Herb Benham column

Herb Benham

Last week the showers at the pool were closed for maintenance. The “pool” is the McMurtrey Aquatics Center. Without a shower, because of the chlorination (sodium hypochlorite), swimmers risk looking as if they have brushed their faces against a salt lick.

This is not a good way to greet the world unless you are preparing to go onstage in order to play Ophelia after she fell into the brook.

Showers can be good for humor too. Should one’s workout be shorter than normal, the stock line is: “I see you came here for the shower” or “Your shower was longer than your workout.” At 6 in the morning, this is considered funny.

The outside showers still worked. This meant the men and women could still shower but would have to do so in full view of their fellow swimmers, thus turning the shower portion both into performance art and a spectators sport, a coed one at that. Everybody has shower moves and this was an opportunity to share them with a larger audience.

Some people get dreamy when they shower. Close their eyes. Forget where they are and imagine they are in the tropics standing underneath a jungle waterfall.

Their heads are back, the tropical warm water is running down their scalps and backs. They look ready to break into song, perhaps a Calypso lullaby. The shower dreamers take their time and are not averse to draining what’s left of the aquifer.

You always have a few head dippers. This is the shower version of head banging in the punk scene. Stay away — the head dippers may be slinging shampoo.

I was glad to see that most people operated with a certain amount of discretion by not calling attention to either this body part or that one. This was no time to red flag an area. The idea was to wash the car rather than detail it.

People generally kept their feet on the ground in a solid and dignified fashion. The last thing you want to see is someone prancing in the shower. The closest we came was with a leg-lifter. This was courtesy of a longtime swimmer, a gentleman in every other way.

In the course of his shower and in order to soap behind each knee, the leg-lifter would lift one leg and then the other as if he were playing quarterback for the Saints.

People stayed clear of using bars of soap. In a public forum, nothing good can come from a bar of soap especially if people go into jungle shower mode. They close their eyes, start prancing around and all of a sudden they’re detailing the car rather than cruising through the car wash.

When it was my turn, I had seen enough to know what I did not want to do — no prancing, leg lifting, head dipping, twirling like a shower diva, polishing the headlights and no horsing around with a bar of soap.

I have those moves but I prefer to save them for when I’m in the tropics.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or (661) 395-7279.

(1) comment


Love the literature references! Don't normally see two in one article

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