Poop Water: A Story of Hot Tub Phobia


I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat. Well, a boat. Just one boat … anything to keep me from submerging. You see, I really enjoy being atop the water and water adjacent but, as summer comes to a close, I’ve decided to own that I have a pretty severe case of Hydrophobia, or fear of the water. When I was little, I would swim from morning until night, and would even complain when my mother would drag me out of the pool, kicking and screaming. My skin would be completely pruned, my eyes were bloodshot, and every orifice reeked of chlorine.

The change somewhat happened gradually, I guess. When I was in graduate school, I used to take the kids I worked with to the pool all the time. I think it was right around that time that I used to let my mind actually think about what they did in the pool and, mostly, why they never had to go to the bathroom even though we’d be in there for hours. Huh.

It was right around this time that I also had an incident. I guess I should refer to it as THE INCIDENT. I was living in Colorado at the time, enjoying the carefree single life. My brother and I had friends in town, and we took them white water rafting. My bro had gotten us a couple of rooms at a 5-star hotel in Vail through his work. As a dirt-poor graduate student, this was huge. I imagined caviar, spa time, and being fed grapes by the pool boy. Okay, so I might have oversold the idea to myself, but still. White water rafting was a total bust, as it was freezing and sleeting on us. After a half-day on the water, we couldn’t wait to get in the hot tub at the hotel. We’d been in there for about 10 minutes when I let my gaze linger a little too long on the bubbles around us. That’s when I saw it or, rather, them. In the bubbles was an eerily dense gathering of pubes. Pubes, people! Pubic hair! When I pointed it out to the others, we dived in the pool and screamed and yelled and dry heaved for a good long time. We made a pact never to speak of this incident again. Oops. I’ve dissected this story in my mind several times. Why the pubes? Why so many? Did two hairy Europeans go at it just before we got in? Did someone give themselves a trim while hot tubbing? So many questions.

I can honestly say I’ve never fully submerged in another hot tub since that day. My toes and feet have made occasional appearances just to make my kids happy. But that’s the extent of that. What is it with kids and their fascination with hot tubs anyway? And why do so many hotels allow these little cretins in them? They are booger-picking, crotch-itching little beings who can’t wipe their own asses with any skill whatsoever. And yet, there they are, sitting next to you in the hot tub. I was recently at a hotel pool that had at least 50 kids in there at the same time. It was like a giant serving of steaming hot shit soup. Of course, it doesn’t help that every once in a while an article will come out about how much feces is in these hot tubs. In case you’re wondering, there is approximately a tablespoon of poop for every five people. Go ahead and do the shit math on the hotel pool I was just referring to. And, people, you can get Hot Tub Rash, Legionnaire’s Disease, and Pontiac Fucking Fever. Hot tubs are trying to kill us!

I wish I could say that I was better with pools. I guess I am a touch in that I usually fully submerge about once a summer. I smile and wave and laugh, all the while thinking about the sign hanging on the fence about active diarrhea. In my head, I’m silently accusing everyone around me. “I know you have active diarrhea!” “And you, too!” “And you with the bad pair of flip-flops and toe fungus. You’re probably having diarrhea right now,” I think accusingly. Smile and wave, people. Smile and wave. And if you’ve ever been swimming in the pool at Tao Beach in Las Vegas, you might have wondered (like me) whether STDs can be transmitted by water. If they can, we could have all benefitted from some body condoms and a heavy dose of antibiotics. And can you even imagine how many bodily fluids have found their way into the hot tub at the Bachelor Mansion? Shivers.

Then there are lakes and oceans! Man, I love nothing better than taking boats out. Honestly, it’s, like, my favorite thing. I love hitting giant waves in the ocean and pointing out fish in the lake. I love the smell of it and the feel of the cool breeze hitting my face. But do you really expect me to get in that lake and rub my feet over seaweed that feels like mushy pig intestines? And you want me to do walk alongside you in the ocean doing the stingray shuffle? Have you ever even watched Shark Week? I watched it once and heard the narrator say, “If anyone ever knew what was swimming next to them at any given time, they’d never go in the ocean.” Aaaaaaand we’re done here.

Look, I don’t mean to be defensive, but I must come out and say that I’m not a bad mom. I’m the mom who catches frogs with my boys. We have two lizards. We have two dogs. I had a reptile birthday party for one my boys. I play baseball with my boys on the regular. I have even recently conquered my fear of LEGOLAND, thank you very much (not the water park—sorry). So I’m all about getting in there with them and getting my feet wet. But my feet might be my only body part.

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