The whirlpool of death

My new place in Jacksonville isn’t all that big, but there are still places that I’ve seldom been. If I have no reason for entering a room, then why go in? I know it’s there. It won’t go anywhere when I’m not looking. But yesterday I took a tour upstairs just to remind myself what the upper floor of my house looked like. Then I called my brother, “Keith, my upstairs bathroom tub has six drains. How come?” It was a short moment before he said, “That’s a Jacuzzi, you idiot.” Okay, he didn’t actually call me an idiot, but I recognized the tone. It was reminiscent of the time when I asked him why Grandma’s cat didn’t bounce when I threw it off the roof of her brooder house. I was faced with the fact that I’d purchased a house with a bathtub that spit water at you.

I was once booked into a hotel room in Iowa that had one of these mysterious things, but I avoided it. It’s weird enough to climb into a swirling pool of water, but in Iowa? Isn’t that where the Amish live? Don’t they regard Jacuzzi-ing as a sin? That’s just what I need, going to hell in a swirling pool of water.

But somehow this Jacuzzi upstairs seemed more sanctified since it now belonged to me. The only problem remained was how to use the darned thing. I wasn’t about to call one of my friends to ask them so dumb a question. They’d no doubt bring up Grandma’s non-bouncing cat, so I used the Einstein method and decided to experiment.

Let me begin by saying that I’m not a bath kind of guy. God made the rain to fall down and not just sit in a porcelain container. The last time I took a bath was in a London hotel room that had no shower, and the next day I upgraded to a more civilized way of cleansing myself. I just don’t want to sit in my own bathwater as it gets cold. I don’t want my bare butt skidding around the floor of something made in Indonesia. I Googled Jacuzzi and discovered that the contraption was invented by seven brothers. It really took seven? By coincidence they were all named Jaccuzzi and they made wooden propellers for the U.S. government. I guess that one of them was soaking in his bathtub one night and thought, “Hey! What if I attach a propeller!?”

All of which still hadn’t gotten me into what seemed like a whirlpool of death, but I was afraid that someone would go upstairs in my house, see the thing, and say, “How do you like your Jacuzzi?” I hate to lie. I mean, I do it a lot, but I hate to do it, so one night I took it upon myself to try this thing out. I wore my swimming suit in case something went wrong and I might be forced to run screaming out of the house. As I said, this was all new territory so I wanted to be prepared. I put just a little water into the tub then turned on the Jacuzzi brothers’ rotors. This was a bad idea. All I got was a rush of air that removed what little hair I had on my head, so I filled the tub past the little holes, took a seat and pushed the button.

There are a few things in life that are simply beyond description in a family newspaper. I learned very quickly that one should not be actually leaning against one of the power vents when one pushes the button. I still don’t know where my swimming suit went, but it left the room, I think. There I was, trapped in a swirling super-eddy of foam and sputtering and way too many bubbles. How could anyone call this relaxing when it made so much noise? Then it hit me: the memory of Coach Kemp. Kemp was the legendary Triopia football coach who would put injured halfbacks into the locker room’s whirlpool bath. Some of the boys said that the thing relaxed their muscles to the point where they had to have help getting out. I had no help. If this hurricane from hell actually robbed me of all my muscle tone, how was I going to extricate myself? Do you turn it off and sit there until the water turns frigid and your tendons came back to life? Would they come back to life? Panicked, I shut off the motor and got out of the tub. Actually, I didn’t so much get up as crawl up and flop over onto the floor. Perhaps you’ve seen YouTube videos of tuna fishing off the coast of Japan where they plop the big fish onto the deck.

Well, this is one heck of a predicament in which to find yourself while “Antiques Roadshow” is blaring away on the downstairs television. I could hear the antiquities evaluator drone on about this aging sarcophagus extricated from a tomb in Cairo and reached for a towel. I wasn’t about to be dug up at some future date and displayed on public television during pledge week.

I still have the Jacuzzi. I’m thinking of planting flowers.

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About the author

Ken Bradbury is an adjunct instructor of theatre at LLLC after retiring from Triopia. He entertains on the Spirit of Peoria riverboat and is the author of over 300 published plays. Website:

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