My friend Cliff told me this story the last time he and his delightful wife were out here.
Seems they had a 500 pound friend who came from a long line of East Coast fishermen.
So, Cliff and his wife, and this 500 pound fisherman descendant friend, are out on the
water in this brand new speedboat. The wife is stretched out on the foredeck, wind in her
hair, like some kind of commercial for a dream vacation in the Florida Keys; Cliff, who
weighs 200 plus, and the friend, who (once again) weighs 500 pounds are nicely,
judiciously distributed behind the wheel, when a rogue wave appears abeam. Cliff cranks
the wheel in order to cut through this wave and the wife, who is not the best swimmer to
ever tread water, is thrown into the bay. Cliff goes to that side of the boat to see how she’s
doing and is preparing quickly to dive in if she needs help.
The 500 pound friend rushes to the rail to see if HE can help too. With the sudden shift in
700 pounds of ballast the entire boat flops upside down, throwing both Cliff and his 500
pound friend into the water.
The 500 pound friend, despite his lengthy fisherman's heritage, can not swim a stroke.
He sinks like a stone.
Cliff checks first to see how his wife is doing, and she's doing pretty well—comparatively—
and making slow but steady progress toward shore. He then takes a deep breath and
dives, getting himself positioned underneath his 500 pound friend and, with all the strength
he can muster, drives him to the surface. Once there, it becomes clear that his friend is
unconscious or has simply decided to surrender to Fate…either way, he’s making no effort
to stay afloat and begins to sink again. Cliff looks to see that his wife is just about on shore
by now; so he takes a deep breath and dives again.
Once again he positions himself under his friend and, once again, with Herculean effort, he
drives him to the surface. The friend again begins to sink. Cliff again, takes a deep breath
and dives, and positions himself under his friend, and once again drives him to the surface.
It takes 40 minutes to do it, but, by this method, after diving repeatedly, Cliff somehow
manages to move his friend, 300 or 400 yards to shore. Then, with the help of his wife,
they drag this guy onto the beach.
The man is unconscious. Perhaps he’s not breathing. At any rate, they start slapping him
and screaming his name and doing whatever they can think of to bring him to
consciousness. There may have been some pounding on the chest, grunting, groaning,
regurgitation of copious quantities of water, that sort of thing... I forget the details.
When the man finally comes around—he’s understandably a bit groggy—he looks up at his
friends, and in a dreamy voice he says, “I almost drowned, but one of my ancestors
appeared and saved me.”
Cliff is still too exhausted from the ordeal to speak. But his wife isn’t.
“That wasn’t one of your ancestors, you big fat fool,” she says, “that was Cliff !”