By Greg Schwem
'Tis the season to look back on the previous 12 months, identify regrets and vow to try something completely different in the coming year.
For me, that means protesting.
I feel I missed a huge opportunity by not once taking to the streets and voicing my frustrations at some injustice that I feel should be corrected. Protesters received all the ink in 2011; "The Protester" was even voted
Still, these protesters caused the world to take notice. They were splashed across magazine covers, appeared on national news shows and became YouTube celebrities. Occasionally they knocked the Kardashians off the front pages, no small feat. Occupy Wall Street protester Tracy Postert even landed a job as a result of her rabble-rousing. True, it was for a financial investment firm, but sometimes protests come with a large dose of irony.
If protesting continues to be chic, I want to be part of it. I could always use the publicity and, if nothing else, it looks like protesting could toughen me up. In New York and Boston, protesters braved freezing temperatures to state their cases. I would have left briefly to purchase a space heater at a nearby
Here's my dilemma: What to protest? Unlike so many of this earth's inhabitants, 2011 was a fairly uneventful and angst-free year for me. I remained employed, had no major medical issues, invested a little money in the stock market and quickly realized burying it in the backyard would have netted more interest. Nothing made my blood boil enough to set up a tent in a public location and tweet incessantly.
Wait a minute, I take that back. I'm forgetting about my community pool, which closed at 7 every weeknight. 7 p.m.! It used to close at 8. Temperatures around Chicago in July often hover in the 90s at 7 p.m. It's still perfectly light at that time. Whoever made the decision to pull the pool's plug an hour earlier had better be prepared because Occupy Water Park is taking shape, beginning today.
I will contact all the disgruntled soccer moms I met last summer who bemoaned the earlier closing time. I'll also email every haggard dad who just wanted to cool off after a long day at the office, yet had to catch an earlier train to make that possible. On Memorial Day weekend 2012, when the pool officially opens, we will link arms and form an impenetrable fortress that extends the entire width of the shallow end. (The deep end is off limits because nobody wants to tread water while protesting.)
As shocked lifeguards and toddlers look on, we will chant, "WE'RE NOT JOKIN'. KEEP THE POOL OPEN!" When we tire of that, we will switch to "WE HAVE THE POWER TO EXTEND POOL HOURS!" We will tweet about our cause as soon as we find somebody who actually knows what Twitter is.
The Occupy Wall Street movement was criticized for not anointing a spokesman. We will not make that mistake. When the media converge, I will face the cameras and calmly list our demands: 9 o'clock closing and 10 on the weekends; more lounge chairs and at least one additional adult swim. Also, the senior citizen who lounges under the big umbrella every day can no longer wear a Speedo.
We will demand a full accountability of snack-bar monies. Two dollars for a snow cone? It's juice and ice for Pete's sake! We want a freeze on all snack prices until 2013.
Finally, I will announce that we are willing to stay as long as it takes until pool officials come to their senses. Even if we have to stay through Labor Day, we will prevail.
Our kids will just have to live on snow cones until then.
Humorist Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad
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