This essay is from 7 years ago, but the website link is dead, so I’m reprinting, surrounded by family photos:
The Gold Rules of Peeing in the Pool
Since having children, my wife and I have fallen in love with the all-inclusive vacation. We sit by a pool, waitstaff bring us drinks, and when we want a break from the piglets, we put them in daycare. However, in Mexico, we had a little poolside confrontation. My wife and I lounged and watched Ava play with new friend 4-year-old Cody. To swim, Ava needs an inflatable ring. Cody saw her struggle, boasted he could swim “all by myself!”, then darted to the deep end to frolic with his mother. Ava had to pee, so my wife accompanied her to a nearby bathroom. When Cody returned, he asked why Ava had disappeared. I told him that Ava had to use the bathroom.
Cody said, “Why doesn’t she pee in the pool?”
“Because you can’t pee in the pool,” I said.
“Yes you can.”
“My mother told me I can.”
“No she didn’t.”
“Yes she did!”
I asked, “Do you swim in your toilet?”
Cody stood unfazed, shook his head, and repeated, “My mother said I can pee in the pool.”
With this, he hurtled his body into the water and zoomed back to his mother’s side. My wife returned and I told her about the little varmint. We shrugged it off and focused on our daughters until Cody returned and announced, “Hey! I just asked my mom and she said it’s okay. I can pee in the pool if I want!”
Then he jumped in and remained almost motionless for what seemed like 30 seconds. I looked at the water in front of the kid’s shorts and almost saw an inversion of warm urine and cool water forming convection currents. The waitress placed a beer by my side as if on cue and I grabbed the glass, went into the pool, and trudged to where the mother leaned against the pool’s edge.
“Hello. Um. I’m the father of Ava – the girl Cody’s playing with.”
“Oh, hi,” she said. We introduced. She hailed from Minnesota. We exchanged parental pleasantries, but before we went overboard praising offspring I said, “Cody told me he could pee in the pool, and that you gave him permission.”
I finished my beer with a large gulp.
Minnesota Mom said, “Yes. So? The pool’s chlorinated.”
I scrunched my face and closed my eyes for a few seconds, and then splashed and pushed water in her direction.
“Ahhhhh. I just relieved myself, but don’t worry, the water’s chlorinated.” I departed as expletives started to roll.
I returned and told my wife of the chat with Minnesota Mom, as well as my departing act.
“You didn’t really pee, did you?” My wife asked.
I said, “Of course not.” (And this will be the version I’ll tell my offspring.)
The mother and her son already had started to leave the pool area, hopefully the wiser. Yet for all that, what had I learned? Sophisticated logic confuses the hell out of me, the philosophies of “treat others as you would like to be treated” and “what comes around goes around” could cancel out one another. And “turn the other cheek” is nothing more than a platitude. But I had a story for my daughters. I would tell them every aphorism has a time and place, yet these golden rules become morally ambiguous when applied to peeing-in-the-pool etiquette.
Perpendicular Video of Concert