And That's Why We Don't Hang on to People in the Water!

I was swimming in "my" lake about an hour ago. Given the heat, there were a fair number of other people in the lake, at least for a week day in June. Near me was a father surrounded by three kids. As I slowly inched my way deeper into the frigid water, he began yelling at them:

"Don't hang on to people in the water! That's how people drown!"

I was sorely puzzled. Having been a lifeguard for five or six years, I know that it is true that drowning people can easily drown others by desperately clinging to them. But these were just kids horsing around. That's how people drown? If it's a big problem, I had never heard about it -- and like I said, I used to be a pro.

As those thoughts were running through my head, the father yelled again, this time in panic, and shot past me. I spun around. Not ten feet from where he had been delivering his lecture to these three older children, his younger daughter (whom no one had been holding on to) was, in fact, drowning. The dad and a lifeguard reached her at the same moment and pulled her head up out of the water. She was fine, if quite scared.

The man turned to his other kids and said, "See! That's why you don't hold on to people in the water!"

Hmm. The lesson I would have taken from the incident was, "See! That's why you don't stop paying attention to your kid who can't swim to give fallacious lectures about mythical problems to the ones who can!" But maybe that's just me.


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