I once thought near-death experiences were reserved for lionkeepers, tightrope walkers, and adrenaline junkies. Boy, was I wrong. Turns out, bargain hunting, out of shape, stay-at-home moms are equally at risk. My brush with the grim reaper happened recently.

It all began with a coupon: FREE Havaianas’ flip-flops (a $20 value) at Shine Swim Shop. I didn’t know what Havaianas were, but these ultra pricy flip-flops sounded amazing. Off I went to get me some fancy footwear.

At the store, these designer flops looked suspiciously like my Dollar General pair. But, at 20 bucks, they had to have gold dust sprinkled on them, right? Nope. But hey, they were on the house. I grabbed a pair and sauntered towards the cash register, coupon in hand like I had just won the Powerball jackpot. But then, right before I reached the counter, I saw a sign that read, “Miraclesuit: Look 10 lbs. lighter in 10 seconds.” What? Could this be true? In stunned reverence, I walked slowly towards the rack teeming with these marvels of the swimsuit world. 

I imagined myself at the pool, sashaying through the shallow end, all skinny and curvy and stuff. My body, a whole ten pounds lighter, looked outstanding in my fantasy. My bubble burst when I looked at the price tag: $136. Holy Toledo! For that price, it better make me look like Demi Moore. But, for a real-life miracle, I figured it was quite reasonable, so I pawed through the garments looking for one in my size.  

The only one they had was this sexy Zebra-striped number—giddy up.  The clerk showed me to the dressing room while I practically exploded with anticipation. Let’s get this baby on!  

One foot in, then the other, Why wasn’t it sliding up? Maybe if I just pull a little harder. Umph, argh, there it goes…a little more…maybe if I rock back and forth it will… yes, yes, THERE! It was a struggle, but I finally wrangled it onto my body. Sure, I couldn’t breathe, but if it made me look fantastic, who cared? Breathing is so overrated. I turned toward the mirror to reveal the miracle.

My reflection was not what I had envisioned. Instead of the anticipated transformation, I looked more like a naked mole rat being strangled to death by a boa constrictor.  My midsection had been compressed to such a degree that all of my fatty flesh had nowhere to go but up and out. I was now wearing a skin turtleneck. I was also turning blue from lack of oxygen. This must have been NASA-grade Lycra. 

As my lungs collapsed, it occurred to me that if I passed out right then, the paramedics were going to find me like this: a giant Zebra striped lump with the ends blown out. Imagine the headlines: “Lady Killed by Bathing Suit.” Frantically, I tried to tear the garment off my body. But the more I struggled, the more it fought back. It had come alive! I must have been making quite a commotion, because the clerk chame to check in on me. 

“Are you OK in there ma’am?”

“UNGH” was all I could muster. 

With my life flashing before my eyes, I managed to get it down to my hips. I was finally  free. 

As the color returned to my cheeks and my internal organs made their way back into their proper positions, I slumped into the dressing room chair. I guess it was too good to be true.  

After putting my street clothes back on, the clerk bagged my free flip-flops. I suppose I did receive a miracle. After all, I made it out of the dressing room alive. Oh well, at least my feet will look amazing.