Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group gives bloggers a monthly chance to express their concerns, worries, and insecurities without fear of reprisal. It's a seriously big group now, and with well over 300 participants, it shows no signs of slowing down! I'd like to thank Alex for keeping this group going for so long, as it has proved wonderful in supporting fellow authors and the revealing of sound advice.
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Each year, we buckle the kids in the van and drive back east to visit family. It's been the annual summer getaway ever since my wife and I went all googly-eyes for each other. There's this magic about the open road; the change of scenery perhaps, or the subtle changes in the way people are farther down the road. It's also an opportunity to be somewhere, and be needed, when the unexpected happens.
Before I went to college, I knew I'd need a job when I got there. Got to pay the tuition and all that biz. Being a California kid, Lifeguarding was a natural fit. So I trained in the art of "saving distressed people in the water." Luckily I was hired and I was able to pay the bills for the next three years. In all that time, I never jumped in to save anyone. Not because I didn't want to. I just didn't need to. After I changed jobs, I was all, "I'm a trained, certified, life-saving machine." Going Superman to save a kid or rescuing a passed-out potential Lois Lane after an accidental high-dive belly flop - never happened.
I sat in my new office thinking, "I never did what I trained for."
Fast forward to last summer. We caravaned back to Utah with my sis and her fam, and stayed at a Best Western -- which had a pool. No lifeguard on duty, lots of people, and a son and two nephews who wanted to play Cannonball! So we're having a good time splashing when I turn slightly and see this kid with his head under water, his arms spread out like a 747. That's when the clerks inside my memory bank pulled up a file and told me, "that kid's drowning!" If I hadn't trained in recognizing the signs of a drowning victim, I would've pointed at the kid and been like, "Does this belong to anyone?" but I turned my arm into a hook and yoinked that kid out of the water instead. A very grateful grandmother came for him shortly after.
While I technically wasn't a lifeguard anymore, and was six years since my last certification, I saw the signs and was Superman for a minute. Or was I Aquaman, since I was already in the water?
The point is, we learn stuff. We may think it's useless afterwards, but you never know when that knowledge will be needed. It may forever help someone else or even save a life -- farther down the road. So the short moral of this story is: keep learning - you might need it.
Ever been at a place at the right time to help? What have you done that you never thought you would? Who's up for hot tubbing?
I'm David, and I'm in the mood for salmon for some reason ...