Dear Urban Mermaid

This post is an advice column for people who live below sea level.

Dear Urban Mermaid:
While lifeguarding for only one hour, 8am-9am, the pool was packed with four swimmers per lane. Some of them got angry with me for trying to direct them into lanes suited to their pace. I found out from the front desk afterwards that many of them complained about me. How do I improve my customer service skills? – Signed, Traffic Shark

Dear Traffic Shark: Sometimes fat people take it personally when you tell them to move to the slow lane. They think it’s because they’re fat, and you’re discriminating against them, but the reality is they are just slow swimmers, and they should swim in the slow lane.

Dear Urban Mermaid:
I am a swim instructor for 3-5-year-olds. One little boy screams for the entire half-hour class. He refuses to get in the water and cries louder if I pick him up and bring him into the water with me, against his will. His father says I should just force him, but I disagree. I don’t want to traumatize the kid any further. Yesterday, I told him to look into my eyes, and suddenly he stopped crying. It was like magic, but as soon as I moved on to the six other kids in the class, he resumed his freak-out. I don’t have time for jedi mind tricks with a five-year-old, so I literally sent him away. Told him to go find his father. His father wasn’t very happy with me. – Signed, Fish Eyes

Dear Fish Eyes: Tell the father he should take his kid to family swim and spend some quality time with of son. A stranger is not going to cure his phobia of the water.

Dear Urban Mermaid: I am a swim instructor for adults who have a fear of water. In the first class, I encouraged students to jump in while holding my hand. One of them is pregnant and went straight to the bottom when she jumped in. Thank God she knew how to pull herself back up. But I don’t know if my students will ever trust me again, especially after a second student almost drowned me after jumping in (she was heavier than me).  – Signed, Bad Swim Teacher

Dear Bad Swim Teacher: Well, not sure what to tell you here, except that yes – I agree. You’re a terrible swim teacher if you’re telling adults with phobias of the water to jump into the deep end on their first lesson. What do you plan to teach them in the second class? Flip turns? Synchronized diving? Butterfly? Slow down, sis.

Dear Urban Mermaid: I am a lifeguard during family swim at an hour when the pool isn’t very crowded. Yesterday, an employee of the pool yelled at me for keeping one lap swim lane open during family swim. There weren’t many people at the pool, so I told her she had plenty of space and to stop trying to use her employee credentials to re-configure the pool for her own personal needs. She said she would report me to my aquatics director. I began to cry and left the pool. I hadn’t eaten much that day and I was tired from teaching five swim classes earlier that day. What would have been a better way to handle this situation? – Signed, Hungry Starfish

Dear Hungry Starfish: You already gave your answer in your question – best to be well-rested with a full stomach before guarding a pool full of entitled assholes.