Friday, March 30, 2012

On Becoming a New SuperHero

The YMCA where I swim is really good for my ego. Whereas I do wish that there were some super fast blokes that would challenge me in a set, I don't seem to mind being the fast guy in the pool. There are several advantages in being the fast guy.

For 1, no one wants to swim with me. I'll politely join a lane and start doing my set. Soon thereafter, I've got the whole thing to myself.

For 2, all right, there isn't a second advantage. Having a lane or a pool all to yourself isn't all it's cracked up to be. Humans are social creatures. Even though, for the most part, I suck at socializing, I'd still like to have the opportunity.

I think I've figured out why I get all of this open water space. It's not really that I'm the fast guy. That's a horrible label. I've morphed into a Superhero. I haven't gone on to create an alter ego yet (you know, except for 'The Banter'). Let me describe to you my powers in terms of other, pre-existing Superheros. 

As a creation of DC Comics, Aquaman is from the Lost City of Atlantis. He sports orange and green colors that seem to clash with any known sea creature in existence. He does have some interesting powers.

Like all superheros (myself included), he's really strong. But, this isn't the reason I identify with the underwater blond. It's his swimming ability that I mimic. He's, and to be technical here, pretty dang fast. We're just not sure how fast. Not many people have actually put a radar gun on his swimming to calculate his top water speed. Rumor has it that radar guns don't work well under water and scientists are having trouble adopting sonar to ping smaller, semi-organic objects. Plus, there's this on-going debate on whether we should use mph or knots. The whole argument is a mess. All agree on one fact, he's faster in the water that the average bloke.

Oh, and, for some reason, he can talk to fish.

Wolverine, on the other hand, is a Marvel Comic guy. Just like me, he's got an awesome hair cut. We differ in our opinion of our side burns.

We diverge on our ability to heal. He undergoes mitosis at an enormously fast rate, putting most bacteria to shame. This allows even major injuries to close themselves almost immediately. I, on the other hand, will take a couple of weeks off of training due to a blister. Hey, every superhero needs to have a weakness.

The most obvious connection between me and the Wolverine is the long nails. His claws are retractable, nearly invincible, and perched nicely on his hands. They make an amazingly efficient weapon.

I am neither Aquaman nor Wolverine, but an amalgamation of both. On the Aquaman side of my genetic mutation, I've got the super-human swimming ability as compared to my YMCA bretheren. (Aside: I'm pretty sure I have the power to talk to fish. I'm not sure that I want this power so I keep it repressed. I can't imagine that fish would be stimulating conversationalists nor can I quite figure out what I could say to them that they would find interesting. End Aside)

On the Wolverine, or masculine, contribution to my DNA, I've got the long nails. Except, mine are less useful. Sadly, they are my toenails. I first noticed this weapon the other day in the pool. I was happily swimming in my empty lane doing a set of 200s on 15 seconds rest. Back in the days when I was on the swim team, we'd have large volumes of yardage in kick sets. I don't think I've done one since. As a triathlete, I prefer to focus on my form and arms while reserving my legs for the rest of the afternoon. My legs are really just lumps of meat dragging behind me. I will occasionally use them in a race to shoot bubbles at some water monkey who feels the need to draft so close that he repeatedly touches my feet. Other than that, I try not to use them much.

As you swim, your body sways side to side as a natural consequence of your stroke. If the bottom of the pool is 0º and the side wall is 90º, I probably swing about 45-55º in my natural stroke. Some people suggest going the full 90º but I've found this horribly uncomfortable and inefficient.

As you swing from left to right, your legs are used as stabilizers to keep your knees, hips, and torso in line with your head. During one of these stabilizing motions, my feet happened to click together. That's when I noticed my wickedly long toe nails.

How did I notice? I cut my big toe. That's right, my big toe on my left foot crossed the plane of my right foot. The 2 objects only briefly collided. But, when your body has been soaking in luke warm bath water for the past 30 minutes, the skin gets soft, wrinkly, and pliable. The sharp piece of keratin took a nice little slice out of the area under my left biggie. It was more like a paper cut than anything else. And, just like a paper cut, it smarted big time. The cut is still there providing further evidence of my non-Wolverine-like healing powers.

As I look back on my own personal nail-cutting history, I don't think I've cut my claws in over 3 weeks. It's looking doubtful I'll do it in the near future as, since our recent move, I'm not exactly sure where to find the nail clippers. However, I do know where the hedge clippers are located. Should I let them go too much longer, this may be a viable option.

I now understand that my toes also give a probable reason why people don't want to swim with me. As it turns out, I may not have superpowers at all. I'm just a guy with questionable grooming habits. There goes my chance at joining the Justice League for sure. Just in case, I'm going to talk to some fish.

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