It's time to jump in the pool and show off your best stroke
I was going to headline this “All Skate,” but with the decline of roller skating rinks in America (just like so many once-hallowed institutions), I wasn’t sure anybody would remember what that meant. Our local roller skating rink was long ago converted to a gym, where people can now engage in healthier pursuits, like admiring their own lats in front of wall-sized mirrors and scoring anabolic steroids in the parking lot, as opposed to rolling around in circles in tight jeans to Bee Gees songs.
So I went with “Adult Swim” instead. Which doesn’t mean I’ll be playing clips from Rick & Morty or The Eric Andre Show. Way before the Cartoon Network purloined the name back in 2001, those of us who weren’t white-privileged enough to have private backyard pools used to head to community pools. There, we would eat stale popcorn and water dogs (hot dogs that had been sitting in lukewarm water all day) from the snack bar – the one the off-duty lifeguards fondled each other behind. Our parents would slather us in some kind of oil, possibly Wesson (SPF: minus 25). As they seemed hell-bent on us achieving good base tans so we didn’t look too pasty when doctors would later ask us to remove our shirts as they diagnosed our melanomas.
And then one of the non-fondling lifeguards would blow his or her whistle and call for the kids to get out of the pool and let the adults swim. You could always see adult faces relax, as their kids headed back to their beach towels to do whatever kids do – huff weed or smoke paint – I don’t know, I wasn’t really into the seventies drug scene. I was eight. Then the adults could do all sorts of adult things, like plan key parties, or do the breast stroke without getting wiped out by cannonball wakes, or just generally enjoy the fresh smell of chlorine not waging war against all the kid-urine.
Which is precisely the kind of welcoming environment we try to foster here at Slack Tide: a place where you can take a refreshing dip and not get peed on.
That said, it was a mere two days ago that I scarred many of you irreparably with my dispatch on Christian furries. I make no apologies for this. The Truth sometimes resembles a messy pile on the floor, but holding your nose in it is the only way you’ll ever learn. Though genuine good came of it. For after I related the tale of my sister’s perilous stint in a giant rat costume, playing the Chuck E. Cheese mascot, reader Ray Balestri informed me that he was probably the only one of my subscribers who could boast that he’d appeared in a Chuck E. Cheese fitness video. Damned if he wasn’t telling the truth. Here is Ray playing “The Trainer,” trying to whip Chuck E.’s friend, Mr. Munch, into shape. Ray’s stellar acting can be seen from the 46:39 to the 49:10 mark.
My sincere thanks to Ray. For not only does my sister now feel a little less alone in this world, but I have a new idea for the merch store that I keep threatening to open: we will be featuring Ray’s coach shorts from the video, never washed, still smelling of Mr. Munch perspiration and the early nineties – a simpler time. Stay tuned for bidding details.
Meanwhile, I thought I’d give you all a reprieve from my uninterrupted opinion-slinging. For a one-way conversation is a monologue, not a dialogue. I regard (some) of you as friends. If you showed up unannounced at my doorstep, I’d welcome you as friends. In theory, that is. In practice, I would stop, drop, and roll behind the coffee table and wait for you to tire of knocking, then to return to your homes, since you have no business here. But anyway, friendship is predicated on real interchange. So since we haven’t done this in a while, I thought I’d invite the adults to swim freely. To speak whatever is on your mind on whatever topic is preoccupying you. It could be about anything from national affairs to Donald Trump’s legal woes to student loan forgiveness to fly fishing to how the new hit cover single, “Hold Me Closer,” an autotuned atrocity by Britney Spears and Elton John, is a crime against John’s original “Tiny Dancer,” which used to be a perfectly good song. In other words, there are next-to-no rules. You are limited only by your own imagination.
I will jump in and out as the spirit moves to mix it up with you. The only rule at this pool is that everyone stay civilized. Spirited dissent is fine. But if you behave like an abusive eleven-year-old punk, as always, I will blow the whistle, throw you out of the pool, and send you back to the car without any water dogs. Comments are limited to paid subscribers, so become one. It’s only five dollars a month or fifty bucks a year (which breaks out to $4.16 a month). But even if you’re holding onto your shekels to save up for the new Spears/Elton single, I’ll throw you yet another freebie out of the goodness of my heart. Here’s the best song R.E.M. ever recorded, “Nightswimming.” (Fun rarely-mentioned fact: Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones arranged the strings on it.)
Now go on ahead and dive in.