High Diver

Stories - Just For Fun - Dr. Studly

There I was, eighteen, more fish than human, built like the German Austrian tanks of my heritage, and in the job of my dreams overlooking a large pool and sundeck filled with beautiful young coeds, a kiddie pool and a diving pool with two low boards, a high board and a diving platform. Getting there was not easy, but something that could hardly be called work. From Midwestern farm work ethic stock, my parents stretched hard to build an in-ground pool into their California retirement home. Neither could really swim, so they wanted to ensure their brood of my four much younger siblings and I were fish. It proved a real pain for me becoming parent appointed lifeguard for the whole neighborhood, plus having to take care of that pool with chemicals, daily brushing, vacuuming, and maintenance. My siblings and I developed gills with webbed fingers and toes from living in the water every spare minute from March through October. My shoulders and chest grew along with my water skills enough that in our little high school I ended up getting on the swim team and swam some pretty good races rarely placing outside of the top few finishers. Frankly, my home life was so troubled I moved out while still in high school and supported myself working as a carpenter. The carpenter work paid well but our country and the small university town where I lived went into a bad recession killing construction jobs, so I did whatever it took to earn a living. I had lots of emergency training as both a Boy Scout and military brat who lived overseas, so earned my medical technician certificate to work on an ambulance. We had few emergencies and were allowed to study or sleep on the job. That let me take summer school at the university and have time for an afternoon job. While swimming I had earned my Water Safety Instructor (WSI) needed to be a lifeguard. Our university pool preferred to hire locally and the head lifeguard who did the hiring was a female classmate I had saved from a bad situation years ago. We had been friends ever since. Also, all my home pool work taught me how to keep the pool water safe. When an opening came up as a lifeguard, I took the written and swimming test that was easy for me, plus being a certified med tech and knowing how to test the water and put in chemicals assured I got that job so many others wanted. Right after I started, I was not nearly as happy about that job as an idiot kid dove from the high board and smacked his head really hard on the low. I oversaw the diving pool, but there was nothing I could do to prevent this as the kid simply turned and jumped off the side. It was a good thing I had my medical training as I brought him out of the water unconscious with a broken neck. The doctors later said my keeping him stabilized saved him from being paralyzed. Aside from a few spectacular disasters and constantly herding kids, being a lifeguard in a university family pool gives way too much time for contemplation and wandering thoughts. Those wandering thoughts have become a lifelong habit, as this story is not about my getting to sit up tall and look handsome watching the beauties, but instead about one of my most memorable rescues.

As always on a hot day the pool was filled to near capacity with lots of kids from the university families who dodged around all the female students doing their sunbathing. This was a time well before skin cancer was a consideration. Sun block was a little zinc oxide spread on our noses to keep them from burning and peeling. My light brown hair stayed a real sun-bleached blonde with my skin always a deep brown copper. Each pool had its own lifeguard and the head lifeguard sat in a tower between the three pools and watched everything, sent a roving lifeguard to troubled areas, and made sure each of us got a break every hour. Able to do a little magic up to a pretty good triple from the high board, I earned the honored and more difficult position as the lifeguard who oversaw our diving pool. The diving pool had two short and one high springboards, plus a high diving platform. Although I could dive from that platform, I did not care for it at all because hitting water from that high is kind of like diving into concrete and not much more forgiving for any error. Regardless and far more important, my tower also oversaw the sunbathers who lived on the considerable sunny deck area around the deep diving pool.

That job gave me a chance to see some of the most interesting and perhaps refined of the different human mating rituals. Unlike our normal world where guys tend to dress quietly and the gals show their plumage, the opposite was the case in the pool. Each young lady wore something more or less revealing depending upon shyness. In any case there was hardly enough material for the girls to show much in the way of color or variation in their suits. All of the prettiest, or perhaps cattiest stretched out on loungers in "bikini-row" each wearing near identical bikinis so small they more uncovered than covered. These cutie cats never had an undone nail, hair out of place, and if they got wet, it was only to below their hair. These gals expertly looked beautiful and disinterested while quietly communicating to every guy their alluring desirability and yet rarely singling out anyone. By comparison, the guy parade in front of "bikini row" proved unrefined and all but coarse. The guy parade broke into a few clear groups with most being muscle bound jocks who wore their undersized dark colored Speedo jockey suits that left little to nothing to the imagination. The other groups included the surfer crowd, the hippies, and the nerds. The surfers had long hair and wore baggy shorts with knee length often wildly printed suits that tied the cords outside like my lifeguard shorts. The hippy group invariably had longer hair, often in pony tails and wore cut-off button down Levi brand jeans. I once tried swimming in Levi shorts and they were miserable, explaining why these were often the worst swimmers in the pool. The nerds of course wore typical bathing suit shorts pulled high up on their tummies with tightly tied cords, white linings, and pockets often left hanging out.

We had an ongoing riot of males in full color and diversity often misbehaving and showing off as they constantly paraded in front of "bikini-row" supposedly going to the diving boards. With a wide mix of kids and experience, our safety rules required all had to get lifeguard permission before using either the high board or platform so each would be watched. Giving permission to use the high board and platform proved kind of interesting for the head lifeguard and me who oversaw the diving pool. Our head lifeguard and I became close friends in high school and she was the one who convinced me to apply for that summer job. We both were enigmas who fell strangely between academic, jock, surfer, hippie, and nerd. We were both in the most accelerated classes. I earned varsity letters in seven different sports in high school and she was the one girl who could out swim most of our swim team, beat most of our tennis team players, and out snow ski everyone. She was also a goddess on the diving boards. My tennis team in college made and won the nationals while she went on to serve as an alternate on the Olympic ski team. We both also earned full academic scholarships and were pretty much inseparable as friends from the time we first met. Strangely, we never were lovers with my liking her best friends and her liking mine. I was always too conservative and her too liberal to ever be more than good friends. Regardless, we found ourselves constantly in each other's company for many years and grew to share at a level pretty rare in younger adults. Our towers were right next to each other so we could easily talk without being overheard. We enjoyed sharing and pointing out to each other the more unusual mating rituals around the diving pool.

Our head lifeguard ruled that pool totally. She was in charge and nobody doubted that for a second. She also reigned as undisputed queen of "bikini row" without ever once having occupied one of the lounge chairs. She consistently turned all heads since she was fourteen and at eighteen had long since grown "beyond" flaunting herself. Her poise, grace, naturalness, long hair, beautiful face, bright green eyes, and body that rated as a solid twelve on a scale that only went to ten left it impossible for her to not draw attention any time she moved. She clearly went from the most desired girl in high school to the most beautiful young woman at the college pool. Although stunningly beautiful, she also had very well to do parents. Her upbringing gave her lots of authority and grace. She also moved with the grace and beauty possible only in the most aware finely tuned athletes. Calling her walking simple was like calling the most beautiful sunset pretty. Her physical skills made the impossible look easy without so much as mussing a hair. Only once in a very rare while a female would break into the parade of male divers. Doing so often brought every eye wide-awake and carefully watched. As with the ski slopes, my life guard friend proved utterly unequaled on the diving board. She began each of her hourly breaks on the hottest days with a "cool off" dive from either the high board or platform. I know most on "bikini row" looked upon her sitting regally in her raised lifeguard chair with pure envy. When ready for her "cool off" dive, she heated up my whole end of the diving pool with the guys going red with true lust and the gals going redder with envy. She simply went up to the board she wanted, had the lines magically open for her and then did her dive. Once in a while she would go up on the platform, but she preferred the high spring board because she liked to spring up high, spin, turn and flip all but flying through the air with such grace nobody failed to stare with a total confusion of feelings. I asked where she learned that magic and she shared that as an alternate for the Olympic team there were a few swimmers and divers who were also snow skiers, so she practiced with them and got some really good coaching who wanted her to shift from downhill racing to diving. When wet from her dive she did another piece of magic. She shook her head and her perfect wet long straight surfer girl hair went back to perfection then somehow dried straight and perfect. To ask if any red-blooded guy ever asked me for permission to go off the high board or platform when she was there would be utterly stupid. So many guys destroyed themselves wanting to just talk to her getting permission to go off the high board and platform, that she began making each first prove their abilities first off lower boards. As my friend, I knew she also hid behind that beauty and grace, a brilliant mind and student of people.

While working closely together that summer we grew quite a rapport, often discussing not only the diving, but all the underlying mating rituals that went on in the constant parade to the boards. Most went to just the low boards, but an occasional jumper got permission and went to the high board or even more rarely to the platform. Strangely, the parade of guys in competition proved far from one sided in favor of the jocks. Almost all were California raised boys who lived and grew up in or near the water, so many of the surfers, nerds, and even hippies had physiques and diving skills that more than held their own against the jocks.

During one of our talks, I mentioned that "bikini row" was strategically placed to get all the most sun while giving the best view without getting splashed by any of the four diving boards and the constant parade of males going to those boards. She agreed with my identification of "bikini-row" as mostly a watching area, but she said I was dead wrong in thinking its placement provided the best sun and view without getting splashed. She pointed out at least four areas with better sun and at least two areas with actually a better view of the divers. She said the placement of "bikini row" was all about a much more subtle game. To prove her point we repeatedly moved all those lounge chairs all over the pool area including the areas with better sun and viewing, but within minutes of opening the pool those chairs all magically ended up exactly back in the same place and covered by all the prettiest girls. She pointed out that these girls staked out those loungers at just the right place that they almost never got splashed while letting them lie on their tummies with untied mini bikini tops to avoid that terribly embarrassing tan line, and still see the constant parade to the diving boards. What she next shared gave me insight into our female counterparts showing depth and deviousness that still leaves me stunned. She said I also correctly assumed these girls were expert flirts, but I had no clue as to the real reason for this exact placement. She said the precise location and movement of this row would make our physics professors proud because this row always went in just the right place to best play the game. She explained no "good girl" wants to be caught indecently exposing herself, but many secretly wish to do just that in such a way that it all appears an innocent accident. It was totally irrelevant that this whole row of cuties paraded themselves daily in bikinis that left more uncovered than covered because what they wore fit within our then agreed upon definition of decent. Each lounge chair stayed just exactly far enough back that no normal kid or would be suitors could splash them with their "cannon ball" dives. This strategic placement required an exceptionally large and talented diver with just the right light breeze to explode a spray that could reach that royal row. When such a spray arrived, it was ice cold from our having to constantly refill that diving pool from all the almost big enough splashes. The perfect splashing dive rewarded all but the diver with many loud squeals, lots of girls popping up pretending to be startled, then wildly grabbing for lost tops, and a good time by all. Magically, any success instantly retreated all the loungers in "bikini-row" just enough so a second success in the same day became near impossible. Of course, the next day those chairs all migrated back magically to just the right place they were in the day before when mostly the same occupants got splashed.

The constant parade of men from pre puberty to canes in front of "bikini row" proved amazing to watch after being a little more enlightened. There were a few who just were having fun and a few more who were actual divers, but most of the male students tended to be pretty shy and terribly self-conscious, yet wanted to see and be near all those cuties. Perhaps most fun to watch were the older guys who like me now have their chests slipping down around their waists, much of the top hair either severely thinned, or altogether gone, and the hormones that keep telling the rapidly aging body that it is still twenty-one. I admit there were a few of the older guys who most likely gloried in their successes with these young women. They lived in the gym and on the track working hard to combat the ravages of time.

One of these fellows often proved a hot topic of conversation. In spite of his doctorate, his stupidity proved only exceeded by his vanity and arrogance. Yes, he was one of those that wore a super tight tiny Speedo that showed everything, which was probably nothing more than padding as he never changed in the pool locker area. But that is another story. Meanwhile, no young lady from fifteen on escaped his notice and generally unwanted attentions. He pretended to be the best of the best that had to chase the young ladies away, while in reality none gave him the time of day. He was known as a cold fish so pompous and arrogant, that none could stand him being around. After a bad accident a year before pool rules required lifeguard permission before using the high board and platform, he reluctantly condescended to speak with my partner and was only able to show her enough skill that she allowed use of the high board, but never the platform. Each day he would look up in askance if he could use the platform to let him properly show off his beauty and skill. All summer long she lightly shook her head no, so he instead strutted as though in front of mirrors to use the high board. We got to see his rituals including carefully slipping off his flip-flops and setting them by "his" throne chair with his towel. In his mind he represented the best of the best. His carefully defined muscles on muscles, washboard abs, and strong arms left him grievously out of proportion, but clearly better than any Greek god or the other mere mortals there. In reality, most college athletes, the surfer dudes and even the hippies had much better bodies. All summer long he consistently showed up every afternoon to strut his stuff and do his three dives he so painstakingly learned. We often giggled making up a name for him calling him in private Doctor Studley, and in public Dr. S, often with a short whistle blast warning the other to keep an eye out as Dr. S was going to dive. Turned out his last name did begin with an S so he thought we were honoring him. Instead of embarrassment, he of course regaled in the attention and announcement of each upcoming debut, especially if my beautiful friend called attention to him. Dr. Studley believed his suave and debonair self was unmatched.

Anyhow, all this leads to one of my most difficult rescues. One afternoon after trying most of the summer, Dr. Studley finally got my partner's nod yes to allow him to use the platform. She gave me a short whistle tweet warning me to be ready. He did his grand strut all the way up the long climb to the top of the platform tower. Oblivious to the entire world, or at least hoping all were watching, he focused meditating heavily balanced on the very edge of that platform. For me time stopped as I watched his less than four second fall. A strong shove and he launched gracefully into dive number two of his extensive repertoire of three dives. His complex dive jerked from a swan dive into a jackknife position where he over rotated and began spinning out of control making violent moves to try and recover. In spite of his belief all were watching and glorying in his magnificence, in reality, other than the two of us serving as lifeguards, only the three of us would have known anything had gone wrong except he let out a loud panicked scream. I saw him over correct, mumbled to myself "uh oh" then saw something tiny fly loose. I saw him making every effort to not catch his dignity, but instead to try and catch something else. His cries caused all of "bikini row" to turn in unison to watch this screaming flailing fellow plummet down. While falling he continued to scream and struggle madly thrashing as though he was swimming hard in the air to try and catch something then he slammed smashing the water hard. He hit really hard totally knocking his air out, knocking him out and leaving him sinking limp in the pool.

Lips throughout the pool turned up into grins then explosive laughter as he we realized he was not trying to catch his dignity or a loose swim suit but instead to catch his large toupee. His violent correction separated that wig from his head showing reflections of the sun glistening from a near totally bald head. In spite of laughing so hard I could hardly breathe, I exercised unbelievable control to leap from my lifeguard stand and save him from drowning. When I got to him, he had regained consciousness and fought me until he could grab his toupee. When I finally pulled him to the side, the crowd burst out in applause. He turned a much deeper shade of pure crimson. As soon as able he threw off my help, burst through the growing crowd, and ran through the men's dressing area and away from the pool. My friend had joined me and she thanked me for saving him saying she was laughing so hard she could not possibly swim to save him. Through the chain fence we could see him still going a block way. Although I never expected to see him at the pool again, within a few weeks he was back, strutting as though nothing happened, and back to his same old antics getting permission to use the high board. Strangely, I heard he had since discovered "super glue" so his hair never came off again. I've always wondered how that affected the skin on his scalp. He also never asked nor got permission to go off the platform again. Anyhow, ever since my mind will occasionally play a slow-motion video of his fall with screams and antics. That always brings a smile to my lips.