#210 "Prisons And Pools"
Do prisons have pools? Without doing any research, I would think that
most in the United States don't. I've never seen anyone in a
prison movie, TV show, or documentary doing laps, playing water polo, or
shanking their enemy in the deep end. I've seen paroled prisoners who
have come out with buffer bodies from weightlifting, with college
degrees, and sporting six hundred tattoos, but never with a
certification in dog paddling, the butterfly, or synchronized diving.
In the USA, there are a lot of people who want the
incarcerated to suffer, rather than be rehabilitated and return to
society as law-abiding citizens. A swimming pool for
recreation would seem like too much of a luxury. If it were to be used for methods
of torture (e.g. dunking, a la the Salem witch trials), then there would
be a push for them—no Marco Polo, only something akin to waterboarding.
I think the swimmer's body is much more beautiful
than the weightlifter's. Of course, not all prisoners are released with
near-Schwarzenegger-like physiques, but if a correctional facility is
going to transform flabby bodies into something better, let them look
like an Olympic freestyler.
So, let them have pools. Let them learn to be lifeguards,
swimming instructors, and expert bellyfloppers. Let earplugs,
noseplugs, swim caps, and Speedos become the new prison currency—as
opposed to cigarettes and ramen. Let there be swim teams for each cell
block, and let them compete for recreational marijuana (in enlightened
states), rooster sauce (for the ramen), and extra conjugal visits.
A person shouldn't be able to get out of prison unless they
can tread water for forty-five minutes, save someone from drowning, and
perform the pool scenes from the movies, The Graduate,
National Lampoon's Vacation (playing both Christie Brinkley's
and Chevy Chase's roles), and Caddy Shack (must be able to play
the Baby Ruth bar convincingly).
Criminals shouldn't be paroled from prison unchanged and
likely to commit more crimes. They should graduate and return to
society ready to contribute something of worth. If they look a little
more like Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin, so much the better.
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Crusted Salt comics by Jimmy Brunelle