For the second summer in a row, I am working on the Jersey Shore. What am I doing, you might ask. Was I hired to film the third? Fifth? Tenth? (really, who let them have more than one season) season of the Jersey Shore? Or perhaps one of the esteemed night clubs hired me to dance on their floor to show off all my good moves and bring in customers. Alas, it is a lot less exotic than that… I am merely a beach lifeguard.
Now before your imagination starts running wild and the judgments begin to form in your inevitably atrophied brain (hey school was over a long time ago, I get it), let me specify that I lifeguard at a family beach almost a half hour from Seaside, the home of the TV show, the Jersey Shore. Though, as I understand it, they film in Miami now anyways? Why Miami over the armpit of America? Really now, go figure.
The patrons of my beach are families with children. They are never inebriated, cursing is frowned upon, general debauchery is not tolerated, and you can’t have cigarettes on the beach, not even the kind you roll yourself.
This tiny bubble of pristine beach makes up approximately 2 miles of the 127 miles of beach in NJ. People are there with kids, doing their own thing, minding their own business. It is never so crowded that you can’t find a place to spread your towel at least a few feet away from your neighbors. Consequently, it is unsurprising that patrons seem to forget that we lifeguards are always there… watching. And on those cold, slow days, when there aren’t people in the water who need to be watched and potentially saved, it is not unlikely I derive my entertainment from those frolicking on the sand. It is my job. In fact, the fees you pay to use the beach pay my salary. Now spying is not the proper word, but the wind carries conversations and if you’re going to pose for embarrassing pictures, well, I am going to see. And rest assured, we judge you. No one else thinks it’s nearly as funny as you do.
I’ve seen a lot of embarrassing things sitting on that stand, but one of the most ridiculous are the photos I see taken at the beach. I’ve seen it all: friends taking pictures of friends, professionals taking pictures of models, moms taking picture of wannabe models (even when they’re overweight and posing like they’re the next Sports Illustrated bikini model).
I’ve seen some funny, compromising, and down right absurd poses. What mother thinks this is an appropriate pose for their daughters?
But above all, the most absurd, irritating, and telling pictures that I see taken are the infamous jumping pictures. Seeing girls (and yes, occasionally boys) taking jumping pictures immediately earns them the label of jailbait. Except for this couple made up of clearly legal adults… who knows what they were thinking. (start at 0:42 and try really hard to ignore the cheesy music)
What self-respecting, mature, adult spends an hour trying really hard to coordinate a large group of people to jump at the same time. Why? For what purpose? Anyone who sees that picture will know it took you about 749 takes to get it right.
Now we’ve all had those silly, misguided teen years where we’ve tried the jumping photos. But really, people can see you. And we recognize you when you come back day after day, trying to take the same pictures. You look ridiculous. Save it for your backyard. Unless, of course, you’ve got this kid’s hops
or no shame— trust me, we like to laugh as much as the next person. More power to you.