A sunset dip

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You and a couple of friends have spent Sunday afternoon kayaking and windsurfing at the dam. The boat club even let you take the motorboat out and do a little wakeboarding and waterskiing.

It’s sweet. You’re thinking of joining, so you’re pretty much just hanging out checking out the facilities and trying to decide whether you should sign up.

As the sun dips toward the horizon, guys are packing up and getting ready for the drive back to town. A lone mountain biker flies past on the last leg of his ride.

The sunset looks awesome, and the MTB guy heads out to the end of the jetty to enjoy the view and have a sip of his sports drink.

It’s pretty much just the three of you guys and the cyclist on the end of the jetty a couple of hundred metres off.

The scene looks pretty tranquil, so you get your phone out and shoot a quick Instagram pic for the fans.

The other guys are paying the food bill inside, so you’re the only one who notices…

As the mountain biker is riding back along the jetty, he battles to get his foot into his pedal cleat, loses his balance and rides off the side of the jetty! It looks like as he goes over, her smacks his face on the edge and disappears, bike and all into the lake.

For a second you’re like… did that really happen? Then instinct takes over.

You grab one of the wakeboards lying around, scream to the guys inside, “Come help here. There’s a guy drowning in the lake!” Then you sprint down to the jetty.

You just about manage to kick your shoes off and pull your wallet and phone out your jeans before jumping in the water where you last saw the guy.

Luckily it’s the right spot, and it’s only waist deep. But the guy is floating face down, still attached to his bike. You’re able to flip him over and manhandle him onto the jetty just as your friends arrive.

As they pull him out, he starts coughing and vomits a couple of mouthfuls of water onto your other mate’s foot.

He lies there for, like a minute, getting his breath back. Then asks you to pass him his bike and wheels it off the jetty to his car.

“You guys didn’t have to do that,” he says. “I was actually fine. I just got my foot stuck in my cleat.”

Not a word of thanks. And he totally needed your help. You guys saved his life! And you get not a word of thanks for it! That’s gratitude for you!


So, what to do?

This cyclist guy is not thinking clearly. Unfortunately, despite all you guys have done for him, your rescue is not over yet.

Tempted as you may be to wish your new acquaintance in the cycling shorts good riddance for being an ungrateful bastard, you need to run after him and insist that he let you take him to a doctor.

Sadly, saving someone’s life is seldom a heroic act. It’s usually just inconvenient. You now need to basically force this guy to get into your car and let you take him to the nearest medi-clinic.

All near-drowning cases need to be checked by a medical professional. The accident can lead to lung complications and electrolyte imbalances in the body. Plus, there was that blow to the head…

Also, this poor dude is embarrassed. Needing to be saved is a massive blow to the ego, not exactly a claim to fame. So be understanding.

Tell him, “Guy, you fell really hard, and you were underwater for a long time. We’re worried that you might still be in danger. I think we should take you to see a doctor quickly.”

Chances are he’ll still try insist he’s okay, but he’s not. At the very least he’s in shock, and he shouldn’t be driving right now.

So be bossy and put your foot down. Bicycle homie is coming to the hospital.

It’s a bit of a mission, but you’re the guys who saved him, so it’s part of your responsibility. Follow through, and you can high-five each other later.

You’ll be the bigger man. The bigger men.

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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