Going to the beach these days can be a trying ordeal. Forget the humiliation of wearing a bathing suit or the experience of sand where you never thought you could get sand. Like every other aspect of our lives in this “free” country, there are rules.
No alcohol on the beach. Who came up with that one?
No swimming with the shark? Here’s your sign.
Do we even need a sign for this? What’s the fine for drowning???
I guess this wasn’t a misprint.
But as I lay on the beach, basking in the sun and wondering how I am going to get the jellyfish out of my pants, I happened to notice the lifeguard waving orange flags wildly. I had noticed this behavior earlier when I had been out in the water. The lifeguard would blow his whistle and wave his flags for swimmers to move to safer areas. At least, I think that’s what he was doing. In the ocean, without my glasses, I couldn’t really tell what he was doing. He might have been pointing at me for all I know. My ears are better. He should have used a bull horn–‘hey, you. Yeah, you, the one who’s almost drowning. Stop that!’ But now he appeared to be waving frantically at the next lifeguard up the coast.
What is he doing? Is he trying to signal the next lifeguard to steal second base?
In an age where my daughter can sit at the table and text her friend sitting at the other side of the table, is this the best we can do in life saving communication? Flag waving 101?
Apparently the lifeguards use this form of communication to pass information along the beach from one lifeguard station to the next. What does that sound like to you? It sounds like a game of telephone. One message handed down the length of the beach.
The first lifeguard does his best to send the message, “There’s a riptide coming. Clear the beach.” By the time it is forwarded to the last lifeguard, he’s trying to figure out why his buddy is flagging the message, “When’s Rip Torn coming? I’ve got an itch.”
But what if there is an emergency? How does the next life guard even know that the other guy is trying to signal him?
I guess that’s what the whistle is for.
Unless he’s whistling at me before I get sucked out to sea.