For three summers I didn’t come home from my summer job smelling like grease from the local café or fresh cut mowed lawns, but I came home smelling like chlorine and tanning oil. I spent my days in a high lifeguard stand, towering over bathers enforcing rules and watching for drowning victims. I slathered on the tanning oil to get the perfect deep brown tan, and occasionally lifted my polarized sunglasses to double-check the patrons. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.
This summer job was located at the local swimming pool where I worked for three summers, watching hundreds of bathers enjoy their summer fun. There were three other lifeguards that also worked with me. So, why did we choose this job to sit up on a ‘perch’ for 25 to 50 minutes at a time when it's a sweltering 100 degrees on a daily basis? We all loved coming to work at the pool because it wasn’t like any other job that many teenagers had in our hometown. For starters, we got to be outside and dress very comfortably. Wearing a swimsuit with one of our lifeguard shirts was our dress code for work, and our biggest necessities on the job were a whistle, a hat, and lots of water. With a sociable and supportive management and friendly co-workers, I never dreaded going to the pool to work. Work started at noon for us everyday, giving us just one hour to prep the pool for the upcoming afternoon. When we arrived at work we started vacuuming the pool, setting up chairs, and making sure the walking areas around the pool were clean and free of items that may cause someone to trip or fall. We also checked the chlorine and pH levels in the pool to make sure they were at a safe level to swimmers but also high enough to keep the pool clean and free from bacteria. There were also the little things behind the scene that we did like hosing bathrooms down, taking out the trash, and cleaning the sinks and toilets. By one o’ clock we were open for business! Bathers would be pulling up in the...
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