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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Elegy for the Loss of Speed

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
With FINA's ban today of high tech body suits for masters swimmers, I know that my swimming times will add a bit of time--several decades, actually, per event.

I didn't think this prospect would make me sad, but I find it is, in fact.

Oh, it seems like only yesterday when the Speedo Corporation came out with its kneeskin Aquablades, quickly dubbed "girlie suits" by all the guys on our team, and almost as quickly adopted as our new favorite items of clothing!

But too close to the sun old Speedo's Icarus flew! Too far from girly, too proximate to cheating!

I would write my own elegy for the loss of these suits, the loss of my youth, the sudden emergence of the old man who has long hidden himself with high school times inside these Ponce de Leon raiments!

So instead I shall just quote some lines from Elegists all dead themselves now.

Let us hope that after a while, hedonic adjustments will take place, and that each of us, in our own way, will grow content once more inside our withering, slowing flesh, no longer quick but not yet dead!

Ave Atque Vale

by Algernon Charles Swinburne

For thee, O now a silent soul, my brother,
Take at my hands this garland, and farewell.
Thin is the leaf, and chill the wintry smell,
And chill the solemn earth, a fatal mother,
With sadder than the Niobean womb,
And in the hollow of her breasts a tomb.
Content thee, howsoe'er, whose days are done;
There lies not any troublous thing before,
Nor sight nor sound to war against thee more,
For whom all winds are quiet as the sun,
All waters as the shore.

A Reminiscence

by Anne Brontė

Yet, though I cannot see thee more,
'Tis still a comfort to have seen;
And though thy transient life is o'er,
'Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;
To think a soul so near divine,
Within a form so angel fair,
United to a heart like thine,
Has gladdened once our humble sphere.


The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T S Eliot

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

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  1. Jaskeg's Avatar
    hmmm....i guess sittting out for the past 5 years, I wont feel the specific agony over the banning of the wetsuits (er skinsuits or ...what are they called again?) in pool competitions...phew! it sounds agonizing Jim!
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    James, you are lucky. You were born blind to the power of these suits and have remained that way.

    I had my eyes opened.

    At first, it scared me how fast I could swim.

    Unnatural, I told myself. The devil's trunks.

    Then, well then, I got used to it.

    Started taking the speed for granted, don't you see.

    Fastest gun in the west, that kind of thing.

    Could mow down men--ha! they weren't men--they were boys! I could mow down the men children 10 percent my age.


    In the past seven years, wearing the speed suit, I did not lose to more than a dozen 8 and under swimmers.

    Okay, maybe two dozen. But that's max.

    Now we're all swimming on a level field.

    I have never been a good field swimmer.

    My arms just don't go very good.

    And it's dirty work, I tell you. Filthy.

    You're lucky, James. Lucky you never made the deal. The devil's got me just where he wants me.

    In the lane with the 6 and unders. Swimming last.

    For all eternity.
  3. Jazz Hands's Avatar
    If it makes you sad, Jim, you will save some money by getting cheaper suits, and you can use that on happiness-inducing drugs. I'm pretty sure this is what that song "Circle of Life" from The Lion King is about.
  4. tjrpatt's Avatar
    Jim, I think that you will be fine without the tech suits. You just need to get a good cry and more on! It is not the end of the world with the tech suits "out of here"!
  5. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, fellows.

    Just did the possibly last official swim in the now aging B70--the 1 hour postal. I will have to look it up to see where this would have placed in last year's hour swim before I decide whether to pay the money to officially enter.
  6. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    Ha! Our wonderful departed father would be proud of you for that last sentence! As am I!
  7. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, Rusty. Talk to you soon!