May 6, 2011
The other night I was watching a program about coral reefs. I knew parrot fish crunched up coral with their teeth but what I didn’t know was that they poop sand, which the program emphasized by focusing on the southern ends of several northbound parrot fish. And the sand forms beaches, so most beaches are, to some extent, fish excrement. Fortunately I’m not the sort of person who’d dwell on this sort of thing or I’d never set foot on the beach again without wearing boots. I like the feel of sand on my bare feet. Besides the ocean is vast and even though there are a lot of things floating around in it they’re all pretty diffuse. It’s not like a bathtub or even a swimming pool, which is basically a giant bathtub, except no one ever gets naked in the pool I usually go to. Or at least they don’t while I’m around. In fact some of the people at the pool I go to wear goggles or even full masks, snorkels, and even diving fins. The goggles and masks I can understand because they’ll keep the water out of your eyes, and the snorkels keep you from accidentally swallowing any of the water, and, as you swim along, you can watch the bottom and spot interesting things like loose change or the locker key you dropped. But why diving fins? It’s an indoor pool and we’re all adults just doing laps, so it’s not as though getting from one end of the pool to the other faster is an advantage. Maybe the people who wear fins think the fins will help build muscle. Maybe these are the same people who’ve been duped into buying those new sneakers that will supposedly give you the body of a model just by walking. If sneakers could really do that I’d have a body like Charles Atlas instead of a body more like Charles Chaplin, but that’s another story.
Maybe the people who wear fins think they’re getting an extra bit of protection, keeping out anything that might go to their feet. Maybe they know something I don’t about what’s in the pool. That reminds me of the time I went swimming in a hotel pool. The water really burned my eyes. I thought it was because the pool was too chlorinated, but they kept burning even after I’d gotten out of the pool and splashed some plain water in my eyes. And then they started getting sticky. So I went to bed because the best way to deal with a burgeoning medical problem is to sleep on it and see if things are better in the morning. The next morning my eyes weren’t oozing–they were glued shut from some kind of funky infection that made my eyelashes all crusty. Fortunately it was just a social disease and was knocked out with a bout of penicillin, and, from what I’ve heard, I’m lucky that that’s the worst thing I’ve ever caught in a hotel. I probably shouldn’t dwell on it too much, though. Otherwise I’ll never get in the pool again without wearing boots, a wetsuit, and a big brass diving helmets. I still don’t see the need for fins, though. Maybe they’re just trying to outswim the parrot fish in the next lane.
And on that note Freethinkers Anonymous will be taking a short summer break, but in the meantime, as a bonus, here’s this week’s installment in an all new form: