Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Off the Deep End

by W. Hodding Carter

This is a story of a man who somehow never managed to grow into his own life.

As a youth he had a dream of swimming in the Olympics, but his father did not support the idea.
Giving up his pursuit of Olympic fame and joining the Peace Corps did not give him the satisfaction or the notoriety that he craved.

Year followed excruciating year, college, marriage and children. Still he swam, but never seemed to derive any pleasure from the activity. At the age of forty one, his dream revived and he once again began to train to be an Olympic swimmer.

Maybe it helps if the reader is a middle aged man. As I turned page after page searching for a reason to continue reading, I became more angry with this man. He had a somewhat stable and successful career, but could have achieved so much more if he could focus on reality and be a man with a family who loves to swim. Even a man who enjoys competing.

To me, he comes off as a selfish, self centered individual who ignores the responsibility he took on when he became a husband and father. He leaves his wife with an unfair share of responsibility for finances and family, while he jumps into various bodies of water and paddles his way to nowhere. A soggy Peter Pan, no more.

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