The coolest woman in the world is making her fourth attempt to swim to Cuba. Despite being thwarted in 1973 and earlier this year, Diana Nyad, age 62, is progressing with good speed and spirit. She faced thus far choppy waters, a wrong flowing current, and stings by jellyfish, but she is determined to make the 102 mile swim in the Florida Strait. Summer is a time for swimming, but the determination and courage of a lifetime’s pursuit never takes a vacation. She will make the swim only using shark repellant. She is a great example of strength and will, and good old-fashion American stupidity (I mean determination) against insurmountable odds. As in the memorable line from Nemo, “ Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
What physical goal would you like to perform before summer is gone?
Last week Ocean City, NJ had polluted waters, this week, there is a 7’ foot Tiger shark swimming around with a big vendetta. But don’t cancel your vacation plans yet! There are always sharks out there, especially in Atlantic City that won’t even blink to take your shirt, leg, arm and wristwatch. Tony Cutugno hauled in the Jaws about 200 yards off shore using chum as bait. I have done some embarrassing things down the shore, but fishing with blood and guts in a kayak for sharks might take the bait. The shore air makes us feel invincible until we wake up with a headache, a new tattoo, 3rd degree burns and a missing limb.
What is your best youthful memory of the shore?
The final summer revelry is the now defunct Montgomery County pool who rejected kids because they “changed the complexion” of the pool. The racist pool will pay 1.1 million to the inner city campers they rejected. We forget that the city shut down the pools because of no money that year. Money will not solve racism and each of the 66 campers will only receive less than 20 thousand dollars from the incident, maybe less after taxes. The lasting legacy will be the stain on the children's memory. I leave you with one of my favorite poems by Countee Cullen expressing the impact.
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.