Stop Guarding Lives!

, , , | Right | February 10, 2020

(This is my first year as a lifeguard on the beach and all has been smooth sailing, just a few rescues and warning people… except for this one mother who walks up to me with her son in tow.)

Mum: “My son lost his action camera out in the surf.”

Me: “Okay, did it have a floaty on it?”

Mum: “No.”

Me: “Well, I’ll keep my eye out for any that are handed in.”

Mum: *starts to get mad* “No, aren’t you going to go and look for it now?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I can’t go out looking for it as it is a busy day and I can’t leave my spot.”

(I’m the only lifeguard on duty.)

Mum: “What do you mean? Of course, you can! No one is in trouble and he just lost it over there!”

Me: “Look. Even if there was no one in the surf, I would still not go looking for your son’s lost action camera.”

(She grabs her son and walked away, yelling at me.)

Mum: “I’m calling your manager for not doing your job and have you fired.”

(Did this lady really think I was going to leave my spot watching the ocean to go and look for her son’s missing action camera?)

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Life’s A Beach

, , , | Right | February 9, 2020

(Most beaches in New Jersey require a badge for access, so it is my job as a badge checker to sell daily, weekly, and seasonal badges to the general public. Most people who come to the beach know this and are ready to pay; some are not. My coworker and friend borrows my bike to grab lunch on her break, and she is returning the bike so she witnesses this transpire. I am a nineteen-year-old female.)

Me: *to a surfer trying to pass my box* “Excuse me, sir. Do you have a badge?”

Surfer: “Badge?”

Me: “Yes, a badge. Here in [Town], we require that all people who want to use the beach must have a badge. It is $10 for the day.”

Surfer: “[State Park] is closed today so why do I have to pay that amount? Can I get a discount?”

Me: “No, sir, sorry, but we’re not affiliated with [State Park]. We have our own rates that we must use. If you go to [Next Town Over], their rate is only $8.

Surfer: “This is bulls***! I have to pay if I just use the water?”

Me: “Unless you can jump from here to the waterline, then you’re going to have to pay.”

Surfer: “Why?”

Me: *prepared because I hear this every single day* “Well, [Town] owns the beach, so therefore you using the beach without paying is considered trespassing.”

Surfer: “They don’t own the beach.”

Me: “…?”

Surfer: “When Sandy happened the waterline came all the way up to the houses; therefore, the town doesn’t own it.”

Me: “Ah, I don’t think that’s right, but okay… It’s $10, sir.”

Surfer: “You take your job way too seriously.”

(Literally, my job is checking and selling badges; that is the entire job.)

Me: “Okay, sir, $10.”

Surfer: “Do you get commission for being a jerk?” *penny boards away*

Friend: “What the f***?”

Me: “I wish we got commission.”

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Swim Gang!

, , , , , | Friendly | November 15, 2019

(One summer evening when I’m in my late teens or early twenties, a few friends and I go to a free concert at a local public beach. During a break in the concert, two of my friends and I walk to a quieter, less crowded area of the beach to talk a bit. As we’re talking, a boy who appears to be 10 to 12 years old comes up to us. For context, all of the people involved in this story are white males.)

Boy: “Excuse me, you’re not allowed to go swimming right now. There’s no lifeguard on duty.”

(We’re fully clothed and not standing close to the water, so it should be reasonably obvious that we have no intention of going in. Nevertheless, I figure the kid is just trying to be helpful. I respond politely:)

Me: “Don’t worry; we weren’t planning to go swimming. Thanks anyway.”

(He seems satisfied with that answer and wanders off. We think this is the end of it and we go back to our conversation, but not three minutes later, the kid is back.)

Boy: “Excuse me. Are you three a gang?”

Me: “Um… no.”

Boy: “We don’t like gangs here. If you’re a gang, I’m going to have to kick you off the beach.”

(Too bewildered to say anything, we just stared at him in shock as he wandered away again. Not surprisingly, no one kicked us off the beach, but our newfound status as a “gang” became a running joke for several years thereafter.)

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A Whole Ocean Of Worry

, , , , | Friendly | September 30, 2019

(I’m walking along a beach with my mom on an island in the Bahamas, taking in the scenery and generally just soaking in the beautiful day. I mention to her that I’ve noticed people not walking the right way in the ocean — the right way being shuffling along and not taking big steps, so as not to step on a stingray and get stung. A woman nearby hears what I’ve said and looks at me, aghast.)

Woman: “You mean they don’t take those out of here?!”

Me: “What? The stingrays? Uh, no. This is the ocean. They live here?”

Woman: “Oh, my God!” *scurries back up the beach to a lounge chair and sits down*

(My mom and I shared a good WTF look. I understand people might not have heard about the best way to walk so as not to get stung, even though there were a few signs up and the brochures mentioned it, etc., but… it’s the ocean. You know, the wild? Where animals live? Some people are just… There are no words.)

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That’s What The Spam Bots WANT You To Think

, , , , | Related | January 21, 2019

(I’m at the beach with two cousins. They are discussing an important e-mail message that [Cousin #1] has received, and [Cousin #2] needs to see it.)

Cousin #2: “Don’t forget to forward [important e-mail] to me. Can you do it right now?”

Cousin #1: “Oh, right.”

([Cousin #1] takes out his phone and starts looking for the message. A few minutes later…)

Cousin #1: “I can’t find it; I’ll have to do it later when I get home. I think I put it in my spam folder.”

Cousin #2 & Me: *almost in unison* “Why would you put an important e-mail in your spam folder?!”

Cousin #1: “Because that’s where I put things. Where else would you like me to put it?”

(After a few more minutes of discussion, we found out that [Cousin #1] legitimately didn’t know what the spam folder was for and was using it to store all e-mails that he wanted to save. Thankfully, the important message was indeed there.)

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