Lake Otters, to be precise.  “There’s a story,” my wife said, “about some swimmers who had to fight them off coming out of the lake.”

Otter WorriesShe let this sink in.  I didn’t listen to the rest of the encounter as she Googled the article and recounted details for the extended family.  I just processed the part about otters biting you.  Usually, I’m the one who cautions the children about really nasty problems associated with fairly routine activities.

“I know a guy once,” the family now calls it — this in honor of dad who has a disaster story for every possible human activity.

  • “I knew a woman who lost an arm and a leg to water-skiing.  The prop.  The prop on the boat.”
  • “I knew a guy who got arrested in Portugal for a LOT less than that.  His uncle — a TWA pilot — had to arrive with a suitcase full of cash.  Believe me.  It happens.
  • “I knew a guy who spoke at our graduation with two iron hooks for hands, trying that kinda stuff with power lines, kids.”
  • “I knew a woman who spent the summer scratching the nose of her geology professor because her husband didn’t want a gun with them out on a field trip in Montana.  Grizzlies.  She lost both arms.”
  • “I knew somebody who got their dog’s leash caught in the elevator door.  Not pretty, let me tell ya.”

Fortunately, I think my kids survived all this cautioning.  They appear fairly well adjusted.  They are never un-armed in the wilderness. They water ski, snow ski, skateboard, swing dance.  Two of them went to Scotland on their own and worked a farm.  They don’t live in fear of the kitchen cutlery.

Their father on the other hand..

“Dang,” I told my wife. “I was going to try swimming this trip.”
“You can swim.”
“Those otters the other day.  It’s hard enough to swim with both hands, but swimming and protecting your genitals at the same time.”
Mary laughed out loud.  She never gives a courtesy laugh.  She even threw her head back.

“Their feet, Jim.  They bit their feet.”