Pass the Salt, Please.

We always had a swimming pool in the backyard when I was a kid and we always had to follow the Food Rule meaning you had to wait 15 minutes after you ate before you could go back in the pool. That works if I eat a plain bologna sandwich on white bread, but a couple pieces of chicken, an ear of corn, roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted peppers, sweet potatoes and a salad may require a little more time. Give me an hour. I want to be sure I don’t sink to the bottom of the pool by diving in a bit prematurely.

The time should have been figured out based on pounds of food consumed versus body weight. If I weigh 160 pounds and I eat a pound of food, I probably need more time to process that amount than someone clocking in at 220.

The whole thing could have been much more organized rather than just throwing out a number of minutes that applies to everyone no matter what they ate or how much they weigh.

They could have set up a very simple system where, after every meal, Mom would give us a receipt for the amount of food eaten with a time stamp on it. Dad is outside manning the pool and he has a scale right there so everyone can get weighed before diving in. First, he would weigh us, then he would check the amount of food eaten and the time eaten from Mom’s receipt and from there determine the appropriate wait time. It doesn’t get any simpler than this.

Of course, there would be problems. If my friend Joey has a receipt that qualifies him to dive in right now but he doesn’t feel like it and you have one that says you have to wait 15 minutes but want to dive in right now, you swap receipts and no one will be the wiser. Or maybe we start “recalibrating” the scale.

But the biggest problem would be about the severe penalties if you got to the pool a few minutes later than Dad calculated for you only a few minutes earlier. It was pretty much the definition of a zero-tolerance policy where you were banished from the pool for the rest of the summer for being even a minute late once. Eventually, there would be protests across the neighborhood with everyone chanting “Pool Life Matters!”

Ultimately, the whole system would collapse when all the victims of Late Pool Arrival find power in numbers and file, and win, a multimillion dollar class action suit against the organization “Parents with Pools”.

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