Monday, July 6, 2009

Hiatus At The Pool

I took my hiatus on the road yesterday -- which happens once in a while -- and ended up at the pool. It was around 10 bucks for me to get in, which is money well spent when you consider the place is like the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated come to life.

The rippling midriff, the muscles flexing, a well-stretched bikini, the frolicking -- it's all worth seeing -- and that's just Grandma getting out of the car. Once you get to the pool you notice certain things, one, that there's a lot of people in their 30s and downward who don't have wrinkles like the rest of us ... yet.

There were a few tubolas to be seen, of course, and I'm in that category, mildly speaking. I can still pull it in if I have to, and it's not that painful to do. I start holding my breath when we get the wristbands and I don't let it out till the car's out of the parking lot. But I'm always struck by how many people there are in good shape, because I keep reading stories about the prevalence of obesity. Which can only mean most of them aren't at the pool. Or all those guys are holding their breath.

And another thing I notice: No one wears rubber swimming caps anymore, just in swimming competitions. And no one wears those old nose plugs we used to get all the time. Maybe we figured out how easy it is to just reach up and pinch your nostrils together for the three seconds you need them plugged.

Anyway, you see a lot of beauty prancing around at the pool, but, really, after a while I don't even notice. Because what's the use? They're all going to wrinkle up, get cancer from the sun and die anyway. Eventually. Why should I go around ogling a future corpse? In my mind everyone's being sized up for a casket, which is a major turnoff. Including myself, although I'm certain my mind/spirit will live on and continue somewhere on its merry way, with a complete aversion to everything in the spirit world and an undying hope for something even better.

Back to the pool. Get rid of the beauty angle for a minute. The ones I like to watch jump off the diving board are the little kids. Their parents are over on the side of the pool, maybe with a camera, trying to coax them off the board. They're trying to give the kid complete assurance they'll be OK. The kid has floaters on each wrist, and maybe a big poofed out vest. They're tiny anyway and would float on the surface like a feather, but you can't be too safe! You've got lifeguards all over the place too. But there they are, all poofed out, inching toward the end of the board... Then in they go! And they barely make a splash. The water rouses from its slumber and moves simply from a sense of duty. And certainly they don't go under. Then the parents quickly beseech them to dry safety.

There are some little kids whose parents aren't hovering over them. Maybe they should be, because some of these kids have a nasty style on the diving board. They're up there hemhawing around, taking forever to jump. They're tempted to climb back down. Then when they finally decide to jump, it looks like they're staying so close to the diving board that they might hit their head on it on the way down. I haven't seen any problems so far, but even the lifeguards look concerned, like maybe they'll have to jump in the cold water and earn their keep in a minute.

Speaking of lifeguards, these are the ones who are going to get sun damage and die young from cancer. They may look young and vital now, but just wait till they're in a nursing home at the age of 30, going, "I used to be pretty." They have some killer tans, and I mean that in more ways than one. I wouldn't take the job of lifeguard if they threw in a free casket. An urn would be more appropriate, since they're literally burning up out there. I know we need lifeguards. But this is not a job for the young. Hire senior citizens. A lifeguard's only needed about once a season anyway. We're killing our youth for those long odds? And someday their children will be burying them, asking, "Why does Mommy have leather for skin?"

I can't solve the problems of the world. So I just pull the towel up. Maybe you saw me at the pool. I was over in the shadiest part of the complex, covered in a towel, a big pith helmet on my head, and holding my breath. I'm on hiatus and don't want to die during it.

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