I have a parcel shp and a lake shp.
How to calculate the distance between the parcel polygon and the lake?
I do not want to use the measure ruler tool in ArcGIS Desktop 10.2.
You can use Generate Near Table, which will use FIDs to relate your two polygons. e.g. parcel_poly can be the IN_FID and lake_poly can be the OUT_FID, or vice versa. I believe the general Near tool would also work, but the output will not be a standalone table.