The talk show host laughed at the deep sea diver’s joke, and the audience joined him. But when the laughter died, the host shuffled his cards and looked intently at his guest.
“In all seriousness, though, can you tell us about the time you were most afraid?”
The diver looked severe. “Of course,” he said. “We were in the Baltic, about fifteen miles off the coast. I went down to make some opacity measurements for a group of Russian scientists. Cake work, easiest dive in the world. I had a full tank of air and my equipment had been recently inspected. I got down to a depth of about 800 ft., made the measurements, and lo I couldn’t get my weights off my belt. See at that depth humans aren’t really buoyant, and if I couldn’t drop the weight I’d be fighting to climb at all – already I was working to stay at the same depth. I tugged at the weights but they sure wouldn’t budge, and I started panicking. I began swimming as hard as I could for the surface, but I was getting nowhere and burning through my oxygen for nothing. But I couldn’t help myself. I swam and swam trying to get up, feeling claustrophobic and barely able to breathe with what was left in my tank.” He paused, and looked caught up in the memory.
“What happened?” asked the host, after a long silence.
“What do you think happened?” asked the diver. “The ocean is unforgiving. I died.”
Written on 11/19/15 for a tall photographer.
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