Wednesday, August 24, 2016


The 2016 Summer Olympics just wrapped up for another four years. My wife is a fan of the Olympics and looks forward to watching. I, on the other hand, am not a fan. However, this year I watched more Olympic competition than I had in my entire life. Every evening, beginning with the head-scratchingly odd opening ceremony, Mrs. P and I sat on the sofa opposite our new, high-definition, flat screen TV and watched every prime-time broadcast. Actually, it was on the television and we glanced up when we heard cheers or gasps. Mostly, we fiddled with our phones. She played Candy Crush and checked the status of her various eBay auctions. I checked Instagram and tweeted sarcastic observations about the Olympics. Mrs. Pincus went to visit family in Virginia Beach during the second week of the Olympics and I didn't watch a single second of the games, choosing instead to catch up on a few bad movies I had DVRed. However, when she returned, we again watched together until the closing ceremony.

I'll tumble 4 U.
I am fascinated by women's gymnastics. I can't figure out how a young lady, standing barely four-and-a-half feet tall, can exert enough power to bound on to a "horse," launch herself into the air a distance of twice her height, spin around in all directions and land gracefully on her feet. Only to have some judge knock off a few points because her right heel stepped back three inches. Hey, I'd like to see the judge try that. We marveled as 17 year-old British gymnast Ellie Downie flipped and fell on her neck during her floor exercise performance, her head crumpling underneath the full weight of her body. (Granted, it's only 117 pounds, but — jeez! — it's still 117 pounds!) Obviously shaken, Ellie attempted to continue her routine, but was soon helped off the mat by her coach. Moments later, she emerged from the training room to participate in the vault. Her coach cautioned her to try one vault. She waved him off, explaining, "If I can do one vault, I can do two." Ellie Downie, despite her petite stature, can kick your ass.

All together now.
One evening, Mrs. P and I watched something called "men's synchronized platform diving." an event I didn't know existed until I began watching it. Two toned young men in skimpy bathing suits leaped from a cement platform, twisting, flipping and turning all the way down until they broke the surface of the water, creating only the slightest of splashes. The whole display reminded me of the famous Groucho/Harpo "mirror scene" from the classic film Duck Soup, only not nearly as funny. I noticed when the divers emerged from the pool, they made a bee-line for the showers situated just behind the tall diving platforms. Every one of them. They stood for a long time under the rushing stream of water, making sure every inch of their exposed skin was rinsed. Some massaged their own scalps rather vigorously. I didn't think too much about this until I saw that, over the next few days, the pool used for diving had turned a bright and nauseating shade of green. The official cause was... actually, there were several explanations offered and several fingers pointed. Everything from improper chemical treatments, to lack of chemical treatments to contractor issues. This is the Olympics, for crissakes! The world's athletic stage. NBC is sinking nearly 11 billion dollars into this thing. International companies are paying top dollar for sponsorship. Can't you get a guy with one of those long-handled nets and a bucket of chlorine to clean that shit up?

...and it was all yellow.
While looking up "Olympic swimming" on Google (I was sort of getting into this), I came across a very disturbing article. Very, very disturbing. Several swimmers, divers and other water-sports athletes were asked if they "pee" in the pool. The overwhelming reply was "yes." Wait. Let me amend that. The overwhelming reply was "Of course!" As though it was the obvious answer with absolutely no alternative. They said there is no time to constantly get out of the pool for a bathroom visit. It would drastically cut into training time and be detrimental to their performance. One Olympian even went so far as to say, "If a swimmer tells you they don't pee in the pool, they're lying," Didn't they listen to Mom? Or the lifeguard? Or the code of decency? Or common-fucking-sense? The question was answered with pride. Like peeing in a swimming pool was some sort of "rite of passage." That's not all. I found out, later in the same article, that the unmistakable smell of "swimming pool" is not the natural scent of chlorine (as we have always been led to believe). No. That smell is chloramines, which is created from a reaction of chlorine mixing with urine. Yes sir! People have always been peeing in pools! Chlorine has no smell. It has to be pissed on in order to smell like chlorine. Also, that burning sensation you get in your eyes when you go under water in a pool? Yeah, that's chlorine's reaction to piss, too.

Lie detector.
Recently, Mrs. Pincus and I returned from our fourth cruise in four years. While packing for each of those trips, I never considered taking a bathing suit. Hell, I don't even own a bathing suit. I haven't set foot (or any other body part) in a public swimming pool in years. Years! My feeling was: I wouldn't want to bathe with a bunch of strangers. When you think about it, how different is swimming in a pool from bathing? Some people actually feel that the two concepts are interchangeable. I always shunned swimming with the excuse: "There ain't enough chlorine in the world to get me to go into a pool with a bunch of strangers." Now that I know chlorine is actually the tattletale for pool-pissers, I stand by my reasoning. Except now, the reason has changed.

Still think a dip in the pool is relaxing?

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