The Weather

Old News

In 1998 I moved to 409 South Tasker in Philadelphia. A three-storied place with an expansive basement and an L-shaped corridor for a backyard. These were heavy drinking days. Fresh out of college, I had yet to kick the cravings and so one day I found myself dehydrated and purposelessly sad, but with the house to myself. Not knowing what to do, and not wanting to do anything, I took to a floral couch I never touched (as it faced away from the TV) and opened the local edition, a neighborhood paper dedicated to covering the events of a four mile radius. I’d just awakened but the afternoon sun warmed my chills, and dust moseyed in the rays. That’s all sort of a guess, I don’t remember the scene exactly, but I do have the paper with me these many years later and I probably read this article lying on that couch.


A twelve-month excess of swimming pool drownings has some purchasing above-ground pools. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.P.) reports that U.S. swimming pool drownings have exploded in the last year. The shift is startling. The once annual 1.2 million drowning victims has nearly doubled. 2.1 million people drowned in their or someone else’s swimming pools (including public pools) between January and December of 1998. However, the Drowning Prevention Foundation (D.P.F.) reports that swimming pool drownings have decreased by 10% while the National Safety Council (N.S.C.) has issued figures that affirm their 1997 prediction of a .9 % pool drownings increase.

The N.S.C.’s public relations head, Nathan Gropenick, was asked for his organization’s pool drowning prediction four months prior to their annual official release in December. Gropenick is quoted as saying, “I can’t sleep alone anymore.”

The characteristically cryptic N.S.C., despite its yearly 4.7 billion dollar budget, has never been considered as a “chopping block” non-profit like their fellow federally funded multi-billion dollar donation receivers, Planned Parenthood or the U.S.D.A. Neither organization offered swimming pool death predictions when reached for comment.

The San Pedro based private death-assessment research firm, Eaglet & Mercie, have been caught illegally performing gratis PH checks on many private swimming pools in Malibu, CA and neighboring cities.

Last month’s issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an interview with the C.D.C.P.’s incumbent president, Flo Tiller, whose polls are suffering immensely after her organization’s release of pool drowning statistics alongside the catastrophic refusal to stop playing Depeche Mode’s “Shake The Disease” at campaign events after Martin Gore, who wrote the aforementioned song, sued Tiller for an even and symbolic one million dollars. While Gore lost the suit, the public, in polls conducted by everyone from The Guardian to Sports Illustrated, has sided with Gore.

How does this affect loc–

Wine or coffee or paint or something has made the rest unreadable. I think the back page has a coupon for cheaper scrapple or tacos or something.

Patrick Benjamin is a writer living near Los Angeles. He lives with his sister and grandmother.