Monday, May 16, 2011

A Nice, Cool Dip

If it was a hot summer day, chances are I could be found at the Toronto Memorial Pool.  There's nothing like splashing around in heavily-chlorinated water with your fellow townsfolk.  It was fabulous fun.  After all, the pool was the only place I could execute a handstand or do a back flip without incurring a life-threatening injury.  The clear blue waters forgave my normal uncoordinated self, and I could be the gymnast I always knew I was meant to be.  And, the pool was probably the only place where I could be applauded for resembling a writing utensil (my signature jump was the pencil--you should've seen me, hardly a splash).

Even though it served superior nachos and cheese, the pool did have some down sides.  Like when you were swimming underwater and you unexpectedly came into contact with a floating mass of someone else's hair.  Not a treat.  Or if you went off the high dive at a slightly wrong angle, leaving a sting on your skin that would smart for hours.  And, you don't even want to know about the girl who fell off the top of the high dive onto the concrete.

But the worse thing that could happen to you at the Toronto Pool was witnessing an incident by a kid known as "Pooper."  The nickname pretty much reveals his crime, which he committed at least once a summer.  And, I was not lucky enough to avoid one of these freak episodes. 

When I was in high school, it was more fashionable to sunbathe at the pool (although I still found time to sneak in a few underwater tea parties).  On one particular afternoon, a group of us were enjoying the sun when someone remarked that there was a terrible stench in the air.  We all assumed it was coming from a nearby sewer and went back to our tanning.  A little while later, someone casually remarked, "Hey, who left that candy bar sitting over there?"  We all looked up, and then sense pierced our heat-addled brains like the wooden skewer in one of the concession stand's corn dogs.

Someone screamed, "That's not a candy baaaarrrrr!!!!!"

The pool was quickly evacuated to be sanitized.  And I never could figure out how that kid could manage to perpetrate this malefaction (but, I must say, it was an impressive feat.)

These were some of the reasons that I always wished I had my own (feces and hair free) pool.  My next door neighbors had a pool, but I'm not sure that they understood some of the most basic principles of pool use. 

Number one, that you shouldn't swim in your pool during a storm with thunder and lightning.  One summer evening, while I was contemplating whether or not I should shower for fear that I would be electrocuted, the neighbors where out cavorting in their pool without a care in the world.  (Maybe they didn't have a care in the world because I don't remember any of them being killed in this incident.) 

Number two, that pools require the use of chlorine or other chemicals.  Over the course of the summer, their pool went from a clear blue to a murky green.  But, this seemed not to bother the neighbors at all.  Evidence of this would be the time I witnessed the mom floating on a raft, reading a book, and sipping a cool drink in a pool that looked something like this:

And, she was completely nonplussed.

But, whatever, at least she was enjoying herself, which is the point of having a pool.  And, I'm sure the side effects were nothing that a little penicillin or ointment couldn't clear up.

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