Swimming Pool Etiquette for Dummies/Idiots/Morons

A Swimming PoolI suppose you might think my title is a bit harsh, so let me explain my reasoning.  You see I figured that if publishing companies could get away with insulting whoever feels that they need the advice, I could do the same.  The first rule of business is: always insult the customer.  You probably didn’t need me to tell you this; it becomes apparent pretty quickly if you go to your nearest drive-through “dining” option.

In my previous list of 10 Things You Absolutely have to do this Summer, I mentioned that you need to “teach others to swim” (for those of you just joining us, this meant you pushed them in the pool).  Apparently, some of you didn’t like this idea-one of you (let’s call this person “Wrong.” No names, especially because this may or may not be true) sent me an angry e-mail.  In it, Wrong mentioned how he/she felt it was awfully cruel to put this on the list, because some people don’t actually have access to a pool.

Now, I might have taken this letter seriously, if it weren’t for the fact Wrong took me seriously to begin with.  Also, I was planning on writing back, but I was worried Wrong might find my e-mail insulting, especially to those “some people” who write me angry e-mails.

Good to get that off my chest.  Are you reading this now, Wrong? Probably not, seeing as you don’t actually exist (no, that was not an insult, that means that I invented him/her for this anecdote).

Regardless, I don’t think I have properly addressed all these concerns about swimming etiquette.  Now, honestly, I know that most teens have a problem with the word etiquette, the problem being that they don’t know what it means and/or can’t spell it.  I’m going to try to fix that.

The first thing you should know about pool etiquette is that appearance does matter.  When I refer to appearance, what I am really talking about here is whether or not you are a VIP customer at McBurgTacoDonaldsVilleBelle-in-the-Box.  To put it a little less gently: have you ever exceeded the weight limit of an elevator? (That was putting it ‘less gently’ because if the answer is yes, you probably had a very painful-therefore, not gentle-fall to your death).

I have nothing against you if you fit the above criteria.  The one thing I think you should consider is what makes you look better.  For men, this can constitute wearing a baggy T-shirt until you get in the water.  For women, I don’t know.  Probably just start with a budget of around $1,000 for your pedicure and manicure, and maybe another $4,000-$7,000,000,000 for a designer swimsuit.  Actually, these tips should be utilized by anyone, regardless of weight, especially if you have an ugly tattoo or sunburn.

Continuing chronologically, the next thing you need to know about pool etiquette is getting in the pool.  Most experts (read: myself and a couple of slugs I found when I was weeding) agree there are three ways to do this: climbing in, falling in, and diving in.  Since it is impossible to choose to fall in, I’m going to focus on diving and climbing in.

For the climbers, you need to check only one thing.  You should see if there are young kids in the pool.  If so, you can still climb in, but be wary of the parent’s continued warnings that you are “splashing” their kid (if you ignore these warnings, you will get hit with an inflatable of some kind).

The proper way to respond is by making eye contact with the parent and quickly lifting your hands out of the water to a “the wave” or “I have no weapon” position.  This will probably also result in splashing, but at least you’ll see the inflated alligator coming.

Divers don’t really have to check anything.  They should, but I’ve seen everybody I know make a dive without looking to see who else is in the pool, and I know that all of these people are still alive (whereas we all know how parents can be overprotective of their children).  So, I think the most important thing divers can be aware of is how deep the pool is.  Otherwise, they might dent the pool floor.

Once you are in the pool, you should be focusing on your swimming methods.  All that really matters is the speed at which you can swim.  If you could out swim anybody chasing you, you can splash as much as you want.  If you are a slow swimmer, I recommend either swimming with no splashing or bringing some sort of camouflage (I’d recommend the classic “moving bush” or maybe the lesser-known “plastic action figure”).

All in all, if you follow these rules, you should have a great summer at the pool.  Actually, you will have a terrible pool experience, but everyone else will be content.  Have I lost my teenage mind? What am I saying? Go have fun at others’ expense! Splash all you want! Throw others in! Bring your pet shark, for all I care. Chances are, I’ll be to busy answering angry e-mails to find time to get killed-I mean, enjoy myself-at the pool.

Are You Joking? Summer Homework?

Summer Homework LoadI have just come upon this shocking statistic: the African Eagle can come to a complete halt in twenty feet after flying at a speed over a hundred miles an hour.

Ridiculous.  And they say teen drivers stop and start too often.

Now, you may be wondering: what does this have to do with summer homework?  Nothing, frankly.  Unless your name isn’t Frank Lee (“frankly”), in which case this will be the basis of your summer homework research.

“Uhm, you see, Mr. Johnson, I couldn’t do my summer homework because the African Eagle, which, by the way, can fly over a hundred miles per hour and stop within twenty feet, abducted Frank Lee.” (Now you understand why it has ‘nothing’ to do with Frank-I couldn’t have warned him ahead of time or he might not have been abducted).  This is a terrific homework excuse.

On a more serious note (maybe an Ab. Wait, wait, no need to Google “how to tie a noose,” I’ll stop with the dismally funny and yet hilariously bad puns), I think that summer homework goes against the motto of summer, which is “NO MORE HOMEWORK!  YESSSSSSSS.”

Now, really, I don’t understand why teachers insist on giving summer homework.  Summer isn’t like lunch or (how many of you remember) recess.  It isn’t an overflow time for misbehaving children.  “Billy, you shouldn’t have detonated that land mine under Suzy’s desk.  Please stay after for five days of summer-you can sleep in the closet.”

Summer is supposed to be fun! With homework, how will you possibly be able to find time enough to complete the list of fun things to do this summer?  You’ll be too busy procrastinating until at least mid-August.

Having done extensive demographic research (read: I finally dug that magic Ouija board out of the closet and let my dog chew it up) I know that there are a few unlucky readers, maybe even you, who don’t have any summer homework.  Unlucky because I will track you down, reader, so beware.

Beware, for my rage over summer homework knows no boundaries.  I’ll probably even sic my friend’s cockatoo on you, which has been known to fly at speeds over fifteen miles an hour, and stop within two inches, after flying into a window.

However, I feel it is fair to tell you which classes give summer homework, so you can make sure that, after you’ve grown up, your kids are placed in these classes.  One example that comes to mind is AP [insert normal subject], because “AP” means “anything’s possible.”  This refers to the fact that so many obscure little details are learned in these classes that “anything possible” is found in the textbook.  For instance, I got my African Eagle fact out of the textbook for AP Western Civilization.

Actually, that’s another complaint I have about summer homework: the textbooks.  Or rather, the lack of them.  You see, students enrolled in advanced classes are deemed to be too irresponsible to remember to feed and water their textbooks once a week over the summer, so we aren’t actually allowed textbooks.

For English, this makes sense, because we only need to get a book from the library.  For a class such as AP Western Civ, though, you are presented with a photocopy of the chapters you will need.  I’ll stop for a second and remind you that the only reason they use large black round weights for gym weights instead of AP textbooks is because textbooks are too heavy (meaning they didn’t come in increments of less than 10 pounds).

This means that your photocopy of the three chapters you need probably caused the death of an old-growth forest.  That isn’t the only problem, though.  You see, for people like myself who figure that a long plane ride is the perfect time to do your summer textbook reading, this causes many problems.

For instance, the TSA.  Personally, I have nothing against the TSA.  I am forever grateful to the TSA for keeping America’s planes shampoo free.  However, they do cause a few homework-related problems over the summer.  Let me give you this scenario:

TSA officer (behind x-ray machine for carry-on luggage): Hold on a sec-what’s this?

Me: What’s what?

TSA officer: What do you mean, what’s what? I say, who’s on first?-[oh, sorry, scratch that, they really say]-Hmmm-mmm.  Ronald, come take a look at this, will you?

[I break out in sweat, knowing I will probably miss my flight even though it has been delayed indefinitely].

TSA Ron: Oh, wow, Doug.  Yes, we’d better take a look at this.  Hey, kid, come here.

TSA Doug: [unzipping bag] Jeez, it’s heavy, whatever it is. [Pulls out photocopied textbook].

TSA Ron: Hold on, is that a staple!?! [Pulls out radio] We have a 23-14, repeat, a 23-14.  Backup, stand by.

TSA Doug: That’s a lot of kindling you’re trying to take on the plane.  What’s your reason?

Me: It’s uh, uh, my summer reading homework.

TSA Doug: Right, like you would ever need to know [looking at the textbook] whatever is in Chapter 21.4.  No teacher would be cruel enough to force their students to read this much over the summer.  I don’t think that’s your reason.  [Meanwhile, TSA Ron has pulled out a metal implement of some sort and is delicately removing the staple]. Haven’t you heard of the new paper regulation? Four sheets a person.

Me: But….I need that to do my homework.

TSA Doug: Yeah, right, and you’re the good guy of this story.  Sure.  [Takes textbook and shreds in a nearby receptacle]

While this example may seem positive (I now have an absolutely amazing excuse for not doing my homework) I still missed my flight.  Also, I might have decreased my chances of getting into college-it’s pretty competitive these days, and if anyone ever found out about this, who knows.

Regardless, though, I think you can understand why I am just a teeny-bit FURIOUS-ous-ous-us-ss (echo) that I have summer homework.  If you’ll excuse me, I have to go put some bird feed on the pile of Alcott books in my backyard and see if a crow will fly away with them.

The Switch from Blogger to WordPress

As you’ve probably noticed, I have switched “The Ups, Downs, and Double-Dip Recessions of High School Life” over to WordPress (also, just before I posted this, I put up a new post, so check that out if you didn’t see it).  I did this for a number of reasons, mostly because WordPress has a ton more features.  The switch wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.  If you are considering switching your blogger blog over and want some advice, send me an e-mail and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Anyways, more about the new features.  I’m now displaying my feed count in the upper-right hand corner.  I’ve got a new color scheme, and, with it, a new button down at the bottom of each post page. I’ve still got you as a follower (if you are following), and the RSS feed should have been switched over for those of you already subscribing.  I also had some plastic surgery done, but that’s private (just kidding).

Lastly, I created a couple new pages that you should check out.  And, of course, lots of little, amusing new content blurbs thrown in.  I already know of one technical error that needs fixing (if you look at posts by category you see two images of the same), and if you see any other errors, please let me know.

Most importantly, if you see anything so awful that it annoys you beyond belief, feel free to send yourself an e-mail venting your anger.

-Phil

The Ultimate Guide to Summer Chores

Chores listHow many of you would like to go through life without doing any work whatsoever? Show of hands, please.  Hey! You in the back! Raise your hand-do it! Hmm.  All of you.  That’s what I thought.

Sadly, I can’t actually teach you to avoid all work, because one of the tricks to avoiding all possible work is getting someone else to do the work.  This could work for most of you readers, but it has the reminiscence of a pyramid scheme.  That could be a problem, unless you are an elected official or CEO of a large company, in which case you are expected to have one of those on your résumé.

I can, however, give you some quick tips to avoiding many of your summer chores.  I can also hit somebody across the room from me with an airborne pencil, but, apparently, some people don’t find that impressive (like, say, my teacher).

Back to the summer chores stuff, though.  Since this an “Ultimate” guide, and not just a “Complete” guide, or “Dummy’s” guide (or, even more insulting, “Idiot’s” guide), I’m going to start by giving you a list of some common chores.

The first one I think you should be aware of is “Dishes.”  Dishes, depending on the context used, can apply to many things.  For instance, if your parents are nowhere near the kitchen, this means empty the dishwasher.  However, if an earthquake occurs, “Dishes” mean that you should sacrifice yourself and save the falling dishes.

You may think I’m joking, but I promise you, I’m not.  I don’t joke about serious matters like “Dishes.”

Another chore that I recently became aware of is “Weeding.”  Apparently, if you have a lawn, there are actually unfriendly plants.  I didn’t even know about this until last summer.  So, after you spend all winter and spring trying to get things to grow by dumping toxic chemicals on the plants, chemicals that would kill just about any human except maybe a pro football player, you need to kill some of the plants.

Actually, you can get the extra-toxic chemicals (harvested from nuclear sludge), these ones being powerful enough to kill some of the lesser-known Greek Gods, and these chemicals will kill the weeds for you.  However, since I prefer not to wear a gas mask when leaving my house, I (and you, unless you want to look like a sci-fi character from some movie with commercials that tell you nothing except that they spent a lot of money on special effects) am forced to weed by hand.

Weeding, alone, is bad enough, but sometimes your taskmaster will decide that, “While you’re outside…” you could do something else, like, say, clean up dead birds.  Again, I am still deadly serious; I have had the true experience of being outside weeding only to be asked to clean up dead birds.

I suppose I ought to give some background, because a few of you concerned readers are about to call the child health services department (I’ll bet none of you were; I threw that in there to make you all feel guilty).  Firstly, you should know that dead birds are really bad.  If you come upon a dead bird, with no sign of obvious cause for its death (like being run over by a semi-truck), then you should definitely call your local ‘wildlife people.’  This is urgent enough that if they are busy, you should call child health services.  If you get put on hold there, then call your senator.

The thing is, a dead bird signifies a disease of some sort, usually one with a non-obvious name, such us the “Bird flu,” “Avian flu,” or “H239N342.”  Now, I’m sure you’re worried, so here is how to test if you have contracted a disease: close your eyes, breath deeply, and see if you can remember where the nearest fast food joint is.

If you can, you are an American citizen, so your chances are 50/50 depending on a lot of things, including whether or not your health insurance provider ate his Wheaties that morning.  If you can’t, the media won’t broadcast your story, so I have no idea how things turn out for you.

Thankfully, in my case, it was different.  A hawk, or hungry redneck, had mostly eaten the dead bird I was hosing off our property.  Regardless, I still had to clean it up, including the blood on the fence from where the hawk (or redneck) had been perching/sitting.

Wow, I really got sidetracked.  Sorry about that.  I should have just put that into a sentence, albeit a multi-paragraph sentence.  Anyways, I think I’ve covered the most important and well-known chores you will be asked to do: “Dishes”, “Weeding,” and “Dead Bird Cleanup Duty.”

The question now becomes: how is it possible to avoid all this work? (For those of you keeping track, the question was previously, “Will I ever shut up?”, and, next, I think it will become “Is violence the answer?”, or “Does this nail polish make me look fat?”).

Since, as you can see, there is a wide range of chores (Dishes to Dead Birds), rather than coming up with chore specific methods, I have come up with general methods that I believe should work on most chores.

Fire is Your Friend

Yes, that’s right, reader: fire is your friend in these situations.  Before starting any chore, ask yourself this: Can I set [subject of chore] on fire?  Just think of how easy it would be to burn the dishes rather than put them away.  You could be seen as caring, cremating that dead bird rather than hosing it away.  Fire is your friend.

Get a Cast

Or another medical brace.  Everyone, including whoever may be assigning you work, understands that it is practically impossible to wash dishes with a jammed finger.  You could even take this a step farther and clothe the object of your labor in a sling.  You shouldn’t be expected to ruthlessly kill the weeds if half of them (the weeds) have sprained shoulders.

Make a Speech

Honestly, I think today’s society could prioritize more logically.  For instance, why am I expected to learn the formula for the volume of an isohectaseptquadrillelohedron before I can watch “Blues Clues?” That show teaches me real-life deduction skills, while I will probably never need to figure out the area of that shape unless I go into the field of Modern Furniture Design.

You can capitalize on these facts.  Make a heart-warming, emotionally charged speech to your parent/taskmaster as to why you should not have to complete your chores.  Assuming you follow and adapt my above example flawlessly, your parents will be too busy laughing at you to remember to ask you to do your chores.

Bargain

Chances are, you have expertise in some field, probably in “social media marketing,” also known as “I have a bigger friend count than you (nah-nah-na-nah-nah).”  Make an offer your parents can’t refuse, such as offering to “optimize” their Facebook page.  This gets you out of the chores, and allows you to further enjoy summer (“Yes, mother, I’m positive these pictures from your college days will add to the feel of professionalism”).

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list (is that the right word? What I mean to say is, don’t sue me).  Feel free to test the results and adapt these methods to whatever it is you are supposed to do.  Currently, the only problem that I can see is if your chores covered one of these tricks; for example, if you were asked to light a fire in the fireplace.  However, if that problem arises, simply use another trick; here, I would make a speech about why we don’t actually need the warmth from a fire in the summer, or I would bargain and offer to set fire to the curtains.  Either one works.