Ah yes, the cry of summer fun.


No matter how long I think and regardless of the memories I recall, I cannot remember a time when I heard that shout and was not in a pool.


For those that may not be familiar with them, horseflies are humungous beasts known to pick up small children and carry them away.

(Ok… ok… no.)

Horseflies are bloodthirsty monsters that hunt in packs and…

(Ok… fine… again, no.)

Basically, with an understandable lack of any and all scientific realities, horseflies are mosquitos.

Now, please note, I did clarify that a bit with the “understandable lack of any and all scientific realities” comment. Horseflies are not mosquitos. I know that. But… then again… to a child in a pool… yeah.

They buzz and they pester… and they bite. But they’re not mosquitos. Oh no. Horseflies are bigger and can more easily be encountered throughout the day. So, you know, much more annoying to a child spending a summer day in a pool.


Usually the first warning was based on a true sighting. And the response was simple enough: take a deep breath and dive, dive, dive. Almost always though, things would spin out of control.


Deep breath and dive.


Inhale and back under the water.

“Horsefly!” “Horsefly!” “Horsefly!”

Get whatever air you can and head for safety. Those nasty creatures won’t follow us into the depths.

“Horsefly!” “Horsefly!” “Horsefly!” “Horsefly!”

…and eventually it would wear really, really thin. To the point where kids would be surfacing, water pouring across faces and spraying into the air, and another warning would come before anyone had even opened their eyes…


And dive.

What had begun as a warning—“Hey, look out, there’s a horsefly buzzing around”—had turned into kids, with their eyes closed, ducking and diving and splashing around in a pool.

As long as there really wasn’t a horsefly hunting you, with nasty big pointy teeth, it was fun and exciting. Pool fun. A game. Hardly worthy of thinking about the boy who cried wolf. (Anyone for a round or two of Marco Polo? Or perhaps making a whirlpool? Cool. Let’s do it.)

Every so often though, I still encounter horsefly moments in my life. When I see people talking… and, more accurately, screaming… warnings and cautions. And far too often, these cries are coming from people far and long removed from the original message they pretend to be sharing. They are calling through a spray of water, while gasping for breath, without opening their eyes.

I miss those long lost days of innocence. I miss those days of riding bikes to the tennis courts in the morning, coming back for lunch and heading to the pool, playing some form of baseball throughout the afternoon, and then figuring out which one of the kids would get their parents to host dinner and extend an invitation for a sleepover. I miss the days when—as long as you didn’t get bitten—warning each other about horseflies was kind of fun.

I won’t wander too deeply into the television and radio and internet and more of today. I don’t want to provide specifics (or even generalities) when my mind keeps wandering to the sunny days of youth. I just don’t want to cry out about wolves and horseflies. I don’t want to compare them.

But… yeah… I do miss it. The innocence. The fun. The quick gasp for breath and return under the waves. The cries don’t mean quite the same these days. And I really wish they did.



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