One summer in high school, I realized that it would make me pretty cool if I became a lifeguard (this was the ’90′s, OK?). So I learned CPR, took the lifeguarding exam, and got a job at a local pool.
I did not become cool. In fact, all I became was painfully aware of how cool other people were — namely, the other lifeguards.
Alas, my attempt at being the popular kid from a 1980′s teen movie didn’t work. But I’ll tell you one thing we all did, whether we were Ferris Bueller or Duckie — watch the pool.
Which brings be to my point — an article in the NY Times tells the story of several people who have drowned while under the lackadaisical supervision of a texting lifeguard, and reports that the phenomenon is becoming more and more common:
Clemente Rivera, of Rockaway Beach, Queens, who has been a lifeguard and waterfront supervisor in the New York City area since 1989, said that he often sees guards using their phones. “It’s just rampant,” he said.
So this is a little terrifying, yes? What was once a favorite childhood summer past time is entering into the ranks of “things being ruined by technology.” First it was driving, and now this. I’m sure that the whole thing is a question of psychology — something about not being able to grasp that your actions might cause someone else significant physical injury — but surely something can be done about this…like, preventing lifeguards from having cell phones by the pool?
I mean, who do you have to talk to, anyway? Why aren’t you busy flirting with the other lifeguards who are right in front of you?
Anyone else have ideas for solutions? Let us know…maybe we’ll send a strongly worder letter.