Romantic love is an illusion. Most of us discover this truth at the end of a love affair, or else when the sweet emotions of love lead us into marriage and then turn down their flames.
(Thomas Moore) 


After I learned to Scuba, I took reef diving trips to Cozumel almost every year for two decades.

Cozumel is an Island off the Yucatan of eastern Mexico, especially noted for the clarity of its water. This is because the 6000-foot-deep trench that runs between the island and the mainland, serves as a funnel for one of several loop currents running south to north; which then eventually combine to form the Gulf Stream. This constant northbound flow can result in as much as 200-foot visibilities, but also runs fast enough that divers cannot swim against it; thus, forcing them to drift along with the current. This drift diving is a unique style of the sport, in a unique underwater environment, a true gem of nature.

My favorite day trip would be to take a plane ride to the spectacular Mayan ruins at Chichén Itza where one of the sites on the tour of the city is the Cenote. This is a circular sinkhole, formed in the limestone that drops straight down hundreds of feet below its sharp drop-off to a deep inky green-black pool.

Apparently one of the Mayan sacrificial god appeasement ceremonies involved periodically taking one or more vestal virgins to the cenote, drugging them up and heaving them off the edge. It was supposedly a good sign if the virgin sank and never resurfaced, but a very bad sign for the priest who oversaw guarding them if the body floated back up to the top. This meant that the gods were not at all pleased; also implying that perhaps they had been rejected because the priest had breached his vows to keep them pure by personally breaching their hymens as well. If a priest happened to get too many floaters, the citizens of the city would throw him in too, or perhaps cut out his heart, cut off his head or do all three.

This left the priests with several tricks designed to ballast the corpse which included weighing them down with heavy jewelry or making them swallow rocks before the ceremony. Their sedating drugs would add a layer of insurance against the possibility of flailing or flopping around on the surface when the body hit the water, and hopefully then send the weighted, semi-comatose corpse straight down to the bottom.

On one of those dive trips, I encountered a floater of sorts too; one that was directly linked to sexual indiscretions as well. I went to Cozumel with a nurse I was dating. On the plane ride from New York we sat across the aisle from a mixed-race couple that was also going diving. The woman was white, and the man was black. Coincidentally, they also stayed at the same hotel as ours. I attempted idle chat, but they seemed standoffish, shy and reclusive, so I did not push it. I thought they might be that way because in the late 1980s society in general still frowned on inter-racial relationships.

On one of our dive excursions there was great commotion on another one of the boats, along with shouting and hysterical gesticulation from two Mexican dive leaders who were standing over what looked like a limp body in the bottom of one of their small ancillary snorkel boats. Our boat raced to the scene where we witnessed the black man lying on his back in the bottom of the small aluminum hulled boat, in full cardiac arrest. My girlfriend and I jumped into the small tipsy craft, where she began mouth-to-mouth breathing while I pumped on his chest; but to no avail. I could tell that the man had died instantly while snorkeling above his wife or girlfriend, who was tank diving below him.

However, not to be undaunted, the Mexicans raced him to shore where an ambulance was waiting, unfortunately very ill equipped to the point of not even having an ET tube on board. This resulted in one of the paramedics trying to torture the corpse by intubating him with a snorkel. The scene then devolved into a horrific bloody mess as the all too large diameter of the equally all too rigid snorkel severely traumatized the poor man’s larynx as the so called EMT kept trying to unsuccessfully shove it down his trachea. It was only a gory scene of bloody, foamy sputum, saliva and snot being forced from the lungs of a dead blue body.

Later that night, I went to his partner’s room to offer my condolences, only to be brusquely rebuffed by her telling me to “just go away” and leave her alone. She would not even open her hotel room door more than a small crack before shutting me out without further conversation, which made me feel stupidly inadequate. By the next day her room had been vacated and she was gone.

I found out several days later that the reason for her terse rebuke was because the couple was married all right, but each one to someone else. Apparently they had been on a cheating vacation tryst when the man suddenly dropped dead on the surface of the sea; only to leave his counterpart with the embarrassing problem of having to explain it all to her own husband, arranging the transportation of her lover’s corpse back to the States, as well as the clumsy situation that was now forcing her to be a direct liaison to the man’s poor widow as well. This woman instead chose to cover her tracks and go silently into that good night. Perhaps on her next Caribbean vacation, she might want to spend it in the Virgin Islands, in a single room, above water, with her nose in a book. Or by the time she hashes it all out with her husband, she might be single again anyway, and could simply start over.

A similar situation with a happier outcome combined ultimate forgiveness with making the most out of a bad situation. The scenario involved a couple my wife and I met on a cruise who had managed to turn a potentially serious negative into a pluperfect positive.

He was a hard-working building contractor who had grown a multimillion-dollar business from scratch. By the time we met them they also had five adult children. But when the kids were young, he had been sidetracked by having an affair with an unhappily married woman who he met in his bowling league. The ostensible reason for his straying was because his wife, who was busy taking care of their five small children at home, had fallen into the syndrome of: ‘Chronically-being fatigued-all-of-the-time-mommy-lost-interest-in-sex.’

But after figuring out what was happening by the cell phone log, the wife called the woman herself, told her she knew what was going on and then asked her husband to bring the woman home with him so she could watch them screw.

He did.

The three of them then had sex together on a regular basis for several years; until three became a crowd.

After that the tired mommy, yet now rejuvenated and enlightened housewife, made sure that when each of her daughters came of age, that they were indoctrinated in the concept of never sexually neglecting their hard-working husbands.

She told them:

  • As long as he’s bringing home the bacon, give him what he wants, whenever he wants it, however he wants it, and however many times he wants it. It’s easy. You have three holes…so  all you need to do is make sure that at least one of them is always open for business.