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ONLY IN L.A.

The Joke Is on 'Pool Divers'

April 03, 2001|STEVE HARVEY

Pundits are fond of saying that Americans are getting softer, and I'm afraid I have more evidence. The newsletter of the Reef Seeker diving store reveals there is a new scuba certification for those who don't like cold or saltwater but want to "enjoy all the wonders of breathing underwater."

It's called "pool diver."

The Beverly Hills store said it's a two-step certification: Grads of the first phase are limited to diving in the shallow part of a swimming pool, while more advanced students can obtain a "deep end diver" classification.

I guess the only wildlife these intrepid divers will face are kids playing Marco Polo.

P.S. Oh, did I mention that the "Pool Diver" story appeared in the Reef Seeker's April 1 issue?

SUCH A DEAL: Dolores Russell of Huntington Beach noticed an ad for "a very nice looking" item that apparently has only an ornamental function (see accompanying). And, no, this ad didn't appear on April Fool's Day.

STUPID DRIVER TRICKS: "Being from Montana, and a rather conservative sort," wrote Kay Dell Nelson, "I was mesmerized by a male motorist who seemed to have his rig on autopilot as he raced down Yorba Linda Boulevard." Nelson said the guy was devoting "both hands and ALL his attention to squeezing a zit on his nose while looking in the rearview mirror."

RETURN OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK? Norman Stevens of Glendale saw a police log item in a neighborhood newspaper about someone who had done some really heavy lifting--and throwing (see accompanying).

DRIVE? SHE SAID: This is the 20th anniversary of Fernandomania--prompted by a young, roly-poly pitcher from a tiny Mexican village who won his first seven starts for the Dodgers. It almost seemed as though Fernando Valenzuela would never lose.

But he finally did. And we find out why in the March issue of ESPN magazine. It's a story that Angelenos can identify with.

Writer Diane Shah reveals that she came West in 1981 to do a story on Valenzuela for Newsweek. She spent the morning with the pitcher, whereupon his agent said: "I must go somewhere now. Will you please drive Fernando to Dodger Stadium?"

Shah writes: "I was horrified. I was not a confident driver; I was prone to getting lost . . . " Valenzuela, unfamiliar with seat belts, refused to buckle himself in.

"Panicked," Shah writes, "I . . . decided I would avoid the freeway (which freeway, I wasn't even sure) and stick to surface streets only. I would go no faster than 10 mph. As we crept along, I had visions of a terrible crash. . . . Fernando, looking as frightened as I, sat still as a statue."

A few hours later, he took the mound and suffered his first loss. And who can blame him? He had a bad day at work because he'd had a nerve-racking commute.

miscelLAny:

On U.S. 40 in Wilmington, N.C., Jack Palmquist of Glendora saw a sign informing vacationers of how far they had to go to reach a desert paradise in California (see photo). Actually, Barstow is the highway's western terminus--the end of the line, so to speak.

*

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., 90012 and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.

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