Udo and I went to hang out in the wave pool at the local amusement park. Me and Udo, we love the wave pool.
In previous years, Udo was a reserved swimmer. Whether the beach, or the swimming pool, or the wave pool at the water park, Udo stuck close to the side and did NOT get his head wet.
This year, however, Udo has got the spirit. The gods of summertime water fun must have reached down and annointed him with chlorinated holy water, for he is now a most exhuberant swimmer. He is ZEALOUS. He jumps, he dives, he floats; he puts his face in the water and screams for all he is worth, sounding alarmingly like little Alex Kintner, about to meet his toothy, bloody end.
So Udo is joyfully splashing and diving about in the wave pool, while I sit at the edge and let the water lap at my toes (noting with some alarm that the size of the arthritic toe-bumps seem to have increased exponentially since last summer, and that the heavily chlorinated water has played hell with my pedicure.)
Udo's favorite thing in his new gung-ho wave pool repertoire is to do a dead-man's float kind of thing while letting the waves carry him in. He will do this over and over again, or as long as the pool's wave cycle lasts.
Little boys playing dead in a large wave pool at an amusement park is an alarming thing to the lifeguards; they don't like it one bit. This is understandable, as it must be hard to differentiate between little boys joyfully floating face-down on the waves, and actual kid corpses. The lifeguard blew her whistle at Udo, and told him not to float around like that.
Udo was sad; Udo's summery wave pool joy had been compromised by a well-meaning lady with a whistle. I tried to explain to him that she wanted to make sure that he was just playing, and was not hurt. I told him that floating around like that makes it look like he was a dead guy, and lifeguards try to keep the dead guys out of the pool.
Udo looked sad, with big blue watery puppy dog eyes, but did not want to be consoled. "Are you OK?" I asked him. Udo smirked. "Yes, I'm FINE," he said. "Can you please go away now?"
So Udo went back to playing in the waves, although his splashing lacked the same level of joyful exhuberance. This is the trouble with Udo's complete lack of cynicism. The rest of us in this family expect the worst and hope for the best; Udo expect sunshine, rainbows, and unlimited freezepops at every turn. His heart breaks audibly whenever someone proves disproves his perception of the world as an amazing place with unlimited possibilities, where a guy can dead-man's-float around the wave pool as much as he likes.