There’s a moral to this story: Better a crab than an ass.

22 Jul

It’s been hotter than a warlock’s balls this week, and the forecast tells us Saturday will be even worse: 103 without the heat index (120 with it!). Know what that means? I’ll spend a fair portion of the weekend standing in Alan’s pool, reading a book.

Yes, you heard me right. I’ll be standing in the water reading a book. Kind of like how hippos stay in the water with only their eyes and nostrils out when it’s really hot.

The thing is, I’m not the only person that does this. MULTIPLE people who live in Alan’s community do the same thing — in fact, I learned this trick from them. Somehow, it has become “normal” to me in the past year, and I didn’t think anything of it, until Margaret came out the other weekend. (Remember Margaret? The Red Baron?)

We were sitting on our chaise lounges chatting when she slowly lowered her sunglasses and stared at the pool. “What is going on?” she asked. She nodded toward the people standing in the shallow end, holding books and magazines above the water line.

I tried to explain, but then she singled out on person in particular. “HIM,” she gestured. A middle-aged (by which I mean MY age) guy was standing there reading Cooking Light while his wife swam laps behind him.

We exchanged a glance that meant, “Very bold to read Cooking Light in public, especially when you’re standing in the shallow end getting your ass kicked athletically by your wife.” At least, I thought that’s what the look meant, until Margaret started laughing.

I looked at her for an explanation, and she tucked her hands in her armpits and started circling her elbows, kind of like a chicken doing the windmill.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

"What? Why are you looking at my LEFT claw?"

She nodded toward the pool. And that’s when I focused in on the woman swimming laps. I use the word “swimming” loosely. She was attempting to swim freestyle, but with very prissy, short, lopsided strokes. Her left arm almost made a normal stroke, but then her right arm would do a little half-baked number, as if she had imbalanced crab claws.

It was fascinating. “How is she not going in circles?” I whispered to Margaret.

Eventually we became distracted by something else and changed the topic, so we were a bit slow to realize what was happening in the pool. The woman had finished her laps; her husband had put down his Cooking Light. He was now conducting a swim lesson, specifically working with her to elongate her stroke.

“Oh my gosh,” Margaret whispered. “Do you think he saw me making fun of her stroke?”

“Hmmm, let me think about that,” I told her. “He’s been standing with his back to her and spontaneously decided he needs to coach her stroke? I’m going out on a limb with YES.”

So the lesson here is this: someone might look ridiculous swimming with a crab stroke, but let them. It’s far preferable to looking like a jerk for pointing it out.

And also? This weekend, as an act of contrition, I’ll stand in the shallow end with my book held high. I think I’ve found the perfect read:

9 Responses to “There’s a moral to this story: Better a crab than an ass.”

  1. Hoyt July 22, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    What’s up the new fancy shmancy format? Shur iz purdy!

    • pithypants July 22, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      Just trying to keep it classy for you, Hoyt.

  2. bonnie July 22, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Any chance she is recovering from a stroke and he is doing physical therapy with her as opposed to coaching her stroke?

    • bonnie July 22, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      Just realized how odd that sentence sounds with two totally different meanings to the word “stroke”.

      • pithypants July 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

        Not to be confused with a stroke of luck? Or a stroke of genius.

  3. Kim Pugliano July 22, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Awkward! You will TOTALLY redeem yourself with that book. Act like it’s not a big deal. Be very serious when you read it; maybe wear big round glasses with a chain attached to them around your neck. Be sure to turn in circles so everyone gets a see at the book. Oooooh, and wear a bathing cap!

    Let me know how it turns out for you.

    • pithypants July 22, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      Excellent suggestions! Maybe I’ll try a monocle for full effect.

  4. Tattoos, love and lunacy... July 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    This is so funny because that’s what I do (like a hippo lol)! I thought I was the only one. I only work til 1:30 in the summer so by 2:00 I’m in the shallow end, nose in book!

    • pithypants July 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

      You are welcome at Alan’s pool. As long as you don’t mind my mocking your swim style…

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