Friday, May 29, 2009

Going to the Ool

Aaaaah summertime. The smell of something burning on the grill, the sounds of yellow-jackets and mosquitoes buzzing in my ears, and the spectacle of children splashing and playing in the pool. Yes, the pool. The place feared by mothers everywhere. Not because of safety issues, but because we may get our hair wet.

Whether it is a wading pool, a lap pool, or an Olympic size pool--there is one thing they all have in common . . . pee. Every pool is a giant urinal that does not flush. I recently read a news article on about peeing in the pool. Evidentially the CDC warns against using a pool as a toilet. (Really?) It goes on to say that drinking a little bit of tainted water is bad for you and can make you sick. (No joke?) It finishes with the following: Don’t pee in the pool. Ok, that is enough for me. I am going to try and stop immediately. Well, at least cut back.

Printing a journalistic story on the crisis of pee in American pools hardly seems newsworthy, but apparently it is a big problem. According to the article: 1 in 5 American adults admit to peeing in the pool, and I am guessing, that the other 4 are liars. Someone told me they have never peed in a pool, and it is not that I don’t believe them, but I am leery of “warm spots” in the aquatic environment. I don’t stand too close to anyone at the pool, no matter what they say. Even Michael Phelps, the 14-gold medal winner, admitted tinkling in the pool, and the swimming pool is basically his workplace. So if he is willing to do it, I don’t hold out hope for the rest of America.

I am a little perturbed by this news story though; I see it as an attack by the media to vilify the United States; just more propaganda to make us look bad to the rest of the world. I mean you hear all this press about how lazy Americans are, and stories that we are all obese, that we have short attention-spans and now, we are incontinent too. Wetting ourselves and swimming around in it; great, the U.N. will have a heyday with that one. Well, I for one am not going to believe everything I read, but just to be on the safe side, I will be showering after swimming from now on.

I used to work at a pool, so I appreciate the feeling of familiarity when I visit swimming facilities. And, believe it or not, there are some things about the pool that I do enjoy. For one, the smell of chlorine is actually soothing to me. I also love those cutesy signs that they put up at some swimming areas, the ones that say “Welcome to our ool, notice there is no ‘P’ in it.” They are charming and folksy, but have no truth in advertising. They really should say: “Welcome to our pool. Notice there is ‘P’ in it. I wouldn’t drink the water if I were you.”

Of course, I didn’t say I like everything about the swimming pool. Besides the urine-filled water, one of the things I dislike is the fact that you are seeing everyone disrobed. Going to the pool is like seeing everyone you know in their underwear. It is too much information paddling around in sun block. You cannot hide anything in a swimsuit; all of your limbs are out there for the world to see. It is like stripping down to your skivvies and asking the entire neighborhood to jump in and take a bath with you. I don’t like it one bit. And now we have to worry about who is going #1 in the water? I already look at people who swim with suspicion, and now I have to wonder what they are doing when they float on over to the deep end?

I have enough to worry about when I take a trip to the pool, like trying to look people in the eye. Hey it sounds easy, but you try and not to look alarmed when you see the human equivalent of Chewbacca coming at you in a pair of cut-off Levi’s while his tighty-whitey’s are playing peek-a-boo with his distended-belly. Keeping a straight face is tougher than it sounds. Now, I am no super-model myself, so I have a certain amount of sympathy for the attractively-challenged, but I have one word for that guy—“Manscaping.”

Yes, the pool is full of many pit-falls and potentially uncomfortable situations. I speak from experience, many tortuous years of having my children drag me to the aquatic center has resulted in a rather steep learning curve. So this summer, before you hit the swimcenter, feel free to use my tried and true beach bathing guidelines:

Self-tanner will not cover varicose veins.

It is not ok to hit other people’s children, no matter how many times they splash you in the face or shoot at you with a water weenie.

That little skirt on your swimsuit is not fooling anyone, not even you.

If you have to go down the water-slide make sure all ties and straps on your swimsuit are securely attached and latched. Seriously.

The snack shack does not sell Xanax or Gin; you have to bring your own.

The “cannon-ball” is not a dive.

And lastly: If you are going to pee, please don’t stand next to me.


  1. He he. You are too funny. I personally can't wait for the pool to open. It is way better than being miserably hot in my trailer house with no air conditioning. I just try not to thin about those other things.

  2. I miss the Moscow pool.
    But not the warm spots. ;)

  3. Love your advice! Save this one for our book.

  4. People at work are still wondering what I was giggling about behind the computer screen. Now I will have to unexpected laugh at intervals every time I type so they will just assume it is a mental issue I have.

  5. We went to the Ool today. I promise, I didn't pee in it! I did laugh because I thought about your post. And Jayden was sticking his face in the water. I'm sure he drank some. :P

    Another thing I've noticed that some Olympic swimmers do- suck in a bunch of water and spit it back out. I don't think they are worried about who went #1 in the water. ;)

    And I don't have a little skirt on my swimsuit, but I did make sure to get board shorts, lol.
    I also didn't hit the kid who squirted us with the water weenie multiple times, but I was tempted to dunk him.

  6. I remember the "ool" sign at Zims! And I'll try not to think about what I'm wading in next time I take the kids to swimming lessons.