I decided to swim some laps in the pool.
I had a great time and found a ton of coins. The pool had a fancy
French name: “fountain.”
guess that pool’s for adults only, because a guy came over and
asked me to get out. He showed me another pool that was
actually inside the
building. Eager to resume my laps, I jumped into a lane. I think
Methuselah was swimming next to me! He was really old.
love people who are my great-grandparents’ age, because they have
the coolest stories when you take time to get to know them.
morning, sir!” I said.
morning, young man!” he said. “You must think I’m pretty old.”
I said to the wrinkled man, “either that, or you’ve been in the
water way too long.”
96,” he said, “but I’ll bet I can outswim you. Want to race?”
only do I love old people, I also respect them as the Bible says. And
obviously, because he didn’t realize I was Average Boy (I had left
my cape in the locker room), I didn’t think it was fair to race
OK,” I said.
not chicken, are you?” He laughed until his teeth fell out.
was it. I’ve been called a turkey before, but chicken is going too
on!” I said.
swim down and back!” he challenged.
was kind of afraid that, at his age, he’d get to the end of the
pool and forget he was racing. But I agreed to the terms.
count to three,” he said, proceeding to count in Roman numerals.
“I, I-I, I-I-I!”
couldn’t tell if he was counting or if he had a stuttering problem.
his sixth I,
we splashed forward. In a burst of speed, I pulled ahead by 20 feet.
I reached the end of the pool and attempted to do a flip turn, like
they do in the Olympics. That was a bad idea.
launched into a triple somersault. The next thing I saw was Old Man
River darting past me like a dolphin that’s had a quintuple shot of
losing the race, I sprawled out on the side of the pool, panting like
looked over at the old guy. He was treading water, grinning and
I said, “you’re a fast swimmer.”
he said. “Well, these help.”
then stuck two gigantic swimming flippers out of the water.
people are funny. If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents
nearby, spend time getting to know them. The Bible says to seek
wisdom, and older generations have tons of it. You might even get a
few laughs along the way.
if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get my flippers and challenge
Methuselah to a rematch!