I couldn’t wait to go visit my in-laws at their new home in a 55+ retirement community right outside of Las Vegas. I’d been told about the countless activities, pools, and feisty old people driving golf carts instead of cars—I was psyched to see it all in action.
When we arrived, we saw how right they were. However, there was one thing we didn’t expect: my 15-year-old stepson was basically the human equivalent of a steaming pile of poop. We learned this the hard way as we tried to visit one of the community’s five million pools one day.
All five of us rolled up to the clubhouse with the nicest pool around 10 am, totally ready to make it a day. Debbie, a senior friend of my in-laws who was 500x more fabulous than me, met us there too because we needed three individual residents to get our three individual guest passes…because that’s not a pain in the ass at all.
The older gentleman sitting behind the desk seemed like someone who used to work in a job where he was extremely unappreciated and/or made to feel like a crap on a daily basis. For example, I see him celebrating his 50th birthday while managing a Jamba Juice, or maybe teaching U.S. history to middle schoolers while simultaneously fantasizing about killing himself. Those feelings of self-loathing had clearly carried over into his retirement—you could tell by the way he leaned back in his chair and showed little to no emotion.
“Hi! We have three guests for the pool!” my precious mother-in-law chirped as she approached the desk.
Norman Bates didn’t say anything for a minute and then pointed through our group to my stepson standing in the back.
“How old is he?” he asked. His tone of voice was similar to how you would say “Is that gross blotchy rash contagious?”
“He’s 16,” my mother-in-law replied, figuring she’d give him an extra year of age…juuust in case.
“Nope, gotta be 19 to use this pool. You can come back from 1-4 pm because that’s when it’s open for kids,” he said matter-of-factly and ever so pleased with himself. “The other community center down the road has the pool open from 10 am – 1 pm. You can go there instead.”
“Oh come on, it’s not like he’s going to bother anyone! Just let him in!” Debbie pushed.
At that moment, you could see desk guy having flashbacks to high school when the pretty girls would trick him into doing things that got him in trouble. He was not going to be fooled by beauty again in his golden years—he was going to stand up to all the cool kids that were trying to pressure him into not being a total dick.
We knew that Mr. Jamba Juice was a lost cause, so we piled into the mini van and drove over to the other community center. There was a gentleman at that desk who seemed like he had a past life similar to the other dude, but he was nice to us because we were following his rules.
We got into our suits, did the required pre-pool shower (does that really do anything?) and walked out into the sunshine. The pool was huge, sparkling blue, and there were all sorts of adorable old people in it.
CRITICAL LIFE TIP: If you’re chubby and want to feel confident in a bathing suit for once in your life, go swimming in a retirement community. I felt like Cindy Crawford. Or Gigi Hadid. Or whatever supermodel I can reference that you dang Millennials will know.
I walked down the steps into the pool with my husband, stepson, and father-in-law; my mother-in-law was hanging out on the sidelines under an umbrella. We all dunked under the water, talked about how happy we were, and just started to get comfortable when we heard:
“EVERYBODY NEEDS TO GET OUT OF THE POOL! THERE’S BEEN A HEALTH EMERGENCY.”
A health emergency? WTF is a health emergency? Is this the part where I get AIDS?
We all stared at her blankly for a minute because we didn’t quite understand what was happening.
“I’M NOT KIDDING. POOL IS CLOSED FOR THE DAY. PLEASE GET OUT NOW.”
Confused still, we began getting out of the pool. My mother-in-law walked up to the woman who had to make the bizarre announcement to ask her what was going on. The woman paused for a second, collected herself, and whispered:
“Someone had an accident in the pool.”
“Number one or number two?!” my mother-in-law asked.
“…number two. In one of the lap lanes. I heard her say she had to get out of the pool and that she had to go the bathroom—and then I saw it in the water. She’s insisting she didn’t do it, but she did.”
The poor employee looked like a deer in headlights and gestured discreetly to the 100-year-old corpse of a woman that was 5-foot-nothing and approximately 70 pounds. The butt of her one-piece bathing suit was hanging down loosely—possibly because she had a non-existent ass, but more likely because she’d dropped a load off at the pool that had expanded the limits of the elastic in her suit.
“Who is that?” my mother-in-law whispered to the woman.
“…Nancy…” was all she could muster up. “I’m so sorry, I know it was a pain for you guys to find a pool that was open for kids. I can call down to the other clubhouse to see if they will let you in early.”
I was half listening to this conversation happen, half watching the one remaining old dude in the pool. He was in the lane next to Nancy’s and had a snorkeling mask; he was holding it up to his face to try to get an up close and personal look at the floating feces show. I was in awe watching him study the poop cloud.
We didn’t know what else to do at that point, so we just all had to laugh at how stupid our day had been. We grabbed our stuff and headed for the main lobby. The woman was waiting for us there.
“I called up to the other pool to tell them what happened and ask if you could go swimming over there…he said you could go back there at 1,” she offered.
The suicidal history teacher struck again. He did not care that someone had pooped on our pool day. He was bound by the rules of the retirement community pool and he certainly wasn’t going to bend them because Nancy’s sphincter muscles weren’t what they used to be.
I will never forget, though, Desk Guy on a Power Trip. I will always remember you. And next time we visit my in-laws and see you again at the pool, I can’t guarantee the state of my bowels. Maybe I’ll eat an entire plate of barbecue pulled pork nachos before. Maybe I’ll drink a pot of coffee. Or maybe I’ll do both.
And by the time you realize what has happened in a deep, dark corner of “your” pool, it will be too late. I will simply lean over and whisper into your ear:
“This one’s for Nancy.”