Under the simmering sun yesterday, with a hundred hot people in their bathing suits, the big pool’s bright blue cube of water was suddenly still, and as empty as a mirror in an abandoned house.
“What’s this? Adult swim or something?” I asked, on coming out of the Ladies Locker Room where I had been holding a baby who, having only lived on the planet for 15 weeks, was definitely NOT happy about the heat.
Then five people at once said “Someone pooped in the pool!”
Not just the five-year-old walking beside me and the 12-year-old we were walking past but two 50-year-old moms and somebody’s grandfather.
And the lifeguards were confirming it.
In just that language.
It’s a new world, all right. In the old days no one dared refer to such events. There were euphemisms for everything. Why, when I was a little kid at summer camp, the counselors would ask us every night if we had had a ‘B.M.’ It took me years to even figure out what that was, and once I DID find out, I lied about it. What ten-year-old wants to divulge that information? (Hmmm though as I think of it now no wonder the camp nurse was always coming at me with the enema kit!)
But there were fake, cutesy names for everything then. Evasions. Circumlocutions.
One lunchtime at this same summer camp, two horses began wildly mating in the horse-riding ring, which was no more than a football field distant from the wide-windowed, screened-in dining hall where 75 young girls sat happily belting out the words to “Bingo Was His Name Oh”. On the camp director’s immediate hissed orders, six counselors leaped to their feet to bang the shutters down –
Which only made us kids think a kind of murder was being enacted.
I guess it really is better to call things as they are, and someday I’m sure I’ll get used to the word ‘poop,’ much as it makes me blush now. Anyway it’s better than the cruder alternative.