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  • Luke Jones

Would you rather swim in the ocean, lake, or swimming pool?

Three options:

Mountainous, crashing waves that are the truest emissaries of chaos.

A carved out pocket of murky, mysterious solution that is sludge in some places and crystalline in others.

An artificial deposit of crystalline water that is pumped full of chemicals and strategically engineered to fight off nature’s degradative processes.

Me, I’ll take the third option nine times out of ten--the one exception being when a toddler has decided to empty the contents of his bladder into it.

Swimming pools are nice. They are clean, controlled, and you can see all the way down to, and along, the bottom. There are no sticks to stab you or crabs to pinch you.

However, pools remind me a bit of celebrities who have had copious amounts of plastic surgery.

Despite all of their efforts, and the masterful work of their surgeons integrating artificial compounds into their physiology, there always appears to be natural processes that are fighting back. Their appearances just aren’t quite right. The slightly discolored skin, or the wrinkle creases that culminate around the borders of their botox always find a way to peekthrough. That stuff stands out to me, kind of like the swirling masses of dead bugs on the surface of chlorinated swimming pools. No matter how much work mankind puts into combatting nature’s gunkiness, it always finds a way to creep back in. The funky remnants that reside around the edges of swimming pools set me on edge, but certainly less so than Mother Nature’s built-in swimming outlets.

The waves of the ocean are salty. This salt rubs all of your senses the wrong way. Get some ocean water in your mouth, and a bitter wave of gustatory repulsion washes over your taste buds. Soak some up your nose, and your sinuses feel like a hail storm is moving through and grating all of your raw nerve endings. The most unavoidable is the reaction between the salt water and your skin. Those gritty deposits of NaCl gradually grind and erode your body’s outer covering like a blanket of sandpaper over the course of the day.

Don’t even get me started on the sea creature skeletons and other discarded appendages that your toes are sure to intermingle with while you’re out there in the surf.

No ocean for me.

Lakes give me an eerie feeling. They present as serene and peaceful, but that’s before you take a dive below the surface. Most often, you can’t penetrate it with your eyes, so it takes a leap of faith to submerge yourself and hope you don’t get swallowed by a hidden sinkhole or skewer your foot on a lay fishing hook. I may be alone in this, but I also feel like I’m intruding on the wildlife’s domain when I swim in a lake. It’s hard to ignore that there are probably hundreds of fish, thousands of frogs, and--*shivers*--more mosquitoes than I’d ever like to think about within those depths.

You’re implanting yourself into an ecosystem. You know those things have hierarchies of predator and prey right? No, Jaws isn’t going to burst out from the depths, but how many species of blood-sucking insects do you think there are that just can’t wait to get a taste of you?

Your foot usually finds an off-putting texture on the bottom too, and so you frantically swim out to where it’s deep enough to avoid coming into contact with the slimy, or gritty, or debris-populated bottom. I’m not a fan of feeling insecure where man was built to feel most secure--on ground level.

Therefore, no lakes for me either.

Through reading this not-so-subtle discourse, you’ve probably figured out I’m not a huge fan of swimming or water in general. With that said, out of the ocean with its sandpaper waves, lakes with their insurmountable animal dwellings, and pools with their cosmetically cleaned appeal, I choose pools.

Pools are predictable, pools are clean.

Those other two outlets of nature are not--and I hate that.


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