Dangerous Words by Helene Kobelnyk in Vivacini  12 May 2013


A friend told me once that the two most dangerous words in the English language are, “watch this.”  That seemingly harmless phrase is almost always a prelude to stupidity and guaranteed epic failure.  How many times have you broadcast those words only to have them followed by a colossal disaster?

Along the same line, another potentially lethal combination, “what if. . .”  can take you to phenomenal discoveries and adventures or to impending doom unless you’re quick enough to change the trajectory.

One summer not too long ago, my dog, Nicky, strained some back muscles . . . something we all face over time.  The words “hot tub” and “jacuzzi” came to mind immediately . . . obviously at a temperature tolerable for dogs.  So began my “what if” train of thought.

What if . . . I used a nice clean stock tank, filled it with water, covered it with plastic and let the sun just heat it?  Should and did work.  Next step was how to get the water moving in a “therapeutic way.”  What if I inserted the nozzle attached to the exhaust end of my horse grooming vacuum?   Electricity and water are not a good mix, but because the vacuum was designed for use on horses, the hose was long enough so that I could place the apparatus far enough away from the “hot tub” to avoid electrocution.

Everything was in place.  The temperature was pleasant and because I planned to sit in the tub with my dogs, I assumed it would be a grand experience of “togetherness”.  The little dogs got to practice swimming under my supervision.  Good exercise for them, I thought.  Nicky at 50 pounds had to be held since it was too easy for him to climb out.  So there we were, the six of us all nice and comfy in our little hot tub.  It was now time to start the “jacuzzi.”   I inserted the nozzle into the water and was a little surprised at the force that was generated. . . it was more like whitewater rapids than a gentle, therapeutic whirlpool.  Apparently, the dogs were equally astonished.  Nicky launched himself out of the tub with  the vigor of a medieval catapult, and the little ones found a way to quickly scramble out of the tub and into the soft dirt of the garden, which now meant a grooming session for all.

As I climbed out of the tub, soaked and scratched, I was met with ecstatic dogs who no doubt were glad that I, too, had escaped the “sea monster.”  As I sat on the deck and surmised the now dirty dogs, I watched them have their little conversations among themselves- – – “Looks like we survived another one of Helene’s brilliant ideas.”

My mother had been trying to photograph the whole debacle, but was laughing so hard that many of the photos were too blurry.  It was incidentally the last time she was strong and healthy enough to take photos, but the photos that did turn out were a source of amusement for her for the rest of her life.

The “what if” and “watch this” moments . . . sometimes you just have to risk them to make a memory to last a lifetime.


For a true “magazine experience” and more photos, read the rest of this article by clicking on this link:  Vivacini  12 May 2013