Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The grass is NOT always greener on the other side

South Africa VS the World
I consider myself fortunate to live in the beautiful country of South Africa. Many people residing outside of the African continent are unaware of South Africa's schizophrenic / bipolar tendencies. Meaning we are blessed / cursed with a combination of first world and third world populations residing side by side.  Does South Africa have problems? Oh yes! Do we have awesome weather? Not last week, it was freezing Yes! Are loads of people packing their bags and heading for greener pastures? For sure! Here in sunny SA we tend to think of first world countries as better, more advanced, with better educated citizens. However, recently this has been called into question (in my humble opinion) after getting an email from my sister who resides in the United States.

Humour History
At this point I think it only fair to warn you that my sister and I have been known to share the enjoyment of a bit of "toilet humour" from time to time [please note we did not, I repeat NOT inherit this trait from my mother who always has and will, try to encourage me to follow in her footsteps and be a lady. I needed to mention this due to the constant threat during my childhood of being sent to a finishing school. Apparently I'm still not finished - I'm a work in progress!] Yes I am that mother who snickers along with her children as they discover the joy of air expulsion from various parts of their bodies and I find some delicate situations so funny that I am rendered useless to assist a person in need. This has strained some friendships along the way. Let me give you a couple of examples of which I am not proud, but I still find extremely funny:

Bad Friend Alert 
In Standard 8 (grade 10) my friend and I were walking home after school and we came upon an open manhole. Without missing a word, I sidestepped the manhole, as I expected her to, but instead she disappeared down said manhole and I almost collapsed laughing. One second she was there and the next she was gone! I did eventually manage to get her out but she ended up having to go to the Emergency Room to have her entire leg bandaged - oops! This cartoon always reminds me of that incident. >>>>>>

Bad Mother Alert
Remember my post a few years back about hubby, trying to be spontaneous and throwing an Easter egg at 3 year old Bacon and it smacking her in the face? She burst into tears. Where was I? Was I comforting my crying child? No. I ran outside so that she wouldn't see me crying with laughter! Read Bacon and Eggs if you missed it.

So when I opened the email that my sister sent me, which was a photo of a sign, spotted on the gate of a public pool in first world California, I almost got my herbal tea to spray right out my nose!

The Sign

Now many many questions spring to mind when reading this sign (and none of them are pretty).

My first concern is that surely the sign would not have been printed if this wasn't a recurring problem in local pools - eeeewwww who knew??  Secondly, the word "active" has a strong link (in my mind) to a volcano, so I am pondering whether the author was deliberating over the use of the wording "active diarrhea" or "exploding diarrhea." Perhaps "exploding" would be seen as too inflammatory. It has not yet been verified whether "confirmation of non-activity" forms are required to be signed, as it would be easy to identify the culprit, unless there was more than one...... let's not go there! As the need for signs increase, the marketer in me begins to wonder whether perhaps there is a sponsorship opportunity for KOO or All Gold (or similar US baked bean brands) to "get in on the action."

Scene Re-enactment
I'm fascinated as to who, after spending most of the night perched on the throne, releasing half their body weight, would think "phew, thank goodness that's over, now let me hit the public pool."  Picture it - you're happily enjoying the cool waters of your local pool, when you lazily notice John* [not his real name] from down the road, enter the water. You don't take much notice but have a vague idea of him also swimming carefree, enjoying the pool, but suddenly he stops. What's wrong? A pained expression crosses John's face. Without warning there is a powerful surge and he is quickly engulfed by a brown cloud that is steadily increasing in size! Quick as a flash, John begins swimming, quite rapidly, in the opposite direction in an attempt to distance himself from the incriminating brown cloud which seems to be rushing towards your chrystal-clear section of paradise. It takes you a while to fully comprehend the gravity of the situation, but your mind harks back to the sign on the pool gate! Oh no, this is what they were warning you about!! You put Chad le Clos to shame as you race to the side of the pool and leap out of the water just as you hear the panic-stricken instruction over the PA system "CODE BROWN CODE BROWN!!" Mass hysteria follows. Everyone starts screaming as they scan the pool for the proximity of the brown cloud, mothers frantically search for their children and the pool is cleared faster than if there had been a shark in the water. While the swimmers try to squeeze 5 people under one shower head, the pool attendants have hastily cordoned off the pool area and their fecal cleaning operation has commenced. Damn that John not waiting the full 14 days!!

This brings me to........

Awkward Conversations
I can just imagine how this could start some really awkward conversations e.g.
"Hey John! Didn't you see the sign?"

Or better yet:
"Hi Stacey, I'm in your 10th grade maths class. Wanna meet me at the pool later for a swim?"
"Sorry Steve, it's only been 13 days......"
"What do you mean 13 days?  Oooh... um .... ok never mind." *delete number and wash hands*

A quick Google search provided another sign, which I found even more disturbing (if that is possible). Swallowing the water is also a problem! OMG!! this just gets worse and worse! Is this controllable? I'm assuming it must be, if you're warned not to do it. Often I'm in the pool and think "gee I'm thirsty, where could I get a nice cool drink? Oh wait...... I'm surrounded by masses of cool water, let me take a long cool drink of the water right next to me!" *NOT!!!*

I found this sign to be particularly polite. You can swim, but not right now. 14 days is not an issue for this pool. But this sends mixed messages. Do I want to swim here instead? Or do I prefer the safety of the 14-days-policy pool?

This got me thinking, do you remember this scene from the movie Caddy Shack? They drained the country club pool and then the problem was eaten? Hahaha loved that!

But seriously now, thank goodness someone had the presence of mind to introduce this sign, imagine what the pools were like before! Now I don't mean to muddy the waters (pun intended), but everyone knows the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side" and perhaps you also know the amended version that it is only greener because there is more turd on that side?  Unlike some first world countries, in SA we like to keep our anal expulsions out of our pools. But don't get me wrong, we love our signs and when swimming is a problem we're the first to admit it. I've added a few examples.

You see. SA is not for sissies. We help you where we can (by advising you not to breathe under the water) and then leave it up to you, like in Port Alfred, if you get into trouble we tell you where you can get lifesaving equipment (you just need to go get it).

Last Word
In conclusion it is clear, that in South Africa we don't need poop signs for our pools because obviously we don't have this problem. Don't argue with me!! If there is no sign, there is NO PROBLEM!!

[Note to self: NEVER EVER EVER swim in a public pool ever again - with or without a sign!]