Ash-Matic Does Whales in the Swimming Pool

A swimming pool is a big pool of liquid in which people swim. They come in many shapes and sizes, and occasionally are filled with non-conventional liquids – just like the swimming pools themselves.
All swimming pools are fun places to go, unless you have a phobia of swimming pools, or can’t swim, or have traumatic memories of the time a swimming pool touched you in a non-conventional place.

But regardless of how fun it can be, a swimming pool is just a poor person’s ocean. It doesn’t have tides. It doesn’t have beaches. It usually doesn’t have waves to play in, or interesting weather phenomena like waterspouts or sea-fog. It’s filled with far less interesting wildlife, and is a terrible as a trade-route. On top of all that, it’s only about half the size – which means the urine concentration is twice as high.

But sometimes the ocean is just too far away, and you can’t be bothered, so you go to the swimming pool instead.

One thing you can do there is swim. This involves the expenditure of a lot of time and energy to propel your body at incredibly slow speeds in one direction, until you hit your head or your hand on the hard thing at the end of the pool. Then you turn around, flailing wildly, and go back in the other direction until you bruise another body part. You repeat this many times, until you drown, or get out of the pool.

The other thing to do in a swimming pool is fuck about. Some pools make this easier than others – they have wave-machines, slides, things to jump off and sanitary products to avoid – but the most exciting feature of other pools are their square shapes and relative wetness.

It was to the latter type of pool that Miss-Matic and I went the other day. We had different motivations – she wanted to swim back and forth and get water in her sinuses; I wanted to fuck about.

But ultimately, these two activities are incompatible.

It’s hard to swim when your boyfriend is pretending to be a shark and has their teeth clamped on your thigh-flesh. It’s also hard to pretend to be a shark when your girlfriend is kicking you in the face. You generally both end up at the bottom of the pool, full of water, not having much fun. And then you get mad at each other and fight when you get home, and neither of you feel like playing shark-swimmer sex roleplay any more. It takes the fun out of it.

So we had to compromise.

First we did the boring swimming. We went one way. Then we went the other way. Then we went back the first way. Then we went back the other way. Then I started burping because I’d swallowed too much water. Then we went back the way we went the first time. Then we went the other way. Then we went back the first way. Then I started flailing and choking because water was visiting the inside of my lungs. Then we went back the other way. Then we went the original way. Then I pleaded with Miss-Matic to play Whales with me. Then we went the other way. Then I pretended to drown and the life guard told me to stop it. Then we swam some more.

But eventually it was my turn, and we got to fuck about. I wanted to play Whales, because whales are cool, and one of the best thing about our planet – but first I had to teach Miss-Matic the rules. These are quite simple, and I present them here.

The Game of Whales:


  • Two or more players.
  • A body of water.


  1. Be in the body of water.
  2. Take a breath.
  3. Go underwater.
  4. Make whale noises.
  5. Come out of the water.
  6. Did players hear the other whale(s)?
    • If yes, go to step 7.
    • If no, go to step 2.
  7. Laugh, because you are awesome whales.
  8. Move further apart.
  9. Go to step 1.

Winning the game:

  • The winner is the player who wants to keep playing the longest.

It took some time, but eventually Miss-Matic got the rules, and soon we were in opposite corners of the pool, shouting at each other, our voices echoing over the heads of some very confused elderly swimmers.

‘Did you hear that?’
‘Yeah I heard you! Did you hear me?’
‘Did you hear me?’
‘Did you… for fuck’s sake.’
‘Let’s do it again!’
‘Three! Two! One!’
‘Did you say one?’
‘Did you hear me?’
‘I missed it!’
‘Okay, three! Two! One!’
‘Did you hear me?’
‘Did you hear me?’
‘Did you hear me?’
‘Yeah I heard you! Did you hear me?’
‘Did you hear me?’

And so on.

Ultimately we concluded that in the wild Miss-Matic and I would make very good whales, for our ability to communicate underwater, if not on the surface. I won the game because she got bored after a while and wanted to do roly-polys in the deep end – but everybody knows a real whale wouldn’t be able to fit in the deep end, let alone do roly-polys there – which clearly made me the whale with the better spatial awareness, and therefore a better whale overall.

I haven’t copyrighted the rules for Whales, so feel free to play it for your own swimming-pool enjoyment – but please don’t adapt it into other forms of media, because I’m planning to turn it into a table-top board-game when I have some free time.

36 thoughts on “Ash-Matic Does Whales in the Swimming Pool”

    1. The elderly swimmers were loving it too. I’m pretty sure they were just waiting for us to leave the pool before they started playing, so they didn’t look like copycats.

  1. I play the same game! We dive under water and scream in a high-pitched girl voice and pop up in shock and awe as we have successfully mastered under water communication.

  2. Ha! This was great. The only thing is, when you said fuck about, I had my hopes up that you were actually going to fuck about… maybe next time!

  3. I like Whale better than Shark. I get all panicked when someone pretends to be a shark, even though I know they are really still a human. I can’t swim very fast and it makes me very anxious and sort of frightened.

  4. Strange you consider the swimming pool to be the poor man’s ocean. Where I live, if your house comes with a swimming pool in the back, then you are considered to be a residential king. It’s the poor people who are left to go to the beach and have their limbs tied with seaweed knots. 😛

    -Barb the French Bean

    1. You’re right. That is strange. The sea is wide and mysterious and unfathomable (unless you have laser-ranging systems or whatever). Surely that’s much better than a pool – even a private one that poor people can’t get in?

  5. “But regardless of how fun it can be, a swimming pool is just a poor person’s ocean.” This whole paragraph made me laugh so hard I am going to memorize it and start quoting it at parties. Don’t worry, I will give you credit. 🙂
    Just posted you on Facebook, hope my friends check you out.

  6. Awesome. You never fail to find the humor in everything. Even annoying things. As far as pools not being the ocean, and only being required in the absence of the ocean. I agree. Others apparently do not.

    Where I work, we have a campground AT the ocean. A short walk and you’re on a beach with lifeguards and everything. We get campers calling and asking if we have a pool. “Um, no. We have the ocean.” “But you don’t have a pool.” “Yes, our pool is the ocean”… They don’t get it.

    1. I can’t tell you in case you steal my idea. Swimming is boring, but fucking about in water is more fun if you don’t die. Maybe you could get a swimming buddy to help you learn? You can bribe them with secret knowledge of how to play Whales?

  7. I need to try this in a couple months when my pool is open. The family invades our home during the entirety of the summer months to use the pool. I think I will alter it a bit and make it the stealth whale game. I won’t tell them we are playing and see what their reaction is. Hopefully fleeing in fear and horror. I know that is too much to hope.

    By the way, what are the poorer relatives of the poor man with the pool called?

  8. Ahh, I now understand where I always went wrong playing Whales. We never got very far apart because we were always trying to *understand* whatever was screeched underwater, which just rarely ever happens unless it’s simple stuff like counting or the alphabet.

    Whale fale.

  9. I love the idea of this game, and can’t believe I never played it. We thought that throwing pennies into the pool and diving to retrieve them was the pinnacle of fun.

  10. and to think I wasted all those years of my life playing Marco Polo when I coulda been playing Whales! it is my new favorite game and I can’t wait to teach it to my sons this summer (so glad you never got around to the copyrighting).


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