Working as a lifeguard is straight up one of the most boring jobs you can ever have. I do not recommend it–unless, of course, you are a teenager like me with tons of free time during the summer and an unhealthy addiction to online shopping.
As a “water rescue professional,” they tell you, it is essential to maintain constant vigilance to ensure the safety of the patrons that shell out dough every month to use private facilities that budget funds for shade tarps but not AED’s.
In short, they expect you, the employee, to sit in the sun for hours at a time, monitoring children and families frolicking in the water, without falling asleep, zoning out, or neglecting to enforce an extensive list of fun-sucking rules.
It was one of these rules that a small five-year-old boy broke when he jumped off the diving board, almost directly onto his friend. Being all the way across the pool and the only guard on duty, I was forced to drag my butt out of the chair and over to the deep end, so I could remind these youngsters about the Diving Board Rules. It was then that I noticed the Rulebreaker treading water furiously, flailing his arms in the air, and calling for help.
I hesitated, not sure if he was for real, but the look on his face convinced me that this was, indeed, Not a Drill.
Feet first (just like I’d been taught), I jumped in.
I expected him to struggle and pull away from me in a panic, so I yelled “It’s okay! I’m a lifeguard I got you!” and hoped it didn’t frighten him too much. On the contrary, the second I had him in my arms, he went limp with relief.
The deep end was a thankfully short distance to swim, and by the time I got to the other side, Dad of the Year was waiting for us. I handed his son out and exited the pool to applause.
For the first and only time in my life, I had the pleasure of blushing and saying “just doing my job.”
The rest of the summer, I was probably the Indian Valley Swim Club’s most attentive employee. No one was going to drown on my watch, and saving a life was an exhilarating and proud experience.
Side note: If someone named Jason Levy does something famous or significant or makes the world a better place, I take credit.