We own what I affectionately call a “Redneck Pool” (above-ground). Year three, it’s the best money I’ve ever spent, partially because pools are fun and partially because I love that my husband Mike is mortified every time we use it. When we float, lounging in our beverage chairs, he screams things like “I don’t know much, but I know I’m supposed to be floating in an IN-GROUND pool!” so the neighbors understand he is actually a prince cursed by a gypsy to live in a Maryland rancher.
This year, the pool cover lost its elastic and kept blowing off. We had two choices: Buy a new cover for $14, or buy a $25 Tub o’ Bungee Cords to secure the old cover.
Seems obvious, but two notes here:
- Mike loves bungee cords like some people love puppies.
- The bungees were Amazon PRIME and the cover was not.
A few days later, a daisy chain of ten colorful bungee cords wrapped the outer rim of the pool, turning it from Redneck Pool to Redneck Art.
Mike mocked me every time we secured our bungee cord centipede; I couldn’t do it without squinting in fear. I knew one of the connections would give way. I don’t share Mike’s blind trust in all things bungee. I also don’t lose my mind if the cheese in my sandwich is on the wrong side of the meat.
Day three, one of the connections DID slip and the bungees exploded across the yard like a pack of deadly rainbow ninja worms. One of the metal ends cracked across my thumb before settling in the bushes. It felt like what I would imagine a caning would feel like if I’d done something really stupid in China, instead of just doing something really stupid in my backyard. Mike took one in the thigh.
Both of us blurted something to the effect of “OW!” combined with an “F” word and started jumping up and down grasping at our parts. The house behind us operates as a makeshift nursing home and there is always an elderly person parked in a window watching us with interest, remembering what it was like to be a complete idiot. With this audience, our display might have been embarrassing, if we didn’t have large holly trees that constantly drop insanely pointy leaves. Whenever we’re outside, every other step is followed by a barrage of cursing and dancing. Screaming “FUH-OWW!” and rain dancing around the yard didn’t seem unusual to the old folks.
If I could go back in time, I know I would blow the opportunity on finding and slapping the people who planted those holly trees in our yard.
Panting through gritted teeth, Mike and I argued who had been more hurt. I already had a bruise on the meaty part of my thumb. Mike had a welt in the shape of a bungee end on his thigh.
Idiots to the end, we tried again. One bungee had gone AWOL, so I went to get a replacement from the Tub o’ Bungees. Mike stood on the far side of the pool, his arms outstretched, holding each end of our bungee chain while I ran to the shed.
I had just started back towards the pool when they snapped. Again.
There was Mike, standing like a graceful outstretched bird, then a whipping noise, and then NO MIKE, as he doubled over and disappeared behind the pool.
All this happened EXACTLY the moment our neighbors pulled into their driveway, from which they can see our pool area quite well.
“Mike!” I called. “Are you OK?”
“Hi!” said the neighbor lady, peering into the yard and waving maniacally.
“Mike?” I tried again.
A strange grunting noise came from the other side of the pool.
“Hi!” neighbor tried again, taking her waving to the next level. I could feel the breeze on the back of my neck.
I moved a little closer to the pool and whisper-screamed in Mike’s direction.
I thought about it a second and then tried another tack.
“Balls?” I asked.
Silence, and then hiss, “Balls.”
I took a moment to return the neighbor’s wave before she took flight. She stood there a moment, puzzled as to why Mike dove behind the pool at her approach and then disappeared inside.
I tried very hard to appear serious as I approached Mike, his face red, clutching his package in pain. I don’t think I managed to put together a comforting sentence before the smile started creeping across my face.
“It’s not funny,” he said, standing, hand still clutching his twig and berries.
“It’s kinda funny,” I said, quietly.
“I could have lost a testicle.”
Mike looked down. “No… actually, I think it hit the tip of my penis.”
I made an unattractive snorting noise, trying to hold back the giggle fit.
“Your penis took one for the team?”
“It heroically dove in the path of the screaming bungee clip?”
But by now, he was laughing, too.
We giggled on and off about an hour, he wearing very loose shorts.