Yesterday after work I swam. After I finished my final lap I took off my googles and swim cap and sank down in the water. I was worn out. I came back up for air, and grabbed onto the wall, letting my body float up behind me. It was in this position that I noticed a new sign painted on the pool floor right above my lap lane. I looked at it, turned my head a little, looked again. Wha?

The guy in the lane next to me, a swim buddy who I see once in a while at the pool (I've nicknamed him HG for Happy Guy) pulled off his goggles and followed my gaze. "Hey, Elle."

"What does that mean?" I asked him, pointing to the sign. It was a picture of a stick figure swimming backward and seeming to hit his head on something hovering above him. It was inside a circle with a bright red line through it.


"It looks like it means don't do the back stroke and hit your head on the wall?"

HG thought about this, and shook his head. "No, I think it means don't swim with a kickboard over your head."

The guy sharing his lane, who I think is his partner but I'm not sure, paused to check out what we were so carefully examining. "No," he chimed in, "I think it means don't dive and hit your head."

I wrinked my nose. "But the stick figure is hitting his head above his head. If you dove in you'd hit the top of your head on the bottom of the pool."

He considered this. "Maybe it means don't dive in backward?"

HG wasn't buying it. "Even if you dove in backwards you'd still hit your head beneath you."

"Maybe it means don't hit your head on the ceiling?" I offered.

Both men looked over at me with raised eyebrows. But they didn't have anything better.

Cut to this morning, when I saw this on the car in front of me:

It took me a few minutes to figure out what it meant. At first I murmured to myself, "End this endless war? This endless war?" My inability to decipher the message is probably a result of stupidity, or nearsightedness. But I still think that's a bit too complex for a bumper sticker.

Keep it simple folks. That's the moral of the story.

(See how I spelled that out for you? Case in point...)