Who knew I was the owner of such special ears? Certainly not me! In fact if anything, I have been getting less and less thrilled with my ears lately as my hearing just isn’t what it used to be. And so, when my ears turned out to be special in other ways, I was more than a little surprised.
By the time World War II began in 1939, many countries had already developed an early warning system known as RADAR, which could be used to warn a country’s defences of an attack by enemy bombers or battle ships.
Seventy-five years later and my special ears just acted as my own early warning system. As some of you may know, I begin each day with what I hope is a healthy session in the swimming pool, and I swim a kilometre every day before breakfast... well usually.
On Monday morning this week I went to the pool to swim my kilometre. Thirty minutes later I got out of the pool, removed my goggles, showered quickly, and then went home for breakfast, feeling rather pleased with myself after completing my 40 laps.
RADAR early warning system
It wasn’t until after breakfast that I noticed that my ears still felt like they were full of water and everything sounded a bit funny. By early afternoon I had earache in both my ears and I knew that I had the beginnings of an ear infection, and probably from the water in the pool.
Did you know that in a survey in the United States, one in five Americans said they pee in swimming pools? But you can’t just blame the Americans for peeing in swimming pools, because everyone else is probably doing it too. That means that if all the people of other countries are peeing in pools too, there may be as many as one and half billion people in the world who don't think twice about peeing in swimming pools. And it isn’t just ordinary people that are doing it either. When asked, almost all of the world’s top competitive swimmers admitted that they pee in the pool too – and that they do it regularly. OMG, it’s really a wonder there’s a clean swimming pool anywhere in the world!
Yuk, it’s disgusting! and not only that. It also messes around with how well the chlorine added to the pool to kill harmful germs can do its job. If too many people pee in the pool, or dive in while they are all sweaty or covered in sunscreen, it can mean that there is less chlorine to kill all those nasty germs… and that's when we can get sick from swimming in the pool.
Luckily, my special “early warning system” ears warned me that something was not quite right with my local swimming pool, and I haven’t had another morning swim since Monday, when my ears first began to ache. By Tuesday morning the water looked like a dirty green lake and it was no longer possible to see the mosaic dolphin on the bottom of the pool in the shallow end and the owners were forced to close the pool for two days.
For the whole of Tuesday, the pool man was busy trying to turn the cloudy green water back into a clean and healthy pool again, and it was working too. Unfortunately, and most likely because they didn’t want to turn away the crowds of people who pay to swim (and pee) in the pool, the owners reopened the pool on Wednesday morning, even though the water still looked far from clean yet.
By yesterday afternoon, my earache was completely gone but the pool was packed with hundreds of kids again, and who knows how many of them were back to peeing in the pool again, rather than taking a trip to the poolside bathroom?
So, even though the water has lost much of its dirty greeness, I’m going to carry on listening to the warning from my special ears (if you know what I mean), and I will not be back in the pool until the water is 100% sparkling clean... and I can see the mosaic dolphin properly once more!