The Swimming Song

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Riding remote dirt roads in contemplative oblivion, sunshine and swimming holes urge my thoughts back to several blissful Tacoma summers.  These are the days of three-hundred dollar rent in three-story houses; endless piles of jazz, funk, soul, R&B, Brazilian and good ole American on vinyl; bikes entangled in living spaces, and a sailboat.  These are the days of impromptu trips to Point Defiance for swimming and messing about with geoducks, barbecues at the beach, and longboarding the Five Mile Drive.  These are the days of Sammy Walker’s self-titled 1976 release, Jorge Ben, The Proclaimer’s “Throw the ‘R’ Away” and “Over and Done With”, Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” and Loudon Wainwright’s “The Swimming Song”, all on repeat.  Those were the days.

This summer I went swimming,
This summer I might have drowned
But I held my breath and I kicked my feet
And I moved my arms around, I moved my arms around.

This summer I swam in the ocean,
And I swam in a swimming pool,
Salt my wounds, chlorine my eyes,
I’m a self-destructive fool, a self-destructive fool.

This summer I swam in a public place
And a reservoir, to boot,
At the latter I was informal,
At the former I wore my suit, I wore my swimming suit.

This summer I did the backstroke
And you know that’s not all
I did the breast stroke and the butterfly
And the old Australian crawl, the old Australian crawl.

This summer I did swan dives
And jackknifes for you all
And once when you weren’t looking
I did a cannonball, I did a cannonball.

Loudon Wainwright, “The Swimming Song”; Attempted Moustache, 1973






I hope everyone is having a memorable summer– these are the days!

Photo credits: Lucy Kruesel, Alex Borgen and Colby Sander.