You are at a lake with some friends; the sun is warm and the water is cold. Going into the water would temporarily chill you but you know that later the warm sun would be even more enjoyable and you would be glad you had gone in. Would you take the plunge?
Uh. No. Been there, done that, not doing it again.
I lived in New Hampshire during my high school days, and went with a friend to Lake Winnipesauke over Memorial Day weekend. Her family went there often in the summer months, so she had local friends who were able to meet us at the lake for the afternoon. The weather was decently warm for New Hampshire in May, but the water was cold. Way cold, in my opinion. Our original plan had been to go water-skiing, but the guys were not able to procure a boat as planned. So the three decided a swim in the lake would be the next best option. I am not a fan of cold water, so I mentioned that I would just sit on the dock and maybe dip a toe in while they had a splash. Well, that plan was quickly vetoed–if one was swimming, we all were swimming. I tried to persuade them to go ahead without me, but the three of them were insistent that I was getting wet. Jump in, just jump, they cajoled. I stood firm in my refusal, but the next thing I knew, one of the guys had hooked me under the arms, the second had my left leg, and quickly coerced my friend into grabbing the other. As they were preparing to start swinging me over the edge of the dock, I managed to scream and wiggle enough to convince them I’d rather go in under my own power than be tossed in, so they set me back on my feet and formed a line behind me to block any chance of retreat. I was even a good sport while they counted, and jumped on command at three. My lungs stopped working as soon as I hit the water.
The three of them jumped in right behind me, laughing and whooping, and by the time we had all surfaced and shaken the water out of our eyes, they did have the good grace to notice that my lips were sapphire blue and I seemed to be gasping unsuccessfully for air. Once again they lined up behind me, this time urging me to swim faster, get out, climb up the ladder. The lack of oxygen to my brain had not stopped me from realizing that the impact with the water had driven my swimsuit as far as it would go up the crack of my backside, and though I feared the very real possibility of an imminent blackout and subsequent drowning, I was NOT climbing up that ladder with a wedgie. While I was wrestling the spandex out of my posterior, they must have thought I was too weak to pull myself up the ladder because suddenly half a dozen hands were fighting for real estate on my butt to push me up onto the dock. I eventually flopped onto the sun-bathed wooden planks with at least half a cheek still exposed, and finally felt the band around my chest loosen enough to drag in a breath of warm May air. My friend wrapped me in a towel, and they all stood dripping and watching me warily as I pinked up again (not sure whether the return of oxygen or embarrassment contributed more). I think I must have scared them witless, for they were pretty subdued the rest of the afternoon, but I never again had to worry about taking a forced swim in a cold lake with that crew!