Some people get injured in serious ways. Sometimes it's out of their control, and sometimes it is because of something stupid they were doing. Not me.
No, I have Will Schuster injuries.
A Will Schuster injury is when you do something really stupid, think you're going to die, and then end up without so much as a bruise, and people either don't believe you or think you're a wuss.
Recently, my friend was punching me because of a conversation we had months ago, in which I told her, a very talented boxer, that I'd fight her for her own amusement. I avoided the "confrontation" for months, until I finally couldn't anymore, and told her to please just stay away from my face, since it's very, very handsome. To her credit, she listened. I appreciated it.
The end result was that she bruised my ribs up a bit, and it hurt. Woe is me. Problem was, the bruises weren't visible, so she took no pity on me, nor did anyone else.
This is a Will Schuster Injury.
But the story I am going to tell is a Will Schuster Moment. A Will Schuster Moment is when I'm not injured, but due to some stupid choice I made, I almost died. The zipline story is one of those.
My friends and I decided to go to Presque Isle to enjoy the last warm day I would experience as an Erie resident. We slacklined for a bit, which is sort of like walking a tightrope, only you're supposed to vault off it and do flips or something.
As it turns out, I'm not very aerodynamic.
There's an old saying I love, which is that "a bumblebee's body is too large for its wings to support it. But the bumblebee does not know this, so it flies anyways". I'm like the bumblebee, except I know that I cannot fly, yet I try anyways.
Relaxing on the vacated lifeguard's chair after my retirement, my friends John and Whitney decided to go into the freezing water and swim to the rocks, which had "keep off" painted ominously on them. I decided to join my much-fitter friends in their quest for the rocks, like a backwards Christopher Columbus, and headed away from land, joined by the incomparable Jake Sturm.
The water was treacherous, my friends. Not only this, but it was cold. Too cold. I was worried I might never see certain parts of my body again. But I soldiered on, because I had to make it to those rocks.
Now, you know when you see a tall building and think "meh, that isn't THAT tall," but then you get to the top and scream "OH MY GOD, I NEED TO GO DOWN IMMEDIATELY"? Just me? Well, the rocks were similar. From the beach, they were close. In the water, they might as well have been New Zealand.
For the first bit of the journey, I was able to walk, but eventually, it got too deep, and I had to freestyle swim my way to these rocks. About 3/4 of the way there, my asthma started catching up with me. I had to make it to these rocks, though, because I couldn't turn back. If I did, I certainly wouldn't make it back to the shore.
So I'm kicking. And paddling. And kicking. And drowning. And paddling. And drowning some more.
My life flashed before my eyes. 22 years. Family, friends, things I never got to accomplish. All of it, gone. I was going to drown in Lake Erie, arguably the lamest of the Great Lakes to die in.
I raised my arms up to signal to my friends that I was about to drown.
As it turned out, the bottom of the lake curved back up, and was only about 5 feet deep. All I had to do was stand up.
These are the sorts of things that only happen to me. Don't be a Will Schuster, and don't let your friends be a Will Schuster.
Because they might almost drown in shallow water.