What shall I write about today? Joining a band called Big Bertha? You already knew about that, right? So, let’s continue with our story:
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I waved to Judy, as she exited the bathhouse, trailed closely behind by Ricky and Jimmy. I had to laugh at the puppy dog expression on the boys’ faces—no doubt a direct result of having recently seen Judy naked—just like most of the young male population in New Carlisle, Ohio.
Quickly crossing the hot sand, I head to the main guard stand, located on top of a ten-foot high platform and connected by four silver-painted metal pipes to an anchored dock. Climbing a ladder to a bolted wooden swivel chair, I lean back, smear some zinc oxide on my nose, and start scanning the swimming area.
It’s a typical summer weekday with about fifty people at the beach, mostly kids in the water and their mothers sunning on the shore. There’s a frenzied pattern to activities at the beach, made up with swimmers splashing about and lots of yelling and horseplay. A good lifeguard looks for the exception to the norm.
My attention is now focused on a young man, who has made his way from shore to the deep water line by half swimming and half pushing off the bottom. Standing on his tiptoes, with water up to his chin, he’s eyeing the closest deep-water raft, more than twenty yards away. I sit up and slide forward to the edge of my chair. Don’t do it, you’ll never make it.
But kids have more balls than brains, so the boy pushes off and starts flailing about like a wobbly water wheel. He covers about ten yards before his strength gives out and his body sinks from horizontal to vertical. That’s always the first sign. Kicking as hard as he can, just to keep his head above water, panic creeps into his young eyes.
Why not immediately jump in at this point and rescue the child? Believe it or not, people have yelled at me because they were embarrassed that they needed saving. What are you doing? I’m fine. How could you be so stupid?
Now sinking faster than the Titanic, my young man needs a little assistance, so I blow one long blast on my whistle to let the other guards know a rescue is in progress. Taking off my sunglasses and white cotton jacket, I jump into the water, never letting my head go under, so the victim always remains in sight. I close the gap in a matter of seconds and grab the boy just as he slips below the surface. He is exhausted, so there is no struggle. Many times in an effort to keep from drowning, victims will do anything to keep sucking in air–including kick, bite, scratch, or climb on top of you.
I put the boy in a cross-chest carry, and then swim back to the dock, where another guard helps lift him out of the water. He’s turning blue in his extremities, so I reach into his mouth, pull out his tongue, and start CPR. After each breath, I watch his chest rise and fall to be sure air is getting to the lungs. Twenty seconds later, the boy coughs, spits up some water and starts to breathe. I make him lie there for a few minutes, because it’s easy to go into shock after a near drowning. When his pulse, color and breathing return to normal, I help him sit up. The boy looks up at me, dazed and confused. I smile. “Welcome back.”
“My baby, my baby,” cries the boy’s mother, as she pushes her way through the crowd to hug her son. She turns to me, tears flowing. “I’m so sorry. I only took my eyes off him for a second.”
I wish I had a dollar for every time a mother has said that to me. “It’s okay, lady. Your boy’s going to be just fine.” It’s true too. It takes three to four minutes without oxygen before permanent brain damage occurs. “Just make sure he stays in shallow water where he can touch…and sign him up for swim lessons.”
“I will. Thank you so much.” With that she ushers her boy back to the beach, scolding the poor kid all the way.
Our little drama concluded, the infamous, bikini-clad Judy presses up against me and winks. “You can give me mouth-to-mouth anytime” Now, it’s a crime in most states—except maybe West Virginia—that a girl that young is so willing and available. She pouts and draws a circle on my wet, naked chest. “Why is it again that you never ask me out?”
I frown. “Because you are an illegal substance. Your father, Policeman Sam, would beat me up, arrest me, and then beat me up some more.” Judy shrugs her lovely shoulders. “It’s your loss.” Flipping her hair, she walks away like a Ford model on a runway—pure poetry. With way more than a twinge of regret, I watch her go.
“DRAFTED” by Rich Allan http://www.amazon.com/Drafted-ebook/dp/B004LGTRSK/ref=tmm_kin_title_0