Our community pool is actually the YMCA. We have a huge one because it services the whole town and outlying areas. None of our high schools can afford pools so we have the common pool at the Y. As an indoor pool, you could actually swim year around. It seemed like the building was two or three stories tall and that allowed for a high diving board and a pool with a really deep end. Jimmy and me, being non-swimmers, were relegated to the roped off section of the family pool that didn't get deeper than 3 feet.
When we arrived, me n' Jimmy followed my big brother into the men's changing and shower room. There were lockers there to store your street clothes while you were swimming. But, since we wore our swim suits to the pool, we just had to wait while my brother changed. Our friend Sam (short for Samantha) was in the girls changing room with Billy's girlfriend.
The shower was a communal type with a dozen or so shower heads. This allowed a whole bunch of people to shower at once. Now, I didn't know the social norms of not staring at people in the state of undress. Jimmy didn't either. So, if you were standing around with your ding-dong hanging out, there were at least two little boys checking you out. (I've since come to realize that there are that many or more older guys checking you out surreptitiously as well. But that would be a different chapter.)
Billy noticed our lack of decorum and whispered that it was not polite to stare at people in the nude. He said it made them feel uncomfortable. So we got our first lesson in looking whilst pretending you aren't really looking. We just weren't very good at it yet. That is something that improves with age.
Well, there were some older boys, friends evidently, who were all in the shower at once. These four boys, younger than my brother Dick, were being loud and joking with one another. One of the boys had noticed me n' Jimmy staring and had elbowed his closest friend and nodded towards us. They looked at each other and grinned.
One of them says, loud enough for us to hear, “Oh Gerry, my dick thinks it's a puppy dog's tail!” He wiggles his hips side to side to make his wiener shake back and forth. This makes Jimmy giggle.
His friend says, “My puppy dog's tail wants to sniff your butt,” and he walks behind his friend. That causes us both to laugh out loud.
Billy had finished putting on his swim suit and locked his clothes in a locker. He wandered over to the shower and told the boys, “how about if I kick your puppy dog tails up into your puppy dog bellies? Would that stop the wagging?”
All four boys then crowded together under one shower head and looked, wide eyed, at my brother. Jimmy threw his hand over his mouth and was giggling like crazy. “Puppy dog tails,” he repeats. “C'mon Paul. Let's get our puppy dog tails into the swimming pool.”
We wander out into the pool area. Rachel, who is Billy's girlfriend, and Sam, are waiting for us. Rachel says, “Samantha is going to have the lifeguard watch as she swims the length of the lap pool and back. That will give her the permission she needs to swim in the deep pool.”
She looks at us boys and says, “your Mother says you can't swim, so you two will have to stay in the shallow area of the family pool that's marked off with the floating rope. Later on your brother and I might give you some lessons, okay?” Well, we nod our heads dutifully and then me 'n Jimmy walk over to the family pool.
There are five pools all together. One end of the building has a really deep pool with a high diving board. The opposite end of the building has the lap pool with lanes for racing in. This is the pool Sam and Rachel are at. Between the deep pool and lap pool is the family pool. On one side of the family pool is the kiddy pool. It's about a foot and a half deep. The opposite side of the family pool is a pool for old geezers. It has hot water and makes noisy bubbles. The family pool though is where all the action is at. It's just right for us older kids. It starts at 3 feet and tapers to 4 foot. There's a rope between the three and four foot sections so shorter kids aren't drowning all the time.
Wow, this place is ginormous. Since the building is made of cement blocks, every sound echos like crazy. Fifty or so kids guarantees an extremely high volume of sound that bounces off the water, the walls, the windows and the roof.
There are a set of stairs at the extreme shallow end leading into the family pool. We both work our way into the water one step at a time. It wasn't cold or anything, maybe just a bit on the cool side. It was the trepidation of the big pool in itself that caused our slow ingress into the water. And, of course, during the whole time, it was important to act as though it was no big deal whatsoever.
A casual yawn while sliding the foot forward to feel the edge of the next step with the big toe. Two hands firmly gripping the chrome handrail leading down the center of the steps. Jimmy on one side, me on the other.
There were probably only three steps total leading down to the three foot depth of the pool at this end. I'm quite certain we would have made the final two steps with dignity and aplomb but for a set of circumstances. The circumstance was a little boy, perhaps three to four years old, who came racing down the steps behind me. When he reached me he didn't stop his forward momentum one little bit. To explain it the way my brother Dick would have done, “The little pigeon-toed, buck-toothed fart-sniffer knocked me ass over tea-kettle.” Now, those words aren't for my Mother's ears because I'm tired of Lifeboy tongue scrubbings!
But, I definitely felt a sense of panic when I found myself propelled face first into the pool. The surprise had caused an intake of breath which, let's face it, doesn't draw all that well underwater. I was in full panic mode now, flailing my arms and legs and coughing up pool water. It was as though my brain didn't register that I was in water shallow enough to stand up in. My imagination had me in the depths of the ocean.
This is where it starts to get embarrassing. Jimmy, of all people, dashed to my rescue and pulled me up and got my face out of the water. When I realized that he was standing in tit deep water, the panic dissolved.
“Wow, Paul! That was great! You was almost swimming there for a second. If you didn't count the drowning part.”
“Aw, Jimmy,” I explain between coughs, “I wasn't drowning. I just breathed in some water is all.” I start casually looking around to see who all had witnessed my panicky introduction to the pool. And a number of mothers and littler kids were smiling or else downright grinning at me. I know I started coloring up like a stop sign.
This is when a lady leads a little tot over to where we're standing. “Bobby,” she says, “tell this boy how bad you feel for knocking him over.”
This little kid was so short that the water came up to just below his chin.
“I sowwy,” he says.
I decided to be magnanimous and tell him it was okay. His mother smiles at us and leads him over to the separate kiddy pool.
“Wow, Paul. That kid isn't afraid of the water one little bit, is he?
I realized that my rapid introduction had gotten me over my fear of the water myself. I decided I was going to respect it but not be afraid of it.
The lifeguard for the family pool sauntered over to our general area with a very long handled net. He stretched it out and scooped up something from the water. He'd observed my not too gracious entrance into the pool and noticed something that Jimmy and I had failed to observe. He decided to make a show of it. Reaching into his net, he announced, in a rather loud voice, “is anyone missing a small set of blue, boy's swimming trunks?” He holds them up and looks in my direction with a big ol' grin on his face.
Jimmy and I both look down and we can see my wiener! Oh my God... those are my trunks!!! I'd slid right out of them when I was flailing around in the water.
Now Jimmy is braying like a donkey cuz he thinks it's so funny. I suppose I can see the humor as well but I'm feeling a bit peckish that this guy would attempt to embarrass me. Jimmy leaned into me and whispered “do your wiggle dance for him, Paul.” Dang, sometimes Jimmy is that little devil that sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear. I don't recall that he's ever played the angel part though.
I grin back at Jimmy and go hard charging up the steps and out of the pool. The lifeguard wasn't expecting that and his jaw drops. Here is this totally naked six year old walking towards him! I'm dong my famous wiggle dance as I walk along. It's his turn to color up like a stop sign while I just snatch my trunks from him and step into them.
“Thanks Mister.” I tell him. “Could you tighten up the cord for me so they don't fall down again.”
“Uh, sorry kid. I'm not allowed to touch the patrons.”
“I don't want you touching my patrons either, Mister. Just tie up my suit, okay?” Duh... was the guy dense or what?
“No, no! I mean I'm not allowed to touch you or your swimming suit” he explains.
“Well that's just dumb” I say, rather loudly. “What if I'm drowning? How you gonna save me without touching me?”
He has a full head of steam built up now. He leans down so he can talk to me privately. “Save you? You little shit!” He whispers. ,“I'll kick you so hard you'll fly outa the pool and be dried off before you hit the cement!”
“Well,” I reply, “just as long as you don't kick me in my patrons. Now I gotta find my brother cuz I need this cord tied.
“Hey Jimmy.” I wave at him. “Come on out. We gotta find Billy to tie my cord.” I look up at the lifeguard. “I think I scared him with my patrons when I did my wiggle dance.”
“O'tay” Jimmy hollars back and gives me the BuckWheat wave. (We adopted this from the Our Gang Comedies.) He climbs the steps and we start walking towards the competition pool.
Standing at the pools edge we see just a few people swimming laps. Maybe Sam's already swum her laps and got her permission to use the deep pool and diving boards. The dive pool is on the opposite end of the building so we turn around and hike back the way we came.
That same lifeguard is watching us as we wander past the family pool once again and so me 'n Jimmy give him a grin and a BuckWheat wave.
“Gosh, Paul,” Jimmy says, “ if that guy fell into the pool the water would boil around him.”
We both spot Sam standing on the high diving board. Man, that thing is really up in the air. There are some bleachers next to the pool and Billy and Rachel are there, kind of leaning into each other, and watching Sam.
“Hey boys,” Rachel says. “How come you guys aren't playing in the pool.
“Because of this,” I answer and do a booty shake. My suit obediently drops to my ankles. “I need somebody to tie my cord.”
They both sort of semi-fly off the bleachers in my direction. Billy grabs my suit and yanks it up.
I hear Sam laughing from the high dive. “No wiener wagging, Paul.” She yells out. I give her a wave.
Billy has me standing up in the bleachers so he doesn't have to bend over to reach the cord on my suit. I'm watching Sam as she jumps, feet first, off the high dive. That would scare the poop outa me.
“Aha...” Billy announces. “No knot! We'll have these retied in just a second kid.”
Sam swims over and climbs out of the pool. She was grinning when she walked over to us.
“I was on the high board and saw you walk out of the pool naked and talk to the lifeguard. I liked your little dance.”
“Hahahahaha...” Jimmy is just vibrating in mirth! “That was Paul's famous wiggle dance. Hahahahaha...”
I grin at Sam and tell her, “I don't think that lifeguard likes me so much any more. He said he'd kick my butt and I'd fly outa the pool.” Then I whisper “only he didn't say butt he said ass.”
“Wow, Paul. Already making friends I see,” she said, jokingly.
“What's this? Is this something I want to know about?” Asks my brother.
Jimmy's doing his donkey laugh again. “Paul got pushed in the pool by a little kid and lost his swim suit. The lifeguard held the suit up for everyone to see just to embarrass Paul. I guess he didn't think Paul would walk up to him naked to get his suit back.”
Now Sam is laughing. “And he does the cutest little dance on the way to the lifeguard. The man turned rooster red.”
Billy wasn't sure he was okay with where this conversation was going until Jimmy described the lifeguard as deliberately trying to embarrass his little brother. “What's this wiggle dance? Show it to me. BUT... with your suit on.”
I kind of hump over with my rear end sticking way out and swish it back and forth as I'm walking. I walk a couple of steps then stop and wiggle, wiggle, a couple more steps and then wiggle, wiggle. “Like that” I say.
“Well, that's not so bad, I suppose,” he answers. “I pictured you doing the puppy dog wag like that boy did in the shower. Waving your butt isn't as bad as waving your dick, I guess.”
I quickly drop my suit to my feet and start doing the puppy dog waggle. No sense doing anything part way my Father always told me. Jimmy and Sam bend over laughing. Billy kinda jerks back in surprise and, wide eyed, he bends down and yanks my suit up.
He pulls it up too high though and I shout... “HEY, it's not supposed to go into my bum hole, Billy!”
My brother is bright red and he's kinda glancing around to see if anyone is watching this clown show. A few people are. I heard some girls giggling. Rachel has her head bent down with her hand across her face. She has a smile though so I know she ain't upset or anything.
I realize I may have taken things a bit too far in joking around. I don't want Billy upset so he wont take me places again.
“Are you okay, Billy?”
He looks at me with a “what the hell do you think” expression on his face.
“Sorry, big brother,” I reply. But then the devil seems to get into me again and I say, “you'd feel a lot better if you did the puppy dog dance with me and Jimmy.”
Rachel's laughing out loud now and she nods her head yes. “Yeah, Billy. Why don't you and Paul and Jimmy do the puppy dog dance? Hahahaha. Maybe you could sing 'How Much Is That Doggy in the Window' while you dance.”
Billy grins back at her. “And I guess you'd want us in top hats and holding canes, wouldn't you?”
She's still chuckling and she just nods her head yes.
There's a certain lifeguard looking over at us like he'd like to say something but my brother's bigger than he is so he'll just keep his mouth shut. Jimmy spots him and gives him the BuckWheat wave.
Jimmy cups his hands around his mouth and shouts over to the lifeguard, “everything is o'tay!”
Billy looks down at us, takes a deep breath and lets it out. “Sam, I turn these two over to you. I absolve me and Rachel of all responsibility. I might come bail the three of you out of jail, but that's it. You are in charge.”
Sam is having such a good time. She grins at my brother's disclaimer and says, loudly, “troop... about face!!”
Me and Jimmy spin around and face her. Three kids all giggling.
“Yes General sir.” Jimmy says. We snap to attention and Then Jimmy sticks his cupped hand under his armpit and, clamping down with his arm, he makes fart noises.
“Wow...” I state, incredulously. My jaw is hanging open. This is the very first time I'd seen that done! “How'd you do that, Jimmy?”
Jimmy does it again and me and Sam copy him. Soon there are three kids standing at the edge of the dive pool making fart sounds. In the meantime, my brother is quickly leading Rachel away by the hand. She is still laughing. Billy is not.
Sam clears her throat and announces, in a grown up tone, that we need to play a game that will keep us two out of trouble. Jimmy giggles and says “don't you know we can find trouble without looking for it? Ha-ha... trouble stands next to Paul's bed waiting for him to get up in the morning.”
“Okay, okay, I believe you, I really do. But we are going to the family pool and play Marco Polo. Follow me.”
We follow behind Sam in single file like we are her chicks. We don't sound like chicks though because Jimmy is still making fart noises. The family pool lifeguard has an “ah, nuts” look on his face as we step down into his pool.
Do you guys know how to play this game? Two heads shake 'no'. “Okay, it's simple. We play tag. The person you tag becomes "it" and tags the next person. But the one that's it has to have their eyes closed. AND I MEAN NO CHEATING! You find the other players by saying MARCO out loud. They have to reply back to you POLO.”
“So, have you simps got it?” Jimmy nods his head yes and so I follow suit. “Okay then, I'll start by being "it". Now, we can't go into the four foot section cuz I don't want you two drowning. I'm gonna close my eyes and yell MARCO. What are you guys gonna do?
Jimmy... “make fart noises.”
Me... “wag my wiener at the lifeguard.”
“Very funny. You don't wanna make ME mad. Cuz you'll spend the rest of the day in the kiddy pool!”
“Gulp... Polo, Polo, Polo” I say.
She squeezes her eyes shut and yells “Marco!”
Jimmy and me repeat “Polo”.
She waves her hands around and moves forward. She walks maybe two feet and bumps right into Jimmy. This causes her to open her eyes.
“Ya know, Jimmy. It IS okay to try and stay away from me. You're supposed to try NOT to get caught.”
“Oh, I get it. That makes it more better. I was thinking this game was pretty stupid.”
“Do it again, Sam.”
She closes her eyes and turns around. “Marco” she yells.
Then Sam gets a real surprise. Probably 30 kids all yell out “polo” at the same time. Sam's eyes spring open and she looks around.
“Raise your hands if you're playing” she yells out. And a whole bunch of kids do. The older ones, maybe twelve and over, don't wanna play with a bunch of young kids so they don't raise their hands.
We end up having a really good game with lots of kids. Me and Jimmy make some friends that we probably won't see again. They give me the nickname “Wiener Boy” and they call Jimmy “Fart Man.” When they tried to think of a name for Sam they just received her famous stare and that changed their minds real quick.
On the way home Sam announced that her day was perfect. I agreed. Jimmy would have too but he'd fallen asleep.
Next week Sam finds our poopy graveyard. And you need to find your way to your email program and send me an email. Until next week, this is the former wiener boy signing off.