With the reopening of fishing and golfing, I wonder when or if they’ll open up public pools again. Sadly, for some, I can guess it won’t be anytime soon. As a child without a pool at our house, we’d frequent these pools regularly during the summertime pissing season. I wasn’t a huge fan. Having two public piss stations in our neighborhood, neither of them were too pleasing for me, but wherever my brothers went, well, I was their shadow.
Thinking back, sans the deaths, I would have welcomed the Corona Virus. With the exception of one pool out of our neighborhood, I always thought of them as a possible death sentence amongst other unnatural disasters. Having few friends my own age, I glommed on to my brothers and their friends. They were all four to six years older, and took pretty good care of me, but there were countless times when they may not be present, thus fearing for my life and clothing. This was after my brother, Greg, witnessed his bicycle being stolen five feet from the fence barricading him between the thief and himself. Helplessly, he watched his bike and its new owner, bolt cutters in hand, laugh himself off into the distance.
Once, heading nearby to the same Mission Pool just on the next block past the corner of Mischief and Theft St., I proudly rode my bike to the pool in my brand new sneakers. After some swimming and diving into the blue/yellow liquid, making it green, I left after about an hour to find my shoes missing from the locker I had placed them. Clearly stolen, with no “witnesses”, or confirmed suspects, (all the deviant a-hole thieves working the locker room) holding back the tears, I rode home in my bare feet. Walking into our house, leaving a bloody trail from the bottoms of my feet, my mother asked where my new shoes were. It broke my heart to tell her they’d been stolen. It was the first pair of really nice shoes she’d ever purchased me. My very own. No hand me downs. Tom, my brother, four years older than me, knew some sleaze bag was prancing around with my shoes showing them off to his derelict family. He saw red. Enraged, Tom jumped on his ten speed, recklessly riding to the pool hoping to find the culprit. With a different pair of shoes, I trailed him by a few lengths witnessing, to no avail, him busting into the locker room without asking for permission. Tom was only around fifteen at the time, but as a varsity wrestler, he could lick most eighteen year olds in the valley. Although scaring the hell out of each employee, he was forced to leave by adult personnel. They were ready to call the fuzz. Knowing nothing good happens when cops enter a scene, he decided to leave without finding my shoes. If my brother, Greg, or the rest of our neighborhood gang had heard the news, they would have been right there with him. I never saw those shoes again, but they did lose my business.
On the other side of the valley was an even more sinister pool. This was Park Piss Pool. It was a piss dispensary. If the county could have figured out a way to fabricate fuel with this daily yellow mess, the world would be a far more efficient place. Gallons and gallons of urinary grime and disgust. However, it wasn’t the contents of the pool I despised the most. It was a boy, or perhaps man, who was most definitely mentally disturbed and just flat out mean. He scared any guts I may have had right out of me and countless others. While trying to drown me or any other child not practicing social distancing with him, he was a menace. I’m betting he was in his mid twenties. His name was Glenn B. He was also unfavorably known as The Park Penis. Before throwing him out for several counts of attempted murder by drowning, the pencil necked lifeguards would allow us to witness his grand finale. Looking like a six foot tall bowling pin, he’d make it safely to the diving board, pull down his bathing suit and piss into the deep and now deeper end of the pool. Then, he’d further amuse himself by doing a whopper of a belly flop directly into the strategic area of his urine, thus creating a tidal wave of yellow terror. Children would be screaming while pushing each other right and left with fright trying to find a tsunami safety zone. It was chaos. Before paying to get into the pool area, I’d refuse when I saw he was present. He’d be there most of the time. I’d stay on the monkey bars most of the time. While utterly baffling to me, they didn’t present him a lifetime ban for his ungentlemanly antics.
My father hated these stories, so on several occasions, weekends only, he’d take us to another public pool on the other side of town……..the West Side. It was here he introduced us to another world all together. Since our side of town was predominately white, we hadn’t really interacted with people of color, usually just cheering for them to race for the goal line on Saturdays or Sundays. Sure, we had a couple of hispanics in our neighborhood gatherings, in fact they were welcomed as a part of our group, but other than that, it was mostly Irish, Italian, German and British white trash. When we entered the West Side pool, we were outnumbered by blacks. There was a little staring on both sides, but I never felt anything but welcomed, and not one ounce of threat or violence. I liked this pool far better than the ones in our neighborhood. Years later, I gave praise to our father helping us not only acknowledge diversity, but embrace it. It was deliberate. So, I guess sometimes you have to experience ugliness before finding the right pool. It’s out there. Just please don’t cough, sneeze, or most vehemently, piss on me when you find it.
***Following the publication of this blog, I was quickly contacted by an actual member of our Spokane Valley community who was disturbed with a memory this blog dragged out of his wet heart which he hoped to be dead and buried. He had his own tale of Glenn B., A.KA. “The Park Penis”. Jeremy S. writes, “I’ll never forget him. He Kicked the living s–t out of me when I was at Park Pool. I might’ve been in fifth grade. I don’t remember what I said to him, but it had something to do with him bugging my younger brother, Andrew. He held me under water and punched me multiple times. It was frightening! I remember the lifeguards pulling him off me. The dude must have been 35 years old at the time of the beat down. I crawled out of that pool bawling.”
***Yet another Glenn B. story from my brother, Tom. He writes, “I will never forget that dude. He would walk up and down the line of everyone waiting to get into the pool and terrorize them. Shirtless with only tight shorts and cowboy boots, my friends, Joe and Ryan were waiting in line one day and Glenn slapped Joe and Ryan started crying. True story. He was a terror for sure. He also circumnavigated the neighborhood on his custom built low rider Schwinn bike with fake throttle handle grips and long plastic pom pom strings beneath.”
Oh, the wonderful 80’s.