Shallow Gene Pool Meets Shallow Water

The Story of the Day -- how many of y'all remember that old Pulpian chestnut? -- has got to be the one about the father who cajoled his 10-year-old daughter into jumping off a bridge with him into the Intracoastal to help cure her fear of heights. This much we know: Daughter Megan did fine, but father Troy Stewart broke his leg on the bottom.

But if you want to know the true dimensions of the jump, it all depends on which version you believe, the Sun-Sentinel's or the Palm Beach Post's.

In Post reporter Rochelle E.B. Gilken's nicely done article, the jump from the Ocean Bridge in Lantana was from 20 feet. The Sentinel's Jerome Burdi had it at

15 feet. Gilken implied that there was at least a few feet of water, writing that the 4-foot-4 girl "was able to stand up in the water after she landed" and that the father swam the 50 feet to shore after breaking his leg. Burdi wrote that the water was only 18 inches deep and father "made" his way to shore.

Okay, I'm thinking the water's at least three feet. If it's only 18 inches, then both of them are probably headed to the hospital with busted pelvises (Gilken explained that they jumped with their legs up in the air so they would land butt first). It's just not enough cushion.

The most amazing part of the story is that the bridge jump may be only the second most dubious thing the father has done with his daughter (that we know of). A couple years ago, Stewart went and tried to buy crack cocaine with her and was busted in a sting. Perhaps this clearly innovative dad, with his unorthodox parenting techniques, was trying to teach his daughter a lesson about the criminal justice system -- from the inside.

Forget about heights, Megan. If you should have any deep-seated fear, make it patriphobia (and, no, kids, that's not a word).


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