A Life-Guarded Sense Of Self

, , , , | Working | February 12, 2018

(I am a seasonal surf lifesaver at a beach popular with tourists. I have just pulled a child, who was screaming and flailing about, out of deep water, and brought him on to the sand.)

Mother: “Oh, my goodness! How did that happen?”

Me: “You okay, buddy?”

Kid: “Yeah.”

Me: “What were you doing out that far?”

Kid: “I kind of just doggy paddled, then when I put my feet down there was no, like, bottom.”

Me: “Ah. Did you swallow any water?”

Kid: “Nah.”

Mother: “How did this happen?”

Me: “Maybe when he’s ready to go back in, it would be best to have an adult in with him.”

Mother: “You saying this is my fault?”

Me: “No, I’m saying that he may not be a strong enough swimmer to be swimming alone in the ocean just yet.”

Mother: “He swims in the lake at home all the time!”

Me: “A lake and an ocean are very different.”

Mother: “All I’m saying is, this wouldn’t happen back home. Kids just don’t drown in America.”

Me: “Just make sure someone is with him if he goes back in the water, okay?”

Mother: “Oh, so, you’re the beach police, now?”

Me: “Yeah, actually, I am.”

Mother: “Smarta**.”

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