Thursday, June 23, 2005

Swimmer's Reward 

They say no stupid deed goes unrewarded, or something like that. I expect they probably tax the reward too.

My kids were overjoyed to hear that I was going to accompany them to the swimming pool. Ordinarily, I adhere to a strict "Dads Stay Dry" policy, one I've followed since even my pre-Dad days. But the kids have been begging me for the longest time to join them in the water. So finally, this time I agreed to take the plunge, thus earning myself yet another Stupid Deed Reward, by granting my kids their long-running paternal fish wish.

Now technically, the way I swim, I could probably have gotten away with this bad decision. That is, I could have stuck to my usual dog paddle, keeping my head -- and most importantly, my ears -- firmly above sea level at all times. But you know how it goes: first the kids want to go under water, and then they want you to go under too and watch them, and, well, what's a Dad to do?

So I heard their pleas, dove under the water, resurfaced, and heard nothing more. But not because their pleas had stopped. I just couldn't hear.

I tilted my head left, tilted it right, and gave it a series of well placed whacks, all of which failed to dislodge the water that had gotten into my inner ears and set up shop cancelling all incoming noise.

But Dads are flexible, and hearing each and every exact word out of my kids' mouths isn't strictly necessary, since I can usually get the idea just by watching their eyebrows move. So I left the water where it was and continued swimming, basking in my children's appreciation of my committment to their happiness.

Time came to go home and I still could not hear, but it was ok; I figured my ears would drain out eventually on their own. In the meantime, I let Sharon referee all the arguments, since I couldn't really hear them. Poor me.

Once home, as the hours passed, my hearing didn't recover, and my ear started to ache. You can only ignore that for so long, as the pain grows more intense, before taking action. I finally drove myself over to the Beit Shemesh "emergency room", Terem, to have them examine my Swimmer's Reward and prescribe a course of anti-biotic eardrops to save what was left of my hearing. I also imagined they'd want the name of the pool I'd swum in so they could shut it down and give a hazmat time a chance to destroy the teeming bacteria before letting anyone else back in.

Long story marginally less long: they didn't need to call out the hazmat team, and I hadn't contracted a dangerous ear infection. It was much simpler, and a bit more embarrassing than anything so dramatic. But at least I had an English-speaking nurse so I didn't suffer the further indignity of having to pantomime my way, charades style, around the fact that I didn't know the Hebrew word for ear wax.

It is nice to hear again though.
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