So it's summer. That means it is hot, but thankfully not as dry as last year.
It's also not dry for a different reason. Combine hot afternoons and children, the only reasonable result is boredom.
But how do you fix that? The answer is simple, and it only costs $10.
A small plastic kiddie pool, no matter the age of the kid, will entertain for a ridiculous amount of time.
I still haven't figured out what is so engaging about a four-foot-wide and 10-inch deep pool of water, but I'll take it.
What really baffles me though is that it came with instructions.
And the instructions weren't simply "Put pool on ground, fill with water."
Oh no, that would probably result in thousands of frustrated people.
What has happened to our society?!?
The instructions begin with a warning about drowning in the 10 inches of water, followed immediately by "no diving."
At least I realize now, thanks to the instructions, that it is possible to drown in two inches of water.
And I previously had no idea that you shouldn't dive head-first into water that can't even cover a pencil.
Obviously supervision is required, but is a paragraph on searching for missing children necessary? Doubt we'd need a bloodhound to find a child in a kiddie pool.
The page goes on to suggest that to keep unsupervised kids out of the pool, you should install a fence.
That would probably be the smallest fence ever, but you should still check state and local laws and codes before "installing" the pool and safety fence.
Don't leave toys in the pool when finished using, it might attract kids (but the bright colors and pictures won't?).
Electrocution risks are also apparently abundant with kiddie pools. All lines, radios, speakers and appliances must be kept away, and don't put the pool near overhead electrical lines.
That reminds me of that lightning bug guy that sang the catchy "stay away from power lines" song on a commercial back in the 90's.
I guess before the kids can use it, we also have to get a working telephone and a list of emergency numbers to keep near the pool.
Then, get this, the piece of paper that was taped inside the pool tells me that I need to become certified in CPR. Does the manufacturer subsidize the cost of that, or do they just have a behind-closed-doors deal with the Red Cross?
Failure to follow these instructions means that you and your kids will probably not survive the adventure through 10 inches of water.
After some consumer awareness information from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the instructions get down to brass tacks.
Page 2 of 2 - The pool MUST be placed on level, firm soil free of stones, gravel, sticks, black-top or other oil-based compounds. Do not put on any type of wooden surface, and make sure it complies with local safety and building codes.
Only adults can "assemble" it, and it may have hazardous sharp edges or points.
It should be stored somewhere that temperatures stay in between 32 and 125 degrees.
There is even a section on how to empty it.
This is just one small example of how silly this world has become.
It's a plastic pool. If a person can't figure out how to operate it, they should return it to the store or not even purchase it in the first place.
What happened to common sense?
My theory is that it disappeared when that lady sued a certain burger franchise after she spilled hot coffee in her lap.
It has been on a rapid decline ever since. I'm sorry, but if you don't know better, go ahead and dive into 10 inches of water, it just might make the world a better place.
Jesse Murphy is managing editor at the Maryville Daily Forum. He can be reached at email@example.com