It’s officially summertime, which means that you’ve got a choice to make: Pool or beach? There are pros and cons to each, so you’ve got to figure out whether you’re a fool for a pool or a total beach nut. Let’s splash on in and decide how to cool off!

Pools can be a great way to experience water without going to a lake or ocean—in fact, that’s why they were invented. Pools are usually smaller than the ocean, but don’t let that fool you: Many are as much as eight feet deep, the same as the Mariana Trench. And just like the ocean, you can hit your head on the bottom. So always wear a heavy iron helmet if you plan to do any diving.

Some people swim laps in pools. This is like pacing back and forth in a room, but way more intense. People doing laps usually get annoyed by people who are not doing laps, and who can blame them? There’s nowhere else to exercise.

Pool behavior is governed by a strict set of edicts issued by the International Committee on Ineffective Rules. The most important one is that there’s no running by the pool. This rule goes back to 1914, when Archduke Ferdinand was running by a pool and was assassinated by a lifeguard, thus starting World War I. Another popular dictate pertains to hygiene. You should always read the sign that says, “Shower before using pool,” before not showering and jumping right into the pool.

Many pools smell like chlorine and pee, although there’s been a trend toward saltwater pools, which smell like saltwater and pee. Some pools have adjacent hot tubs. These are neither salt nor chlorine, but are instead a primordial soup of roiling bacteria. Scientists speculate that life originated more than 100 billion years ago in a hot tub. But how did the hot tub get there? The Large Hadron Collider might have uncovered a clue when it isolated the Higgs boson and found that it resembles a tiny timer with a 15-minute limit.

In pools, the water is generally heated. The ocean is not heated, although we’re working on it. Beaches are made up of scorching-hot silica and razor-sharp mollusk skeletons. Pools are surrounded by smooth wet concrete and stacks of people who slipped and fell. The ocean is often at sea level, but pools are sometimes aboveground, which makes it easier to hand Cheez Whiz and Skid Row cassettes to people in the water.

Now that we’ve thoroughly compared pools and beaches, let’s just talk about beaches. You can drink on any beach, as long as you disguise your alcohol by putting it in a discreet container such as a Solo cup or baby bottle. Then the cop rides by on his ATV and says, “That’s just a person wearing a hard hat with two baby bottles stuck to the sides and hoses coming down into his mouth. Probably nothing but Gerber in there.” But if you’re drinking from an actual can of beer, you’ll be spotted from three miles away by a binocular-wielding commando atop a lighthouse who will radio a SWAT team to drop in from helicopters and put you in a portable jail cell right there on the beach. That is the rule for alcohol.

But just in case, your beach bag should always include an oxygen tank, a bolt-action rifle and Richard Dreyfuss.

Beaches do have sharks, but don’t worry: 85 percent of the time, they’re only in the water. And the rest of the time, they don’t venture past the parking lot. Remember, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. But just in case, your beach bag should always include an oxygen tank, a bolt-action rifle and Richard Dreyfuss.

Sometimes the beach gets boring, but you can entertain yourself by building a sandcastle. All you need to do is buy a shovel, submit a proposal, acquire the proper permits and adhere to the various code requirements pertaining to temporary on-beach structures. This is a fun way to teach your kids about setback requirements and easements.

The beach can get hot, so you’ll want an umbrella. Depending on the angle of the sun, a beach umbrella will shade either your nose or one elbow, but not both at the same time. To keep your umbrella from blowing away, you should bring at least two 50-pound bags of cement and a set of posthole diggers. Set the umbrella in the cement and let it cure. Then park your car on top of that. Then fill your car with cement and chain it to the nearest granite jetty. Your umbrella will still blow over, but look at how much fun you’ve had writing your initials in wet cement.

So, will you find me at the pool or the beach? Neither. When I want to cool off, I just open a fire hydrant and then go inside my air-conditioned house and watch the firemen ask the neighbors if they know who has a hydrant wrench. Besides, I’m a quarry guy. Geronimo!

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