Swimming pools are loaded with chemicals. This is a good thing… just think about the icky germs people have all over them. Chlorine is masterful at eliminating these germs, if applied in the correct manner and in the right amounts. It isn’t as simple as it may seem, keeping these chemicals balanced. Well, it’s simple enough for teenagers to keep it under control, if they’ve been trained correctly.

But an untrained individual with more eagerness than ability can really make a mess of things if they get their hands on these chemicals. There are two possible outcomes to a mix-up with these chemicals. The first result is a really nasty looking pool.

One of the more prominent members of the pool board one summer really wanted to make a great impression. It was the first full day that the pool was open, Memorial Day Weekend. He wanted the pool to be pristine…to sparkle and shine. What could be a more logical than to put extra chlorine in the pool? Hey, I was seventeen, I probably would have done the same thing. But I would have been wrong, because that day, Mr. Board Member only managed to make the pool a foggy, milky-looking swamp. It was hilarious, mostly because this board member was always making things harder for himself and for the lifeguards. This was no exception, except there was absolutely nothing that could be done to fix it. Hahahaha. Still makes me giggle to this very day.

The second outcome is just as messy. But more of a big, fiery mess type of messy.

 There were two occasions during my tenure as a lifeguard (both occurring in the same summer as the Memorial Day Marsh described above) where we had to call the fire department because the very same board member put the wrong type of chlorine in the “chlorinator,” causing some semi-explosive results. Great fun. It was funnier the second time the same board member didn’t learn from his earlier error and did the same thing over again. Genius. For real. At least we got to shut down the pool for a little while! That is the ultimate goal of every lifeguard – find a way to get the kids out of the pool as frequently as possible.