The last thing that I remember from Freshman year is when we did swimming in gym class. Usually they would make us go out in the cold and run laps, and then do baskets, but at the end of the year they said to bring swimsuits and meet in the basement next to the pool. Everyone tells you to look forward to swimming, but it's just another lie. You imagine that it's fun and you splash, and everyone is stripped down all the way like it's a party. That's not what it's like. The water in the pool is poisoned so it doesn't grow mold, and when you go in it, your skin feels really terrible and hurts.

Then, before you even start swimming, the gym teacher yells at you to take off your glasses. When that happens, it's all just a blur. Not a blur like a great summer at the beach, but the kind where you can't see anything. You get mad, because you can tell all the girls have their butts out in the pool and you can't see them. You have to swim laps, but you don't know where to go, and when you grab onto the rope to figure out where you are, they blow the whistle.

People started saying "Veins has titty veins" in the pool, and poked me in the nipple, because I didn't have a shirt on. (You're not allowed to put a shirt in the pool either.) I couldn't tell if the poke was coming because of my eyesight. I didn't get fat until Senior year, but if nobody likes you, they can make anything up they want, and everyone repeats it. Swimming was at the end of the year so people only said "Titty Veins" for about 5 weeks, but that was enough to ruin the rest of my Freshman year.

I still don't like swimming. When I drive by the water park I start feeling nervous like someone's going to yell at me. They'll take my glasses, and they'll put me on the slide, and when I get to the bottom I can't find my glasses, and I'm cold, and my skin is poisoned. Swimming for me is like going to a store, and as soon as you walk in, they put a blindfold on you and spray Raid. Then, when you get back home, everyone tells you "I love that store."



Veins is a 228pg humor novel about a man's life in Ohio.

The Kindle edition ($4.99) can be read on your desktop computer, iPad, iPhone, or Android.



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