austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Even so it was her bathing suit that made her famous

I thought I should write up lessons I've learned about pool safety for convenient reference here. Maybe that would be a better thought to have near the start of the swimming season, although in my defense we're getting closer to the swimming season for the Southern hemisphere. So anyone in the northern hemisphere with this could adapt this just by turning the screen upside-down. There's probably a more complicated way to achieve the same goal.

The hardest-learned lesson I've picked up about the pool is that you should not try digging a little canal in the sand from the pool -- here the pool is actually an artificial pond -- all the way to the drainage pit from the chemical plant just across the hill. The lifeguards are going ask irritating questions when you try digging underneath the six-foot tall chain link fence separating the recreational area from the industrial site.

Worse, the hill goes up like fifteen or twenty feet, so you have to construct a series of powered locks to make a viable connection. That's fine if you think to bring lock-powering machinery with you, but it's hard enough to think to bring your towel and maybe a Star Trek novel to accidentally leave behind on a hammock. Canal machinery is almost impossible to think of. I know I've gone weeks without thinking of it, only to finally sit bolt-upright in bed horrified as I realize I don't know what a lock looks like. All I know is those cartoons from canal-related shows demonstrating two vertical lines sliding up and down on a little outline step, and water and a cute little tugboat going up or down with it. And who would think to bring a cute little toy tugboat to the pool? Plus I don't even knoe where folks get locks.

It's almost as big a mistaken to build a suspension bridge out to the raft in the middle. The raft is nowhere near a stable enough base to start construction, and digging down into bedrock means getting to the sand that's gotten all silty and feels gross. Maybe nobody has ever actually been swallowed alive by the gross weeds growing out there, but is it worth the risk? No, although one of those freak mutant cable-stayed bridges might be.

Make sure there is a first-aid kit, complete with lifeguard, although for greatest effect make sure both are near the pool.

I think the next thing is about the change rooms, or booths, or those odd tiny little houses that Bluto will lock Popeye in whenever they go to the beach. It's good practice to change in the change houses, but you should be careful what you change into. You don't want it to be something like a dolphin which hasn't got the fingers to open a door, or into a whale that maybe won't even fit in the pool. Definitely better to go for something like an otter that's able to do something about door handles. Also bring a can of pre-opened spinach in your shirt pocket just in case. (Do you really wear shirts with pockets to the pool?)

Also it's a mistake to stay out in the sun too long, even when you're under some of the water. There's no pain like discovering that beads of water on your skin are acting like a lens, focusing sunlight until hydrogen atoms in the water itself begin fusing into helium, and not just because that's against the laws of optics and thermodynamics. My advice is to stay under cover, possibly back home, watching Press Your Luck, possibly on YouTube.

If the local amusement park has built a roller coaster that swings down close to the edge of the water and even tilts the track so people are riding almost sideways by the water, just wave cheerily to the people on the cars going past. Do not attempt to climb in with them.

Above all, use some common sense. Common sense should be applied to all exposed portions of the skin at least once every three hours. It can be found in cream form in aisle twelve.

Trivia: Organizers for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics spent $6,000 on 32 Swiss government-certified handheld stop watches for use in timing events. Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.

Currently Reading: Laughing Space, Edited by Isaac Asimov, Janet O Jeppson.


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