The nice thing about Frazz is that you don't have to wonder if Jef Mallett is passing on some silly rumor, especially when fitness is involved, given that he is a bit obsessive on the topic.
But triathlons aside, the strip is based on intelligent exchanges, and, if Caulfield says Michael Phelps pees in the pool, then Michael Phelps pees in the pool. And if Caulfield says scientists support Phelps' theory that it's harmless, you can take that to the bank.
We don't even need to get Kevin Costner involved.
As the experts noted, Phelps is only mistaken in saying that the chlorine kills anything in the urine. Urine is germ-and-microbe-free to begin, so there's nothing to kill, while, meanwhile, the relative pool/bladder volumes makes it inconsequential anyway.
Granted, there are a lot of things that probably won't kill you but that you still might not want to know about.
But, oh my, we've become a squeamish people.
Example: Back in June, 2011, Portland, Oregon, drained an 8 million gallon reservoir because surveillance cameras caught a guy peeing in the water, which means the taxpayers spent $36,000 to assuage the tender sensibilities of the head of the water bureau.
As this article on the event notes, a lot worse things happen in reservoirs, starting with the things that inspired W.C. Fields to drink gin.
Actually, I've heard two versions of the Fields quote about why he didn't drink water, but it really doesn't matter which he really said, except inasmuch as whichever one he actually said does reflect on his scientific knowledge.
He'd be correct to note that fish don't climb out of the water and run to a Port-O-San to relieve themselves, but they don't copulate at all, in or out of the water.
Now, before someone brings it up, let me note that reservoirs are very large and hotel water tanks are small, and it makes a difference. No dispute there.
But come on, man: I saw signs on the beach in Alameda a few years ago, noting that it was illegal for babies to paddle in the ocean without leakproof diapers.
You're telling me that the Pacific-freaking-Ocean, full of sea lions and whales, both of which do, bygawd, both pee and copulate, can be threatened by a dozen bare-assed babies on a sunny afternoon?
This kind of stupid goes back a ways: It's been nearly half a century since the Yippies panicked Mayor Daley into posting guards on Chicago's reservoirs to prevent demonstrators from spiking the water supply with LSD, which wouldn't have worked even if they'd had the amount of acid (theoretically) required.
And my grandfather came up with a clipping from the early 1900s about a scandal in which Italians were caught bathing in a New York City reservoir. He was tickled by the matter-of-fact racism of the piece: Clearly, the writer expected to turn on his tap and get water that tasted of garlic and cheap wine.
But we've entered a period of squeamishness that goes above and beyond mere silliness, and I think it's because we're not only urbanized but have totally and completely lost touch with nature.
It's not so long ago that even city people kept a few chickens, but it's long enough ago that I guess you probably have to be over 50 to remember it. Half the people in this country never see animals, aside from pigeons, squirrels and dressed-up pugs.
I was at the Lincoln Park Zoo one morning, following -- to provide a sense of how long ago this was -- a concert at the Electric Theater featuring Jefferson Airplane and Iron Butterfly, and my friend and I rounded a corner and saw that the next animal on display was a cow.
We were laughing about it, but then a field trip of seven and eight year olds came along and they weren't real clear on what that animal was. Once their teacher told them, they were incredulous, and it seemed unlikely that any of them were going to drink milk again for awhile.
This was understandable for poor kids from the inner city, but, 45 years later, it's spread. Just recently, people were gagging en masse over a Facebook posting about whether calamari in restaurants might actually be pig rectums.
The linked article admitted they hadn't actually found any examples of this, but never mind. You might as well tell a slumber party of 11-year-old girls that there's no such thing as ghosts.
And consider this: (A), aren't these delicate souls the same people who praise Indians for using every part of the buffalo? and (B) what have you got against chit'lins, there, white boy?
Not two weeks later, people were falling apart on-line over the revelation that gelatin is made from dead cows. Which I guess would explain the picture of the cow on the Knox Gelatin packet.
And I will readily concede that there are several good reasons to be vegetarian, from nutritional concerns to sustainability issues to conditions in factory farms.
But "ick" is not one of them. "Ick" simply shows that you don't know how the universe works.
And there may be a price to pay for growing up under that bell jar: Studies have shown that kids who grow up around animals are less prone to allergies and asthma than those who don't.
So come on. Get real. Embrace the circle of life: Everything that lives is gonna die sometime.
But not because somebody peed in the pool.