When I was in high school, my friend Hank and I used to go the Boise YMCA occasionally to use the pool. Hank was a talented diver and spent his afternoons practicing new dives while I stuck to cannonballs and belly flops. Trouble always seemed to follow Hank. On more than one occasion he cracked his head open with his own knee while doing back flips into the pool, forcing me to take him to the emergency room. One day, however, Hank managed to dive without incident, so after our swim we decided to take a whirlpool.
Hank always bragged that he could hold his breath longer than I could, so we decided to have a breath-holding contest. I went first. After just a minute I had to come up for air. Then it was Hank’s turn. He took a huge inhalation then plunged beneath the foamy surface of the water, disappearing completely. I sat at the edge of the pool watching the clock.
Thirty seconds…forty…a minute… The bubbles bubbled, but Hank did not surface. A minute twenty… a minute thirty… still, no Hank. Continue reading →