Zen and the Art of Simulated Victimhood

As part of the rescue diver certification process, each student must pass “scenario” tests as a rescue leader, and as a member of a response/recovery team.  To do this, we also had to take turns as “simulated victims”.

When it was my turn to be the “vic”, the dive instructor pulled me and my buddy aside to give us instructions.  We were to go to a particular spot in the cavern, and i was to hide and play dead under a rock.  Dive buddy then went to the surface, alerted the rescue troops, and then returned to keep an eye on me…

While hanging upside down, underwater, clinging to a rock, i reached a very interesting mental state.  Calm.  Tranquil.  Fairly relaxed, despite the fact that i was pretending to be dead.  After a few minutes, the hordes of minnows present in the fresh water decided i might be tasty. 

They started pinging at my face and hands – the only exposed flesh.  As if they were checking to see if i had started to decompose.  “Is she rotten yet?  No?  OK.  Now? ”  Ping, ping, ping…  Given that i was supposed to be seriously dead, i took my simulated victimhood seriously and didn’t swish them away…

When my rescuers fnally located me (after only about 15 minutes), they had to drag me to the surface.  Given the 7 mil wetsuit, and the fact that i was only packing 14 pounds in my belt, i was more than a little bit of a floater.

The first time i broke character was when my feet launched above my head, and my rescuers realized that they pretty much had to sit on me to keep me from dragging them to the surface too soon…  way too many bubbles came out of my supposedly dead face as they rode me like a bloated bronco.

Given that my instructions were to ‘get dead, stay dead’, their resuscitation attempts after hauling my carcass onto the dock failed.  The second time i broke character?  When my dive buddy started weeping and wailing and saying – “NOOOOOO!  Don’t bring her back!  I’m on the life insurance policy…”.

That got a one-finger salute from a dead woman…

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21 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Simulated Victimhood

  1. how funny! in true daisyfae style.. you created such a visual with this post cutie! about your dive partner- is he still listed as a beneficiary?

  2. Do you know I spent six years in the Coast Guard and NEVER had to do anything like that? I did some search and rescue missions but after having an epiphany and realizing I could die doing that, I became a court reporter and legal clerk and spent the rest of my time on safe, dry land.

    Aren’t there nail salons that allow you to submerge your feet in water filled with little fish? The fish nibble the dead skin. Did I read about that or dream it?

  3. Being a dead body on stage is lots of fun because you don’t have to remember any lines or blocking except “lie still and don’t speak.” And if the play sucks, it’s certainly not your fault. Unless you move or talk.

  4. jimmy – maybe that’s why i had so much fun doing it for the simulated rescue. it’s something i don’t get to do in real life!

    DP – we’re all going to find out! i just hope there are cookies…

    lynn – nope. but this is one reason i shouldn’t get my children doing scuba… yet another way they could collect on that life insurance!

    unbearable banishment – court reporter? i suppose there could be danger there… hangnails and papercuts… the ‘fish feet’ thing was a nursemyra special! yes, the little fishies pick at the dead skin on the feet… weird.

    renalfailure – i met a bartender in the Los Angeles area who claimed to be a specialty actor as a dead guy… he told me that if you’ve been dead on a show once, you can’t do it again on that show. i wonder if one “CSI” means you’re washed up?

    bob – north florida. spring-fed sink holes (caverns). 72F year round. i got chilled, but not frozen and shivering…

  5. even dead people have involuntary reflexes upon first dying. You could have made all kinds of bodily noises and blamed it on being dead.

    I assume that you would have swatted at anything bigger than a minnow. Minnows are just so cute and ticklish when they ping you like that. Dead with a free facial. Who could ask for more.

  6. nursemyra – honey, i got NOTHING that can trump you!

    manuel – it’s a good thing he’s my best buddy, or i might have had to give him a bear hug at 55’…

    syncopated eyeball – i like that… “Action Girl”! Ta DAAAAA!!! Why, i think i’ll go take some sort of ACTION now!

    archie – amen, brother. oh wait… we’re both atheists… can i can ‘amen’?

    stephanie – minnows are less annoying…

    hisqueen – there was a 2′ catfish down there, and a good sized turtle knocking around on the surface. a few other bluegills, but nothing big enough to annoy. other than my dive buddy…

  7. dead in the water is my worst nightmare! I’d be okay if the water is warm, but I panic if the water is even just a bit chilly. how did you stand it!?!!

  8. lora – you have to want to do scuba. part of it for me is simply being there. it’s calm, quiet, and if you’re somewhere nice? INCREDIBLY beautiful. this was training, and i want to be damn good at this – to avoid being really dead underwater…

    s.le – it was a lot of work, but we had fun! the other divers on this trip were (mostly) fabulous!

    fragrant liar – if the fish had been bigger than an inch or two? my reaction might have been different. i did have a ‘freak out’ the next day – thinking “what if this sinkhole collapses?”. At that moment? i called the dive and we were done for the day. once your head is jacked? it’s bad…

    gnukid – oh, i could have gone deeper. and if i really wanted to make it tough? i could have held my breath, as the bubbles gave me away. but in hindsight? 15 minutes was about right…

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