Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Water Parks

I had a different blog planned for today's post. One about a ghost named Jenny, and how she lived in the house I grew up in. You'll still get to read that blog. Just not today.

While at work tonight we talked about, among many, many other non-repeatable topics, water parks. There is a new indoor park opening in Batavia. There is one in Canandaguia, and another in Pennsylvania. I'm sure there are more. I just don't know where they are. And frankly, I don't care.

But I am not just picking on indoor parks. It's going to be on both indoor and outdoor water parks. Like the one at Darien Lake and Sea Breeze.

Did I say, Pick On Them? Oh yeah. That's what I said.

I'll start by saying, I go in them. I love them. I enjoy water slides, and wave pools, and the lazy river. The bigger, the faster, the rougher, the better.

However, this is my problem with them. And maybe you won't agree. Maybe you'll think I'm just too obsessive compulsive. Or maybe, just maybe, you'll see that I am absolutely right.

I'm going to start and focus on Darien Lake. Know this, four of the last five summers, I've been a season pass holder. And more than likely, next spring, I will once again purchase season passes for my kids and me.

So what is my problem? What's my big gripe? What has me so irked that I am dedicating this week's blog to Water Parks instead of sharing with all of you the story of Jenny?

I'm glad you asked. Because, folks, I'm about to tell you.

The wave pool.  Do you know what this is? It's a giant pool. It has a deep end and at the mouth, a shallow end. It's like being at a cement beach. You walk into ankle deep water, and each step takes you out deeper and deeper into the pool. A generator behind a huge wall kicks on every fifteen minutes, and for the next ten minutes waves are pushed out. It becomes like the Perfect Storm, only controlled.

Although lifeguards man the walls, armed with whistles and floatation devices--swimmers are really on their own. Once the waves start, hundreds of people rush into the water. They scream, and jump into the oncoming waves. Their is body surfing, and yelling, laughing and quite possibly many near-drownings.

See, but that's the fun part of it all. The amusement park atmosphere--taken from the rides into the water. And the water and the fun is not where the problem stems from. It's the people. People. Therein the problem lies.

Darien Lake is known for its campgrounds. Hell. Campers get excellent deals. Stay on the campgrounds, and get free access to the park for the day. I'm no camper. In fact, I hate camping. I find it dirty, gross, and filthy. I know. I used pretty much the same word, three different times to describe camping. I did that on purpose. That's how much I hate camping. To think people choose to do this. For fun? Yeah. You'd be seeing me get an MRI, CAT SCAN, blood tests, whatever -- if I ever found myself booking a camping trip.

So now. These dirty campers?

Let me explain. I don't have anything against camping if say--I hung out with Laura Ingells. That would be fun. Cool, even. But once hotels were invented, I'd say fuck camping.

Where was I? Oh yeah. When you are at Darien Lake...You see them. Campers. Greasy hair, unwashed, wrinkled clothes, toe-thong flip-flops on dirt crusted feet -- you see them, a towel slung over a shoulder as they make their way -- not for the showers, screw showering. No. The campers are headed to the wave pool.

Why? Because to campers wave pools are more than merely used for entertainment, as a way to keep cool under a scorching summer sun, the wave pool is used as a fucking shower. A bath.

Hell, I might feel better if I saw the stupid hicks produce a bar of soap as they submerge smelly asses into water meant for enjoyment, and not as a means of sanitary cleansing.

Forget the fact that I've nicknamed Wave Pools, Band-Aid Bowls. Because when you step into one of them, the first thing you see is a band-aid skirting across the floor. Band-Aid's are a lot like cars. Once you spot a fucking Volkswagon Beetle, you see them everywhere. I gave up counting how many Band-Aids I spotted one day. There were just too many.

The worst is when the Band-Aid is floating gauze side up. You can see the dried blood marks, and wonder how much had washed off the gauze, and why the rest of the blood wasn't bleached out of it ... And the reason the blood isn't bleached clean is because there is no way there is enough chlorine in the pool to kill the infestation of germs and viruses thriving in the warm water.

And then, there is the Warm Water.

Where the hell do you think all that warm water comes from? Maybe the pools are heated. Maybe the sun has something to do with it. But my guess--if you ask me? It's people urinating in the water. And why not. You bathed in the fucking thing. Your Band-Aids are ripped off your skin in the flush of waves. Why get out and use a restroom like a normal person.

You're on vacation! Enjoy yourself! Pee in the water.

And that's the adults I'm referring to.

How about the kids, whose parents strap a diaper on them at 8 AM and then don't bother to change the thing until after swim time is all done? Those diapers full of piss and poop just ... you see what I'm saying?

Oh yeah. You have to see what I'm saying.

And this. This blog. It's the explanation. It is why I can not fully enjoy water parks.  Because as you know -- or maybe you don't -- that water, as it passes down the drain, does not get flushed out to sea like it should. No. It simply gets recycled.


In August 2005--1,800 people got sick at a New York water park. Gastrointestinal illness.

Know what that is? Gastrointestinal illness?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptom is diarrhea, dehydration, stomach cramps, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting. "Symptoms typically begin within days of exposure and usually last for two weeks."

Nice. Can you say, "I think I swallowed too much fecal matter?"

According to the CDC, Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as "Crypto."
While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common method of transmission. Cryptosporidium is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States.

I googled outbreaks. There are plenty. But I won't bore you with numbers and stats. Hell -- I know you can't live in fear. Swimming pools are similar -- I won't get into that right now though.

You know what? It's September.

Chances are, if you were appalled by this blog, you will have totally forgotten about it by summer.

I know I, more than likely, will have forgotten my irk-ness.


Anyway. Just wanted to share :-)

--Phillip Tomasso

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