You can’t swim with one hand on your woggle

square Bad swimmer copy I wasn’t born to swim. This became evident early in life after habitually swimming into the side of pools, then immediately sinking headfirst to the bottom. A number of factors can be attributed to my being hydro-challenged, beginning with the fact that I can’t actually breathe under water.

This traumatic realization was made one morning after watching Aquaman on T.V. and then, as a test to ascertain my level of super powers, trying to inhale running tap water from the kitchen faucet. The experience was a wake-up call, and forced me to admit that the closest I’d ever get to being an underwater super hero is if “dog paddling” and “consuming large amounts of pool water” qualified as special powers.

Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly waiting for a call from The Super Friends.

Thirty-five years later, I’m still not much of a swimmer, which led me to enroll my son in swimming classes. For those of you thinking of signing your kids up, there are a number of things you can do to prepare your child — and yourself — for getting the most out of class.

First, swimming trunks that enter a body of water too quickly will deploy like a driver’s side air bag. Add cargo-style pockets, and your child will be lucky to touch the water at all.

Secondly, if your child uses a “woggle” or “noodle” to float on in the water, wean them off of it now. Aside from adding a false sense of security, it’s nearly impossible to swim efficiently with one hand on your woggle.

And that’s as far as I’m taking that.

One way to transition your child off of using a woggle is by trimming away small portions of it in the weeks leading up to the first day of class. This worked well for my son, who showed up for his first lesson with a piece of green styrofoam roughly the size of a Lumberjack Biscuit.

I will complete the final step in this elimination process next week, when I replace what’s left of his woggle with an actual biscuit — which will then swell up and break apart in the pool.

Something a lot of people aren’t aware of is that chlorine actually causes temporary deafness in adults. This affliction is an indirect result of having your child — along with 20 to 30 others — all SCREAMNING EVERY SYLLABLE THAT LEAVES THEIR MOUTHS THE ENTIRE TIME THEY ARE IN THE POOL. Unless you leave the building all together (or are immune to high-decibel sounds because you regularly work on the deck of an aircraft carrier) ear plugs aren’t a bad idea.

The most important thing, of course, is that your child learn to swim, especially if they live anywhere near a body of water.

Your children will thank you.

I will thank you.

And, most importantly, The Super Friends will thank you.

Which reminds me; they still haven’t called yet. I guess until Aquaman hangs up his fins, there won’t be a need for Dog-Paddling Woggle Man to flail into action.

And for all our sakes, let’s hope there never will be.

(You can write to Ned at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

Published by

Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

43 thoughts on “You can’t swim with one hand on your woggle”

  1. Sometimes I wonder what kind of search terms people enter into Google to find their way to your blog, Ned. The title of this piece doesn’t really… Erm… What I mean to say is…

    I’m tempted to look up “woggle holding” right about now… 😛

  2. In the Navy, we had 80 people in our Boot Camp company, We were ordered to jump in when we heard the whistle. 12 people could not swim, one of them nearly drowned me in order to stay alive. Oh and I love the photo.

  3. Even if you don’t think you live near a body of water, your children should learn to swim anyway. Some children, when left alone for 15 seconds, can turn your house into a body of water.

    1. I completely understand that; as a water-challenged swimmer, there’s nothing like the feeling of holding on to something you know will keep you afloat, such as woggle or small child with a woggle.

      1. I’ll take your word for it… as I have no idea what a Lumberjack Biscuit is. It sounds like some sinister trick perpetrated on us unsuspecting Americans by those wily Canadians… much like their bacon.

        1. LOL! It’s a Pillsbury biscuit product that is extra large, i.e., for the appetite of a lumberjack. And I hear you about that Canadian bacon thing. That’s not bacon! It’s extremely mild salami!

  4. I read this last night when I couldn’t sleep and when I read the title I was already very confused, what is a woggle? Haha, I’m sure aquaman is not going to be putting his crime fighting days behind him now once he reads your post lol. Great post! My mom thought the same way about us learning how to swim, we HAVE TO, we are surrounded by water after all. But let me tell you, it cost her a pretty penny and some serious patience. But now both her kids can swim, hell, one can even woop the other at water polo 😉 (that’d be me, haha)

    1. Ha! The great thing about the word “woggle” is that it immediately conjures up the wrong image 🙂 It’s basically a long tube made out of foam… and it has nothing to do with erectile disfunction. They are about four feet long. Again, still talking about a floatation device here, and not a male porn star 😉 Oh, and I had a feeling you’d be the one kicking booty in water polo! Chances are, your best competition will come from Aquaman 🙂

      1. I really did think it was the former, and clearly thought in my head “of course you can’t swim with one hand on your woggle!” haha 😉 . Yeah, I loved water polo, except for the part of having huge shoulders, guys didn’t seem to like that in high school. 🙂

  5. The noodle does give a child a false sense of security. Though I’m convinced it won’t take much effort to wean my son from using it on the pool. He currently use the noodle to sword fight with his sister.

  6. like you, swimming is not my first language. in high school we were required to tread water for 10 mins, and somehow i survived by thrashing, floating, water slapping, dog paddling, etc. and i passed and my swim teacher said, ‘i’ve never seen anything like it.’ i was not surprised. great piece. p.s. – do not drive while holding your woggle either.

    1. The two of us in swim class would have been a disaster, you flailing above water and me at the bottom of the pool 🙂 And as for driving, I think that’s why they came up with the hands-free law… 😉

  7. weening of the woggle could lead to woggle theft and other such shenanigans. swim bullies are no fun, not that other kinds of bullies are fun. watch for woggle hoarding too.

No one is watching, I swear...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s