Dear Best Friends Forever,
It’s been a while since my last post. That’s because I’ve been considering a career change and don’t have time to write. We’re having some layoffs here at the Free Press, so I’ve been honing my streetwalking skills in case I need them when I get my pink slip. I figure I’ll start small- just a few tricks here and there to pay the bills- and then I’ll branch out. I plan on being a high-powered madame by year’s end. And if we have a newspaper by then, my former colleagues can write all about my debauchery.
But until then, I’ve still got to mash the keyboard and come up with a story or two. Yesterday I wrote about Nazis gassing gays. Cheery. Today I’m writing about a dude who saved a kid from drowning in the lake. Well, I plan on writing that story if I don’t fall asleep at my desk.
I woke up extra early today to make this assignment scheduled for the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. Who gets to work that early! Ridiculous. Thankfully, that assignment was only just across the street from BFP HQ at the firehouse on S. Winooski. I ambled over to the station, still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and then walked around the fire trucks aimlessly until I found where I needed to go.
The Burlington Fire Dept. was honoring a fellow named Andrew Richardson for saving a kid who was drowning in 20 feet of water in Lake Champlain. Blah, blah. Who hasn’t saved a kid from drowning? I mean, I’ve done it for god’s sake. Why, what a perfect segue for me to tell my own tale of heroinism at sea.
During my college years, I worked at a nerd camp on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The kids were fifth and sixth grade geniuses who scored better on their SATs at age 10 than I did when I took them at age 17. And I’m nearly a genius. One of the classes at nerd camp was Bay Ecology where the kids learned how to not freak out when sand got in their water shoes. On one particularly gloomy day, I accompanied the Bay Ecology class on a field trip to a little cove. While they examined the turbidity of the water and seined for sea creatures, I sat on the rocks smoking doobies and staring at my navel. Only joking.
After the tiny humans finished their nerd work, they were allowed to frolic in the water for a bit before heading back on the bus. Within a nanosecond of them getting in the water to splash around, a storm rolled in, forcing them all to head for shore. One little anklebiter, who we’ll call Taudrey to protect her privacy, was too busy examining the seaweed (or smoking weed. Who knows?) to hear the instructors call her out of the water.
Before she knew it, Taudrey had been swept out to sea and she could no longer stand. Her pipsqueak frame was no match for the tide and she started to panic just a bit. But Taudrey was a pretty chill kid, so her panicking sounded like, “Um, guys I think I need a little help over here.” Never fear Taudrey, Lauren is here! Despite this ripping undertow that is practically pulling my bathing suit off, I will save you.
I swam out to where she was, which was so deep I couldn’t stand myself, and grabbed her the way I had seen David Hasselhoff as Mitch Buchanan do in Baywatch. Let me tell you, it was hard as H-E-double hockey sticks to pull that child to shore. I really did think I was going to have to let her go and save myself. But I managed, with Herculean effort, to haul her up onto the closest landmass, an outcropping of rocks that were as slimey as John Edwards cheating on his cancer-addled wife.
After being deposited on the rocks, Taudrey scampered over to the bus where her fellow nerdlings were waiting. I’m not sure she realized that she nearly drowned. Since I’m nearly a genius, I know that geniuses aren’t known for their common sense and logic. As Taudrey dried off and organized herself on the bus, I was still clawing at the rocks, trying to pull my 450-lb.body out of the water. Not easy.
I lay there on the rocks for a while. I think I was in shock. In shock over the fact that no one seemed to see my amazing rescue. How could a busload of kids and their adult handlers have missed the fact that I just saved a human life from almost certain death? Where was the adulation? Where were the tears? Where was the plaque with my name engraved next to the word “HERO?” I vowed that day that I would never save another life unless I am recognized for my efforts.
Andrew Richardson gets a plaque and he gets an article written by me about him getting said plaque and what do I get? The satisfaction of knowing that Taudrey alive and well and is now a math major at Bowdoin who is on the sailing team and is spending the summer making copies and filing documents at a law firm on Long Island? Methinks that’s not enough.