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Erlkönig: A Diver and a Jellyfish

A work from the depths of the Internet. Ouch.
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April 1998

Hi Sue,

Just another note from your bottom dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wetsuit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this:

We have a diesel powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temp. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a damn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is I take the hose and stuff it down the back of my neck. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my ass started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds my ass started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened.

The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. This is even worse than the poison ivy you once had under a cast. Now I had that hose down my back. I don't have any hair on my back, so the jellyfish couldn't get stuck to my back. My ass crack was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into my ass.

I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he along with 5 other divers were laughing hysterically. Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make 3 agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling 35 minutes before I could come to the surface for my dry chamber decompression.

I got to the surface wearing nothing but my brass helmet. My suit and gear were tied to the bell. When I got on board the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to shove it "up my ass" when I get in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't crap for two days because my asshole was swollen shut. I later found out that this could easily have been prevented if the suction hose was placed on the leeward side of the ship.

Anyway, the next time you have a bad day at the office, think of me.

Think about how much worse your day would be if you were to shove a jellyfish up your ass. I hope you have no bad days at the office. But if you do, I hope this will make them more tolerable.

Take care, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Love you,
Tom

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