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Read, then jump: Doug’s Pool Rules

Are you ready, kids?

Monday is the big day when two of Spokane’s brand new swimming pools open for summer splashing fun.

And you know what that means?

That’s right. By Wednesday many of you dog paddlers and backstrokers will be headed to the doctor with painful ear infections caused by sharing the water with a mass of grubby aquatic humanity.

OK. I’m sure the city alchemists will dump just the right amount of toxic chemicals into the pools to kill all the plague germs, swine flu, anthrax, nasal runoff, spittle and DNA residue from the Band-Aid that sloughed off the left knee of that weird kid, Jimmy.

Pool chemistry is tricky, though.

Too little will turn the water into a nasty bacterial soup À la Michael Phelps’ bong water. Too much will turn the swimmers into a school of hairless albinos.

Have you seen our new pools?

Neither have I.

But from what I read in the paper, Spokane really pulled out all the stops to get the Shadle and A.M. Cannon pools open at noon Monday.

The original plan was to open six new pools, but you know how the city is with deadlines. I’m confident, however, that the other four will be ready for swimmers when the first snow starts falling in November.

But these two finished pools have everything: towering tubes for sliding, water playgrounds, fountains, metal detectors to seize the weapons from synchronized swimming gang members …

Every time I think of all the loot we poured into these swimming pools rather than fixing the streets, well, my heart inflates like a plastic pool toy with civic pride.

Not that I plan to ever take a dip.

A public pool is the last place you’d ever want to unveil a fat body like mine. I don’t even like to take my shirt off during my private showers.

But I’d still like to help. Here’s a list of Doug’s Pool Rules that every swimmer should memorize before taking the plunge.

1. Always use the buddy system. Having a buddy with you makes it much easier to mug someone for money to cover the new Spokane pool fees.

2. Never de-trunks a fat kid in the deep end. This is rude and dangerous. Anything in the shallow end, however, is fair game.

3. Call it a cliché if you will, but the ol’ Baby Ruth in the pool is still a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

4. Nobody wants to see your cannonballs.

5. Surefire public pool pickup line for guys: “Hey there, baby. I’m the new Spokane police omsudsman.”

6. What happens in the bath house stays in the bath house.

7. Swim away fast from any kid who says, “Hey, watch me make Jacuzzi bubbles.”

8. The five-second rule doesn’t apply when you drop your gum in a public swimming pool.

9. Surefire public pool pickup line for gals: “Excuse me, my bikini top is missing. Could you help me find it?”

10. Two words: No Speedos!

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or


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