Damp: (adj) slightly wet; moist:
To avoid landing in uncomfortable situations, one must be willing to listen to counsel and follow it without trying it out for oneself.
Yet all of us—and I mean all of us—have some sort of ingrained streak that requires we touch the hot stove before we’re convinced it burns.
Otherwise, you arrive at age thirty-one, standing in front of your small child, saying, “Don’t touch the hot stove”—to which the child questions, “Why??”
And for a moment, you find yourself stalled, having no personal experience—just anecdotal evidence.
But mostly, though, we are just bratty and defiant.
When I was a younger fellow, just about ten years old, we went swimming at the lake. From the lake, we were going to go swimming at the local pool. I don’t know why both events were chosen for the same day, because I wasn’t in charge. After the pool swimming, we planned on going to Dairy Queen to have a good old-fashioned American dinner of grease, fat, sugar and unknown preservatives.
After the last swim, all the children were told by the counselors to go into the bathroom and change out of their swimming suits into their street clothes before we had our supper.
I decided not to.
I chose to wear my damp swimsuit during the entire encounter at Dairy Queen.
Here’s what I learned:
Although a swimming suit may not be uncomfortable as you sit on a bench, having just left the pool, after an hour or so of having it cling to your skin, you discover some shocking realities.
All during our little dining experience, people kept saying, “Can you still smell the pool? I can. That’s weird.”
I just kept praying no one would notice I was still in trunks.
The odor was a mixture of an elementary school’s nurse closet, blended with the budding body odor of a ten-year-old fat boy.
It wasn’t overwhelming—but there were moments it threatened to sting the eyes.
On top of that, the two blocks we had to walk to get to our car and the block-and-a-half we strolled from our car to Dairy Queen made me chafe due to the damp swimsuit.
It was kind of itchy, kind of sore and very unpleasant.
And finally—and most importantly—having something damp down near your pee-pee hole makes you think you should be pee-peeing all the time.
So I spent a lot of time wiggling, or excusing myself to go to the bathroom, only to discover that it was a false alarm induced by my damn damp suit.
I share this with you today because there are reasons that traditions have come to be—like not touching the stove and changing out of your wet swimwear.
There may be others.
It’s always a good idea to consider that some rules may actually be there to protect us against ourselves instead of punishing us for being free thinkers.