I had a “Caddyshack” moment this weekend, and it didn’t involve golf. Here’s the story.
Now that we’re two weeks past our second COVID vaccinations and willing to open up our lives a little bit, my wife and I have rejoined our gym. While we’ve been doing plenty of walking and biking, we both missed being able to swim laps. I tried it in the pool behind the house we rented in Florida in February, but it wasn’t exactly Olympic-sized. I could get from one end to the other in about three strokes. But our gym’s pool has lap lanes 25 yards long, and we hadn’t been there for 14 months.
Under current COVID protocols, while members are free to use any of the gym’s facilities, we have to reserve a lane in the indoor pool 48 hours in advance. We called Thursday and booked an hour for Saturday. When we got there, the entire gym was way less crowded that we remembered. I’m sure that will change over the coming weeks, but we like to avoid crowds anyway, and it was especially nice being able to change in the locker room without see a bunch of old naked men walking around with their junk hanging out. When we got to the pool, we had it to ourselves, and I got a thrill out of merely jumping in, followed by about a half-hour of doing laps. It felt so good to be back.
I returned again yesterday, and the only other people in the pool were four very young kids (I’m guessing pre-K age) taking swimming lessons in the shallow end while their parents sat on the tiled floor nearby paying far more attention to their phones than to the fun their offspring were having while learning a vital life lesson. I was happy to see that none of the kids were wearing water wings or any of those other flotation devices that actually hurt their ability to learn to swim because they rely more on the buoyancy of the air-filled plastic than developing the skills to use their arms and legs to keep themselves afloat.
But that’s not why you called.
After glancing over at the kids, I said hello to the young lifeguard, making a quick assessment as to whether, in an emergency, they’d be able to pull me out of the water despite weighing less than half what I do. Satisfied I’d be okay, I pulled off my face mask, put on my goggles, and jumped in the water. I hadn’t been in for fifteen seconds when one of the swimming instructors said urgently in my direction, “Sir, you’re gonna have to get out of the pool!” For a moment, I wondered whether I’d come at the wrong time, but things got clearer when she turned to all of the kids and said, “Everybody out of the water! There’s poop in the pool!”
That’s when the scene from “Caddyshack” flashed through my head as I quickly moved to the ladder and clambered out of the water, disappointed. But before I could even get to my towel, the same instructor corrected herself: “Oh, wait, never mind. It’s not poop. Everything’s okay.” The object in question turned out to be a small brown toy one of the kids had been holding and dropped.
The swim parents, who had become so concerned they actually looked up from their phones for at least three seconds, went back to checking their Facebook or Instagram feeds. I got back in the pool and began doing laps, happy to have avoided a public health crisis in the middle of a public health crisis.
And wondering which one of the parents hadn’t taken that toy away from the kid before allowing them into the pool in the first place.