Let’s talk about the kid with the pool.
Everyone knew this kid, and maybe you were this kid. I’d be surprised if you were, because I rarely associate with demons from Hell.
At least not since I got out of the music and insurance businesses.
The kid with the pool could be a girl or a boy, black or white, rich or poor. The kid with the pool could be anyone, anywhere. The one common theme among all kids with the pool was that they never wanted to go in the pool.
I hated the kid with the pool.
Let’s call them KWP for short, because I am already tired of typing out “kid with the pool” and we’re only getting started here.
KWP never had a regular, everyday pool, either. KWP had an awesome pool. A pool with a slide and/or a diving board. A pool with one of those hot tubs that spills over the side into it. A pool that’s screened in so you don’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes. A pool that had a sweet boombox on the porch where you could listen to your Beastie Boys License to Ill cassette all the live-long day and gloat about how awesome sixth grade is going to be next year. An awesome pool.
An awesome pool that they “weren’t in the mood” to go swimming in when you came over.
On any summer day in South Florida, it gets so hot that you literally contemplate suicide. Then you think, “Nah, it’s not that bad” and decide to go on living, and then take one step outside and think, “I wonder how much carbon monoxide it would really take to kill me?”
The fact that we didn’t have air-conditioning in my house growing up made this red-hot strife approximately one billion times worse. We were so miserable inside that ramshackle sweatbox, a slow gas leak in the kitchen would have done wonders for morale. I bet at least half of the fist-fights in my house would have never happened if we had just had stupid air-conditioning. And also if we weren’t born mean assholes.
You would wake up on any summer morning, drenched in sweat from sleeping in a 90 degree room all night, and call up KWP. The conversation would go like this:
“Hey, it’s Maggie. Wanna hang out today? It’s supposed to be really hot so I was thinking we could go swimming and lay out.”
KWP: “I don’t know. I may feel like swimming later. You can come over now, though.”
You don’t want to seem too eager when you show up at KWP’s house, because the more you let on that you want to swim, the more KWP will resist the idea because, as I may have mentioned earlier, KWPs are demons from Hell.
In an effort to not appear too eager, instead of showing up in just your bathing suit with a beach bag full of stuff, you just tie on your bikini top and then put a t-shirt over it so that the strings hang out the top of the collar in the back. Bikini bottoms go on under your regular shorts. No pressure, KWP. The bikini top strings hanging out the top of my shirt are merely a visual hint that pool-partaking might be a fun thing to do. KWP did, after all, say that they may want to go swimming later.
Then when KWP opens the front door, they look you up and down and say, “Oh, hey. Come on in. I just put on The Goonies.”
Then you say, “Oh, wow. Haven’t you already watched that like fifty times? I just rewatched it for the tenth time last night!”
This has no effect on KWP. Nothing doing. You’re sitting through that whole movie, in your bathing suit, eyeing the glistening pool just outside the sliding glass door behind you. KWP will pause the movie to take phone calls, make a sandwich, play an Atari game, and stretch out this 51st viewing of The Goonies to a three hour affair.
As the credits roll, you stretch out a little when you stand up and say, “Man, the pool looks really good today. Wanna go jump in?”
Then, naturally, KWP says, “Oh, my mom said nobody’s allowed to use the pool for a few days.”
Damn you to Hell, KWP. You could have said that way, WAY earlier. But no! Heavens no! KWP has to string you along all day. And to top it off, when KWP’s mom comes home, she asks why you’re not in the pool on such a hot day. KWP looks away and says nothing. Oh ho hooo, KWP! On top of being a pool-tease, KWP is also a filthy liar.
Hey, look. I’m not an idiot, despite what “college admissions officers” may tell you. I know that KWPs are afraid that everyone is just using them for their pool and they want you to prove your friendship to them before they’ll agree to go swimming. I assume all KWPs were emotionally damaged by having a pool as kids, and grew up to be those non-committal types in relationships who never trust anyone’s motivations and they eventually turned their angst into one of those awkward early Sex and The City episodes where people still talked at the camera.
Here’s the thing, though, KWP. I’m going to save you a ton of time in therapy: People can like you and still want to swim in your pool. The two things are not mutually exclusive.
So let me in your goddamned pool. How can you live in that house and look at that pool all day long and not want to get in it? What are you, sick? Are you SICK? You get some kind of cheap thrill off of dangling pool time in front of people and then snatching it away? What is the big deal, KWP? LET’S JUST GET IN THE POOL. It’s not like I’m going to get in the pool and then ignore you. I’m going to get in the pool and then we’ll play Marco Polo or some shit. I’ll even let you be Adrock when we pool-rap to “Brass Monkey”. We’re still hanging out together! We’re having fun! Why do you slam the door in the face of fun, KWP? WHY DO YOU REFUSE TO BE HAPPY?
If you don’t work this stuff out, you can probably count on dying alone, KWP. I don’t want to have to be the one to tell you that, but it’s true. Let me be your friend. Let me be your pool’s friend. Learn to trust people again, KWP, because you deserve it.
And because you’re annoying the shit out of everyone.