a three panel comic strip with a dog in a pool and another walking and peeing talking about their situation

#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