Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

A Boy, a Swimming Pool, and the Laws of Universe

My brother Doug writes about his afternoon with my four-year-old grandson:

When Ethan and I walked outside, we had no specific plans. We knew only that the sun was shining, the spring birds were singing. It was warm and we were going to explore the backyard. There were so many possibilities. But once he saw the hose happily gurgling water into the pool, I knew immediately what the next 15 minutes would hold.

How did I know? My mind rewound 20 years. Each of my sons had done the same thing Ethan was about to do.

Many things in life produce a slippery slope. One of them is a flowing hose near a swimming pool.

Here is the order of events. Mark them down because this sequence follows one of the hidden Laws of the Universe.

Ethan picks up the hose and starts watering. I warn him that the swimming pool is closed today. It is very cold and dangerous. Ethan shrugs and moves away from the pool to water the yard. I suggest he remove his shoes so that they don’t get wet. Then he asks to remove his pants, shirt and underwear so that he can be naked. Now Ethan is careening around the yard, hose in tow, spraying everything… plants, Uncle Doug, sidewalks, Molly the dog. He finds a stash of tennis balls, drops the hose and throws them into the pool. Molly jumps in to fetch them. Ethan now is at the edge of the pool reaching down and outward, retrieving each ball so that he can throw them again into the pool.

It is at this point that I recognize the inevitable. Stoically and with quiet resolve, I remove my wallet, cellphone, and keys from my pockets and place them safely on the dry diving board. I know the Law. I can predict the future. I am going in the pool. There is no doubt that my destiny is to go into the pool. I cannot stop Fate’s march.

Sure enough. Ethan leans forward to scoop up a ball. It is just out of reach and Kerplop! he does a header into the deep end. His cute little naked body is speedily swallowed by the icy backyard pool. Just as quickly, Uncle Doug’s arm grabs Ethan’s and pulls him to the surface.

Ethan shudders, “I fell in, Uncle Doug.”

Uncle Doug replies, “I know.”

“It’s very cold, Uncle Doug.” Ethan’s eyes are wide and unfocused. His tiny testicles are racing from his shrinking scrotum up into his abdomen.

“Would you like to get out now?” Uncle Doug queries.

“Oh, yes!” Ethan manages.

A warm towel and a life lesson. Then we had some little hot dogs and cowboy beans for lunch.

4 Comments

  1. tudrus zluchin says:

    OI!

  2. Ethan's Mommy says:

    An important lesson, for sure. It’s a good thing the boy can swim!

  3. A cousin says:

    I can’t lie, I teared up with joy and amazement. This kid has such an amazing outlook on life. I could take some lessons from him… and Uncle Doug, too.

  4. Lois says:

    Every adult with a son and a backyard pool has been there, done this. Yup, definitely one of the Laws of the Universe of Boyhood. How wise of you to remove wallet and cell phone. 🙂

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared.