Saturday, March 7, 2009


Such a sweet smile

I used to love to scuba dive. Loved it enough that I decided to seek an occupation that would support my love it. Thus at 35, I went back to school with all intention of becoming a marine biologist.

I became a certified diver and went every chance I could. Before anyone with a boat could finish the sentence, "Would you want to-------?" I had on my mask and weight belt.
The weight belt is one of the reasons for this post. Roy Scheider, is the other.

When I took the scuba course for certification, it was October in Florida at a local country club pool. Not usually a frigid time of year but cool enough that swimming in an unheated pool at night was brutal. Often, I would be excused from the water exercises because I would become cyanotic (lips turned blue).

An embarrassing thing also happened besides blue lips. I have always been unusually buoyant. There was an exercise where you go to the bottom of the pool, take off all your gear leaving it on the bottom and rise to the surface. You were then supposed to dive to the bottom of the pool and put all the gear back on. One of the first things you put on was the weight belt which should help you to stay on the bottom to re gear. I was so buoyant that I could not stay down long enough to do the deed. I would scrap and pull down but invariably, my feet would break the surface like I was doing water ballet and I wouldn't be half geared up.

My super buoyancy got me another excused absence from an exercise. Up until then, my bouncing in the water like an inflatable raft had been fun and pretty much removed any fear of drowning. However for scuba diving, it was a real handicap. On my ocean dive for certification, I was given a big rock to carry around in addition to my weight belt. Why couldn't I be like every one else? Well I asked and was I sorry I did.

I asked my instructor why I floated so well and he gave me that same trapped look men get when you ask,"Does this make my butt - - - - - ?" It seems buoyant people have a high fat to muscle ratio. Even though I was athletic and appeared fit, there were lots of fat cells lurking in my body. Uncool thing to learn about your self. I eventually compensated by putting so much weight on my belt that it was hard to walk out of water.

So into the blue depths I happily went. I quit my job of ten years and enrolled in school to see if I couldn't make diving part of my living as a marine biologist. In my sophomore year, Roy Scheider came into my life. I know Jaws was a mechanical being, I know my chances were greater for a lightning strike, and no I never did see a shark while diving. Still ,Jaws scared me right out of the water. It was the scene where the woman is swimming by her self at night. Duh, I had also done that many times at beach parties and thought it was so cool. She feels a hard bump, reaches down and can't find her leg. Still gives me goose bumps. Told you I was a wuss.

Since my diving days were over, so were my college days. I do regret the irrational fear but don't regret going back to school. Wish I had finished but my incentive was gone and I became a drop out taking up "playing" full time. By then I was pretty burned out working full time, going to school full time and playing only a wee bit.

Did something innocuous as a movie or an irrational fear ever make you change a life direction?


  1. No, but if I had been in your shoes at the time, Jaws might have done it.

    I'm super buoyant too, and so was my dad (who was 6'4" and weighed no more than 165 his entire life) - so there goes the fat theory....LOL

    I have never been able to get to the bottom of a pool, except in the shallow area, and that includes when I was 5'10" and 118lbs. Now I can barely get my head under enough to snorkle!

  2. Kenju
    Good to know another super floater. I guess weight has nothing to do with it, supposidly just the ratio. I was also thin at the time. I got mine from my mother who could sit in the water like she was in a chair. I prefer to think we are uniquely talented.

  3. You certainly have had quite an adventurous life. I'm not much of a water explorer. I am a strictly terra firma gal. Give me plenty of woods and meadows to walk in, and I'm happy. It's a good thing no one made a film about a menacing mountain lion eating hikers.

  4. Gee Robin, don't let that idea for a movie about the mountain lion get around. I need some place I can still go. I try not to think about bears when I walk in the National Forest here. Especially this time of year when they are cranky and hungry.

  5. Patti, you have such a great sense of humor! I would have loved to have seen your instructor squirm when you asked about your exceptional buoyancy (of course I would have been standing right beside you wondering the same thing).
    Just reading the da dum evokes the music in my head and sends chills down my spine. I wonder how many other marine biologists changed their career choice that year.
    I attribute my fear of heights from watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and my fear of flying from all those darn 70’s Airplane disaster movies. Have you heard of the movie called The Legend of Boggy Creek? It is about a hairy monster that terrorizes rural Arkansas – I guess we both best avoid watching that one.
    Thank you for your email. Did you receive my replies?

  6. Movies can inspire. I need to take some time to see one, they are also relaxing. I could use a little of both. And yes, Jaws kept me out of the ocean for our entire vacation about 30 years ago.

  7. Jewels
    Can also relate to heights and planes. Pretty sure I will avoid The Legend of Boggy Creek. I have to at least be able to leave the house. Got your email thanks, will answer soon.

    Glad to know I wasn't the only one to be impressed out of the water with Jaws. If it weren't for Netflix I would never see a movie. It is an hour drive to the nearest theater though we do have one of the few remaining drive-in-theaters for summer viewing. Cool.