Debate: "Pools vs. Oceans" vs. "Ice Cream vs. Popsicles"

By Glenn & Jake 

This week we wanted to debate one of the most quintessentially summer topics available. Many were suggested but they all would have been blocked by our average reader's Net Nanny. We came down to two: oceans vs. pools and ice cream vs. popsicles. From there, Jake and Glenn usually pick one topic and fight it out with all of the skill and finesse of an American Gladiator. But this time we could not reach an agreement and neither of us would back down in support of such wonderful summer debate topics. Thus we now undertake our second meta-debate of the Tuesday Debate series: which debate would be better - pools vs. oceans or ice cream vs. popsicles?

Glenn: What would be more summer and all American than a debate about oceans vs. pools? When I think of summer, I think of beaches, sand and big waves that I surf on like the Beach Boys. However, using a different side of my brain I also think about chlorine, lifeguards and cracking my head open on a diving board. Growing up in a middle class household, we didn't have a pool but we lived in a nice enough town that there was a very cheap public pool full of children, teenagers and old people instead of gang members and registered sex offenders (you didn't have to register when I was a kid). At the same time, my grandmother lived half the year in Florida so usually around Christmastime or some other "holiday" we would visit her and spend time at the beach along the Florida coast. This was where I drowned for the first time and lost my virginity, so it has a very special meaning to me. Imagine how great a debate it would be to battle it out between oceans and pools!

Jake: I disagree that pools vs. oceans would be a good debate. I associate pools with summer, but growing up in the Midwest, I do not think of oceans as being summery. I feel that oceans are nothing more than where ships live and whales go to the bathroom. What makes an ocean so much better than a lake, fjord or a stream? You just said that you associate oceans with Christmas. Christmas is in the winter!

To me summer is all about one thing: beating the heat in any way possible. The best way to cool down is either ice cream or popsicles. I feel like that would be the richer debate topic. There are so many flavors of ice cream and even more varieties of popsicles. When I think of America, I think of a rocket pop. They are red, white and blue just like our flag. I do not think of America when I think of pools or oceans. Oceans even touch other countries, and not just Mexico and Canada. Ice cream vs. popsicles is the more patriotic, and therefore better, debate topic.

Glenn: You don't think of America when you think of pools and oceans? I think of America literally every moment of my life, even if I'm in a foreign country that has no connection to us, like Afghanistan, Iraq or Puerto Rico. Sure, Rocket Pops are great. I would eat a Rocket Pop at any point in the calendar except during Black History Month. But the idea that a Rocket Pop and the 20 seconds it takes to swallow one whole is a true respite from the heat is as absurd as the manner I was taught to eat Rocket Pops. You can sit in a pool for literally days and never feel the heat that men in business suits will feel walking around the streets of your small town or major urban center. You can't stay in the ocean as long, but oceans still provide us with more than ice cream does. Our best oceans are full of more oil than even Edy's Ice Cream, which is my favorite brand. I might buy Edy's on sale for $2.99 at the grocery store and enjoy the entire carton in one sitting, but that only means I'm depressed. When I go to the beach for a day, that means it's summer and no one can be depressed when it's this hot outside.

Jake: We aren't talking about beaches. We are talking about oceans vs. pools. Beaches vs. pools would have been a great summer topic. Beaches are comparable to pools, oceans are just too large to be related to pools. Ice cream and popsicles could not be closer related without becomes some sort of homogenized ultra dessert. Ice cream is delicious on a hot summer day, no matter how quickly you eat it. Of course you can indulge in it during the colder months, but it is most appropriate during the hottest of seasons, summer. Swimming is too restrictive. You cannot go swimming for a half hour after eating a quart of chunky monkey. I do not like anything where I have to wait for longer than three minutes. That is why I refuse to eat at Denny's; plus they don't serve black people. I think that ice cream vs. popsicles would put anybody in the summer mindset, where pools vs. oceans will just make people think of their child, who drown in a pool or ocean.

Glenn: The majority of my friends from elementary school drowned either in public pools or "kiddie pools" in their own backyards. This speaks to how dangerous any body of water can be. Remember in The Good Son when Macaulay Culkin murdered his infant brother Richard by drowning him in the bathtub? I suppose you would make the argument to never bathe a child or to never walk in a puddle too. Furthermore, how many people do you think have died from ice cream headaches? There are no official figures because the ice cream lobby will never allow Congress or the FDA to do a full investigation, but I can only imagine. Popsicles don't kill people, but neither do guns and we still outlaw those. Now onto your slurring of oceans. When I talk about oceans I'm of course only talking about oceans in relation to a beach and the relevant part of the ocean is mostly the part where you swim. Unless you're Gertrude Ederle (who swam across the English Channel), you can't swim across an ocean. Normal Americans like me - the same kind of Americans who eat at Denny's because of their selective serving policies - love the beach/ocean and pools because they're all so closely tied to summer. Normal Americans like me would have wanted to read a debate about which was better and then make weekend plans to visit one based on the stronger argument. Now normal Americans like me are going to be stuck licking an ice cream cone and thinking about the Beach Boys song "Summer Means New Love."

Jake: Disregarding the racism in your last argument (calling white people "normal Americans"), I still find it faulty. Ice cream headaches have never killed anybody, they actually prevent cancer. Popsicles might not cool you down for very long, but the sweet relief it brings is comparable to that of suicide for a depressed teen. It's a temporary solution to a permanent problem-- being hot. I never liked going swimming. The only time I feel comfortable taking my clothes off in front of strangers is when I am drunk. That is why I never have a cocktail when I go to TGI Friday's. Oceans are filled with salt and I'm worried about my blood pressure. Ice cream is delicious, as are popsicles. The only concern one has when eating a frozen treat is melting. When one goes swimming they have to worry about people peeing in the water. Nobody has ever urinated in my ice cream.


  1. Haha, this is more meta and self-referential than a David Foster Wallace novel.

  2. Yeah and it's about ice cream!! Actually, I'm pretty mentally torn. You two are just too good at this.

  3. Thank you, Keelin and Kaleena. I liked this debate. It's our most postmodern debate. I only wish that Glenn and I didn't really have trouble choosing between those two topics. It would make it funnier, but only to me.

  4. hahahaha @ jake re: calling glenn out for calling white people "normal americans." gr8 deb8!

  5. lol @ Keelin's comment! I think I detected fractals in this debate!! Great db8 fellas!!!

  6. This was the "classic" summer debate.

  7. One year later, this debate remains as popular as ever - especially as summer creeps around the corner like a Bosnian Serb soldier at a Sarajevo intersection.


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