In the summer of my twelfth year, I attended a month long summer camp. The attendance fees were bartered by my dad in exchange for a large wooden canoe. We were put up in cabins with boys of the same age. My cabin held ten twelve year old lads and our counselor. The canoe my dad provided was large enough to hold the whole cabin load of us along with our counselor. It became apparent to us that our counselor had a slight fear of water. He always acted nervous out in the canoe. We never saw him swim and maybe he could not. Feeling our full measure of adolescent meanness, we devised a prank for him. We figured that on one of our trips out into middle lake, we would in mass abandon canoe and leave our counselor to fend for himself getting back to shore. We all figured we could make it back swimming. One day we got our chance.
We got out in the middle and on a pre arranged signal, all of us jumped out. We swam away in glee as our counselor was yelling at us to return. . We proceeded back to our docking area. About halfway there, I noticed by full length jeans were becoming waterlogged. The heavier they got the more arduous swimming became. I began worrying that I might become exhausted. Before I got completely worn out, I remembered something from water safety class about removing your clothing. Apparently I had dismissed the lesson about not going in water in your street clothes. I began peeling my pants down my legs. I only got them as far as knotted up around my ankles. There they acted like small weights.
Without use of my legs, II was being dragged down. At a few feet depth, I hit bottom and had enough spring to propel my self back to the surface. When I broke surface, I took a hug gulp of air. As I descended again I kicked furiously to free my legs. After a couple attempts one leg got free from its ankle restraint. Using my freed leg I could kick my way to the surface. After another huge gulp of air , I descended again and freed my other leg. Having both legs free, I could now resume my swim to shore towing my pants with good lifesaving water rescue technique.
I changed course and instead of heading to our dock, I headed to the nearest one--the dock of the neighboring Girl Scout camp. I noticed no one around there and realized I would be coming ashore in my under shorts. Rather quickly I hit their beach, looked round and saw the coast was clear. Gathering my pants in a bundle, I stealthily ran across their compound through the woods to our cabin. That night our cabin was restricted and lectured at great length concerning our stupid mean spirited behaviors. We lost canoe and water privileges for the remainder of summer. We all felt cheated by the consequences of our actions. It was only many years later did I come to and understanding concerning the narrow escape with possible drowning I had encountered.