This idea is as old as the hills and drowned children. Time comes you need to learn how to swim, and Pa just doesn't have the patience to stand in the shallow end while you don water wings and try your best breast stroke. So instead you get in the boat, head out to the middle of Lake Weepaneglectakid, and get tossed like an Oreo-encrusted anchor into the balmy 38-degree water.
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"Daddy, why is it called Piranha Lake?"
"Oh ... no reason."
The logic behind this method of teaching is sound, in the way that it's sound logic to shoot your front door before opening it just in case someone who deserves it is on the other side. Maybe you'll achieve your goal, but maybe you're just going to murder a child. You won't really know until it either happens or doesn't.
It was my uncle who thought this would be an awesome method for teaching me how to swim -- when I was seven, and already fully aware of how to swim. When he simply hurled me from a boat into Lake Champlain and told me to swim back to shore if I wanted to have dinner that night, it really just taught me to never go boating with my uncle, more than anything. But say I didn't know how to swim. Or maybe say I was a particularly panicky seven-year-old who, when thrown into a lake by a trusted relative moments before that relative leaves in a boat when you're a solid 30-minute swim from shore, was apt to have a panic attack. Then this could have been bad. Basically, my options really were to drown or not. And thanks to six weeks at the community pool with instructions from a 15-year-old girl who I thought I was in love with, I was able to save my own life and set the foundations for a hatred of my uncle that has lasted my whole life.
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"Must ... reach ... shore. Must ... get ... revenge."
This idea is so a part of our society that the saying "sink or swim" can be traced all the way back to Geoffrey Chaucer, whom you may recall helped the Joker win the Nike tournament in that one movie way back when. Of course, back then the saying may have had something to do with the drowning of witches, but it shows where our heads are at and have been at as a species for generations when it comes to swimming. You either learn that shit or crabs will eat you. Ain't nobody got time for anything else.