Have you ever noticed how many things in life are controlled by luck?

swimmerguy's picture

"They let me pick, did I ever tell you that?
The legions of Spartans, all strong, brave, a natural leader.
But I picked you, because I saw that you had something, some quality that the others did not.
You have luck.
Was I wrong?"
-Halo 3 "Arrival"

A lot of things in life are controlled by luck. So many things.
Nicole, who is REALLY fast, and yet doesn't work that hard at swimming. She's kinda lucky.

I realized something, after I was looking at MagicFantastic's journals about drugs.
I've never had any drugs, smoked anything, or had a drop of alchohol (except when my grandma gave me a sip when I was 3 so I could know what it tasted like).
But there are people, who, by my age, have.
I don't hate these people, or even dislike them. I don't respect them, but that's totally different.
I realized that I have avoided all of these because I got lucky. And I will continue too, also, with any more luck at all.

A few days ago, our swim coach told us about how we had to avoid drugs. She said that some person on the swim team had made a bad decision, and it had interfered with many things.
I only had the vaguest idea of what she was talking about. Someone had done something, and gotten suspended, was my suspicion.
I never expected to know who it was.
This person actually later told me. They shall remain anonymous.
And I see how easy it was for them to get into this situation.
I have only avoided it by sheer luck.

In 5th grade, I got Scoliosis. That was extremely lucky. 3% of the population has it.
It was lucky, because that started me swimming.
And, I hated swimming for a while.
But my parents made me go. Now I love it.
And it has, and will continue to, protect me from drugs.

Not just because it's something to feel passionate about, something already healthy and not chemically addictive to lose myself in for pleasure.
Also, because drugs would ruin it. I would never want to smoke a cigarette... Never.
I have great lungs. I can hold my breath for nigh on 2 minutes. And I would never want to sacrifice that.
I would never want to sacrifice swimming.

Because, swimming feels GREAT. I can't say it feels better than drugs, because I wouldn't know, but it does feel great, and has no hang over or waking up and going oh-my-god-my-life-still-sucks-let's-get-high-again.
I'll show you.
In Spring of 2007, my 50 free was well over a minute.
In fall of 2007, I had a 49.12
In spring of 2008, I got a 42.87
In fall of 2008, I got a 36.56
In spring of 2009, I got a 30.12
In fall of 2009, I got 27.30
And just this morning, I got 26.80

That kind of improvement (cutting it in HALF!) is amazing to me, and it feels wonderful.

So, that's why I harbor no resentment towards drug users, but I urge everyone too, if you have a problem with drugs or alchohol, find some other passion. Some other passion that you can enjoy MUCH more than drugs, that is much more HEALTHY than drugs, and that you can also use as a brief escape from life (as long as you're willing to deal with life when you return, that is.)


hellonwheels's picture

for me, it wasnt until high school...

that alcohol began to be a way to combat my depression, and in turn, it only made things worse. for me, riding my bikes has always been to me what swimming is to you dude, the only problem, is that as i got to be more out of shape, and toke worse care of my diabetes, as my depression worsened, it got to the point where my riding was affected...so now i have a love/ hate relationship w/ riding. idk if it will ever be the same.

Mental wounds not healing, driving me insane, i'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train- the ozzman

elph's picture

Was it Really "Luck"?

Yeh... I suppose it might have been.

But, I'd propose that it was your luck for having been born into a family and immediate society that nurtured and loved you... And, even if you may not recall being specifically instructed about destructive behaviors to avoid, you were provided with the mental equipment that allowed you to internalize them as you matured!

It seems natural for teens to want to be independent of their parents (except for room and board)...

But, I think they deserve recognition for a job well done in your case.

I cringe when I read of parents who don't deserve such credit...

Nanook's picture

Honestly, I don't find

Honestly, I don't find hangovers to be that horrible. In fact, I don't really mind them. Yea, you occasionally have a headache, but so what? There have been plenty of times when my head absolutely fucking pounds after a long run at t-pace.

Oh, and to clarify, I don't get shitfaced because the world sucks. I'm perfectly fine not drinking to be honest. I enjoy life, actually - I love to just sit and read, whilst drinking tea, I love to go on long runs, I love to go to streams with friends and just wade in the water and splash each other, I love to ski, etc. But I also enjoy partying. It's fine; it's liberating; it's rebellious. Sure, there's an addictive quality to alcohol, molly, marijuana, etc. etc. But there's an addictive quality to any and every activity. I assume it to be fair to assert that you're addicted to swimming. Wouldn't you be dismayed if you couldn't swim for a short while - say for a week, or perhaps a month?

Therefore, to delegitimize another's personal choice because it has an addictive nature, and because it's a defense mechanism for pain (at least asserted by you) is purely hypocritical. Who's to say that constant swimming isn't as bad for as marijuana and alcohol? Study after study has shown that a lack of diversity in sport, as well as the constant and habitual use of isolated muscle groups has an actual negative impact on health. Conversely, studies have shown that alcohol and marijuana actually have many positive benefits. In fact, marijuana has been shown to have absolutely no connection to lung cancer (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR200605.... http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=large-study-finds-no-li...), as well as being a bronchial dilator and thus a remedy for asthma (http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/uk_lords_report/Pain.shtml). Further, the vascular-dialating properties of Cannabinoids are an effective treatment of glaucoma (see House of Lords report, cited above), especially in conjunction with asthma, as current pharmaceuticals used for glaucoma and asthma have interactions that render them ineffective (again, see House of Lords report).

Don't black label something because silly government sponsored propaganda has been shoved down your throat; be skeptical, and always question connotations.

elph's picture


Is my inference from your rebuttal to swimmerguy correct?

A teen who wishes to (1) enjoy his adolescent years, (2) be "accepted" by his chosen fun-loving peers, and (3) suffer no adverse health effects either now or later… your philosophy is not only just fine, but is preferable to the drug-free advice of swimmerguy's?

A further inference I see: A teen who's really with it should expect to experience an occasional not-so-horrible hangover? (Why? Is a hangover an obligatory right of passage for one wishing to avoid being labeled "insufficiently macho"?)

And… it's hypocritical for swimmerguy not to acknowledge that there are possible harmful effects from swimming, just as for drugs?

Nanook's picture

(1) Yes, I am trying to

(1) Yes, I am trying to enjoy my years of adolescence, or perhaps better stated, I am enjoying the years of my adolescence.

(2) No, I'm not trying to be accepted by anyone in particular. Asserting that is an over-analysis of why I do the things I do. I drink and I party because I find some feral-esque enjoyment in it. Like I said, it's fun and it's liberating.

Besides, I have people that tell me constantly that I shouldn't drink, whilst I have others wanting to party it up with me.

(3) I realize there's health risks involved with drinking, with partying, with toking and with huffing nitrous. I realize I can seriously damage my brain, my liver, my lungs, etc. etc. But how is that different from my occupational risks? I work as a life guard, with pool chemicals like neutralizers, pH balancers and chlorine. Further, I have a risk of contracting blood born illnesses. I had to sign a release acknowledging the risk thereof.

Therefore, to assert that I shouldn't partake in an activity because there appears to be health risks inherent in it makes no sense to me. I mean, if I wanted to be as healthy as I could be, then I'd stop consuming dairy, I wouldn't sun bathe, I wouldn't wear sun screens, I wouldn't wear sun glasses, I'd stop eating processed foods, etc. etc. Oh, and I wouldn't have sex for that matter either.

As for the hangover bit, it's not that I find them to be a rite of passage. Rather, I don't find them to be that horrible of a thing. Hell, most of the time I don't even get them. Further, I feel more sickly after I exercise too hard. Like today when I ran a 400 top speed, I felt like I was going to throw up. Also, my asthma kicked in big time (Oh, I actually don't smoke - so no, the asthma isn't a symptom of toking) and I got a pounding headache. A lot worse than a silly hang over.

And yes, it is hypocritical (there's not malice in the exercise of this word, so please, drop the negative connotation of it) of swimmerguy to assert that swimming, and physical activity for that matter, is necessarily healthier than the usage of substances for pleasure. I've mentioned a suitable amount of benefits and drawbacks of both, and I'd also like to mention that any and all activities have the possibility for a physical addiction. Exercise causes the release of endorphins, endorphins are endogenous opioid polypeptides, and things that mock opioids are just as addictive as opioids.

swimmerguy's picture

Oh no no

You got me totally wrong there.
I HATE the one-sidedness of drug presentations at school, and by the government in general. The one-sidedness really pisses me off.
And, I KNOW that swimming definitely can have negative health effects if done too much and in the wrong way.
If you do it not too much, and take the proper precautions, it isn't that bad.

When I was referring to the negativity in drugs, I was referring to addiction. I don't think drugs are as bad as they make them seem for your health. But, I think that the main damage comes from you getting addicted to them, and later not doing the essential activities of life in favor of drugs. (i.e. schoolwork and family)
Also, the running from problems instead of solving them.


And, I resent the accusation to call me hypocritical.
Because, if I'm not mistaken, you are not me, you do not swim, and I think that you shouldn't make assumptions about my life and activities, and then call me hypocritical for doing the same about yours.

Hai-kus are ea-sy
But some-times they don't make sense

Nanook's picture

Alright, alright, so I did

Alright, alright, so I did make gross assumptions, and I apologize for that. However, I don't feel like my frustrations or what I said were necessarily unfounded in nature. When you said «I don't respect them» (context: drug and alcohol users), it was like a personal blow to me. Honestly, I could care less if people dislike or hate me, so as long as they respect me and my personal decisions. To me, whether or not someone likes me is a mere opinion, whilst whether or not someone respects me is a matter of fundamental humanity. If someone can't even respect me, how am I supposed to sustain a relationship with them in anyway?

Further, when you intertwined your avoidance of drugs and alcohol coming down to mere luck, I felt like you had placed swimming and socially acceptable activities on a pedestal, whilst you placed the usage of substances down in the dumps. Therefore, I felt like it was an attack on me. Sure, I'm not a user, and I certainly do other things (3.9 GPA, ranked second in my class, work with a special needs kid, etc. etc.), but I also drink, I've huffed nitrous before and I've smoked hookah before. Thus, I felt that by placing alcohol and drug users in the dirt, you were also placing me in the dirt. Sure, that's probably not rational, but human emotions aren't rational. What hurts, hurts, and stratifying choices like that hurt me.

Now, when I used the word "hypocritical", I was specifically referring to (at least in my head...) the stratification of choices that were apparent to me. Obviously, I felt like that the stratification was fundamentally flawed, and I therefore felt that an assertion of hypocrisy was acceptable. But, from your perspective, stratification wasn't apparent to you, as what I observed is probably a reaction to the inherent injustice I feel is dealt towards alcohol and drugs. And that's fine. Further, I should've thought about things from your perspective. Therefore, I must to apologize to you. Asserting you to be hypocritical in nature was boorish and unkind, and I promise you, out of character for me.

Just Dave's picture


Nanook: Ease up. And stop making blind inferences about Chad's journal. I don't think he was trying to criticize your particular lifestyle lifestyle.

Besides, it's rude to assume he's listening to this "propaganda" without skepticism and an open mind.

Swimmerguy: I'm kind of jealous of your discipline, and really hope you pursue it. It's nice to see a person who does what they love.

Nanook's picture

I'm not here to start

I'm not here to start fights. I felt like I, as well as my life style were being attacked, and that turned out to be unfounded. Nevertheless, I feel it distasteful to use the imperative so blatantly. It seeks to stratify individuals on the basis of dominance and subjectivity, and, quite frankly, is an attack on one's esteem. Hell, it even removes a pronoun, thus dehumanizing the implied subject.

Further, I realize what I'm saying is a bit hypocritical, considering I used the imperative at the bottom of the entry. But alas, a new perspective was born out of this and quite frankly, the imperative is diminutive and hurtful.

Dracofangxxx's picture

...I'll probably just ask

...I'll probably just ask you this at school cuz I forgot to post, but does that mean you don't like me because I'm a recovering half-alchoholic?
It's in my blood, and my family LETS me have it. All of my mother's brothers are alchoholics, both sets of my grandparents were ABUSIVE alchoholics as well.

I'm not saying it's a GOOD habit, but...

There are certain things I can't control about it... I'm getting withdrawls from not having it P: Or being able to cut. Addictions are NOT fun. And sort of unavoidable. Cassidy says that it's all heritage, my addiction to alchohol, and that staying sober from now on would be a smart move!

but it's damn hard~
You're twisted and perverted. I like that in a person.