Poor pity, pondering pool problems, private probe

Growing up, our neighbors across the street had a pool. More important than this, they had a sign on the deck of the pool that read “Please don’t pee in our pool; we don’t swim in your toilet.” At the time, this was the absolute zenith of comedic commentary for me. A party at our neighbors’ house meant not only that we could swim, but also that I could stare at that sign and, in my head, break it down to bits until all the humor was lost, which was, of course, impossible. Swim in the toilet! Can you even imagine?

I still think about that sign* today, for several reasons. For one, the first time I laid eyes on it, my dream in life instantly became to grow into an adult, get married, have a family, and buy a house with a pool, all as mere means to my true end of posting that sign, claiming it as my own, and basking in its comedic glory. Where did you get that sign? Is there no end to your brash hilariousness? A toast to Mike!

Also, since I haven’t yet realized my ultimate dream, and our family is faced with the indignity of using our community pool (#firstworldproblems), I often wonder if we are, in fact, swimming in a toilet.

I was talked out of having a pool when we first moved here. You have a community pool for which you pay HOA fees, they said. Plus don’t forget about all the maintenance of a private pool, they told me. And the cost, they said. Besides, it’s not THAT hot, and you won’t use it as often as you think, no one said.

The problem, however, with the community pool is the community. Apparently, selfish people like to take up the entire pool to swim laps (pfft) or conduct “swim team practice.” Two years ago, some neighborhood kids thought it would be funny to throw a bunch of donkey feces (our community pool is surrounded by wild burro because, of course it is) into the pool, which—let’s be honest—was pretty darn funny, if I lived in a different neighborhood. The association had to drain the entire pool and we couldn’t use it for two weeks. CLOSED FOR DONKEY POOP REPAIRS. COME BACK IN TWO WEEKS.

(The hotel pool, a close cousin of the community pool, presents similar issues. While on vacation a few weeks ago, a sign posted at our hotel’s pool warned that anyone with “active diarrhea within the previous 14 days shall not be allowed to enter the pool water.” That kind of peace of mind is not something every hotel pool offers, but we don’t stay at just any hotel. Only the fancy ones.)

Oh, and just getting to the pool is a hassle. The ratio of pool prep/commute to actual pool time is at least 2-to-1. Also, for whatever reason I am some kind of child magnet, and it never fails that, while trying to watch a 3- and 4-year-old in a pool, I will be awkwardly approached by children who aren’t mine and who say things like, “I CAN HOLD MY BREATH FOR THREE MINUTES, WATCH” and “MY DOG AT HOME HAS A DOG TOY.” (There is no doubt they are peeing as they say these things.)

My point is, I would love a pool. In my backyard. I’m trying to convince my wife that it’s an awesome idea to have bulldozers tear down everything in our yard plus our neighbor’s block wall at a cost of $30K we definitely don’t have. I’ll let you know how it goes.

It failed. Alas, I remain deprived of my life’s dream, relegated to being Clark Griswold, staring out the window at what could be. For now. Someday we will have a pool, and I’ll finally be able to hang up a hilarious sign that my wife will immediately take down because it’s “tacky.” Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s been 14 days and thus ... (puts on one-sided banana hammock) ... it’s time to swim.

*A similar pool sign of my youth read, “Welcome to our ool. Notice how there’s no ‘p’ in it. Let’s keep it that way.” Had I saw this sign first, my feelings might be different, but as it stands this sign is obviously the lesser. Too wordy. And yes, my entire humor background is strictly based in pool signs banishing urine.

UPDATE: I discovered after writing this that The Man in the Garlic Tuxedo himself had the "Welcome to our ool" sign posted at his above-ground ool in Brooklyn because: OF COURSE HE DID. So that one is now my favorite. Thank you.

Note: This column appears in the 7/17 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/18 issue of the Peoria Times.


Matt Grant said…
I agree. It’s really hard not to imagine whatever things has happened in the water every time you go to a community pool. Unless you have an assurance that it’s clean and well-maintained. That’s why it’s better to have one installed in your house. Not only will you not have to worry about those things, you get to enjoy it at the comforts of your home. Thanks for sharing!

Matt Grant @ Pool Service Perth