A man who made a fortune almost overnight was boasting to one of his cronies about his new estate. It had three swimming pools, he said. Impressed, his friend exclaimed, “It’s fabulous! But why three pools?” “One has cold water,” the host explained, “one has hot water, and one has no water at all.”
“One with cold water I can understand. I can even see a reason for one with hot water,” conceded the friend. “But what’s the idea of a swimming pool with no water at all?”
“You’d be surprised, Joe,” the host confided sadly, “how many of my old friends don’t know how to swim.”
The nouveau riche was dying to boast about his wealth to his old friends. To demonstrate his wealth, he constructed two swimming pools, one with cold water for the summer, and the other with hot water for the winter, so that he could show off his extravagance to his guests in any season. But it did not work out as he had expected, because most of his old friends were, as he had been himself, still poor, and didn’t know how to swim. He needed to do more to impress those people. His solution was constructing another swimming pool with no water. Those who couldn’t swim walked around in it, feeling as if they were enjoying swimming, and so, were physically impressed by the wealth of their old friend. The nouveau riche wanted to show off his wealth to everyone of his old friends all year round.
(This joke, written around 1949, seems to reflect the social conditions of the day when the boom of constructing swimming pools started in the U.S. homes.)