This week, our efficient and wonderful Admin Director, Kim Palk, who handles (among other things) registration, received a phone call from a family about signing up for the summer. The parents were eager to register but it took some convincing by Kim to bring the daughter on board.
You may be asking yourself, "what was the hesitation?". Well, she was convinced that there was an octopus living at the bottom of our pool! Apparently, it took awhile but Kim finally convinced her that no, we do not have an octopus, kraken or whatever lurking in the deep end of our pool.
First, let's get one thing cleared up. The pool where this mythical creature lived is no longer there. The pool is gone, and there will be a new pool at Kelly Lane.
Now, let's get back to the camper at hand. She is a brand new camper and has never been to Doublecreek before, so how did she come to believe that we had an octopus in the deep end of the pool? Obviously, she has been talking to campers who have been to Doublecreek. The octopus in the pool is an urban legend that simply will not go away. The girl Kim talked to, was not the first camper who was leery of the pool because they had heard from somewhere that an octopus lived in our pool. What made it more challenging this time is the lack of a visual. Usually, we are dealing with campers who are at the pool and don't want to get in because of said Octopus. We can easily show them the deep end and ask, "Do you see an octopus?". The answer was always, "No" and we're off to swimming and having a great time. There was one time, however, a first grader told us that it loved in the drain and came out at night to which we responded, "Well, we don't swim at night!"
So, how did the story of the octopus get started in the first place? I'm still a little fuzzy on how, but I think I have a handle on when. I've worked at Doublecreek every summer except for one, the summer of 1985. Summer of 1985, I worked at a different camp. Why? We'll save that for another article...... Anyway, from 1971-1984, there were no stories of an octopus in the pool. Summer of 1986, (or soon after) the stories started. What set the stories off? I've heard many versions:
1) A swimming teacher bought an octopus and threw it in the deep end, it floated to the bottom, and campers saw it while playing sharked and minnows and immediately vacated the area. (I question the voracity of this account on many levels)
2) A swimming teacher threw a ripped inflatable shaped like an octopus into the pool. (Now, this sounds plausible)
3) Or maybe someone just said, "Look, there's an octopus!" While pointing at the pool with nothing in it.
The main thig is that there are no first hand accounts of this tall tale. I've talked to people who weren't there, but they have talked to someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who has talked to someone, who swears that they person they talked to knows someone, who heard from someone else that this story is true. All of this doesn't matter. The story of the octopus in the pool now has a life of its own.
Let me say, here and now, there is no octopus or kraken in our pool. I will say that with the utmost confidence. No octopus in the pool! Of course, there was that time when I was swimming in the deep end and I felt something slimy grab my ankle.........