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Lance Goodbody, Lifeguard Extraordinaire

by Jan Ackerson  
11/28/2006 / Christian Living

Lance Goodbody turned away from the police officer and bent down to gaze into the window of the nearby squad car. A lock of bleached blond hair had flopped over his brow in an unsightly manner. Lance smoothed the offending lock back into place and grinned at his reflection. "My teeth are very white against my bronzed skin," he thought. "I am a handsome man"

Mr. Goodbody? Can we continue? Officer Wright tapped Lance on the shoulder. I still have lots of questions about what happened down there. He pointed toward the beach, where paramedics from two ambulances were attempting CPR on several victims.

Lance dragged his gaze away from his own reflection. Sure, dude. What dya want to know?

Well, in the first place, why did you let those people swim today? Werent the conditions too dangerous? Behind the officer, four-foot waves crashed into the sand.

Lance snorted. Hey, it was their choice. No one forced them to go into the water.

Officer Wright stared at Lance in amazement. Isnt that your job, though, to keep them from danger?

Well, if you want to get all technical, I guess so. But man, it wasnt that bad, dude. Just one time in the undertow wont hurt. Besides, its boring swimming in the nice, calm water all the time. People gotta have a little bit of fun, dude. Its no big deal.

Tell that to those guys being worked on over there. The activity on the beach increased as one paramedic used heart paddles on a victim, while others called out frantic instructions.

Lance flexed a muscle and brushed a few grains of sand from his bicep. Listen, dude, I gotta get back on my stand. Lotsa chicksuh, peopledown there are looking at me. I mean, looking up to me. Im kinda like a role model. So is that all?

No, thats not all. I have several more questions, Mr. Goodbody. Didnt you see those people waving for help? Couldnt you hear them screaming?

Dude, I heard em, but I just couldnt let it get to me, yknow? I mean, if I swam out there every time someone was in a little bit of trouble, I might offend em, see? I dont want em to think Im judging their swimming ability or anything.

The officer blinked in disbelief. But they were dying out there! You knew how to save themwhy didnt you? On the beach, two of the victims were zipped into body bags.

Its like this, officer. Everybodys differenttheres lots of ways of getting rescued. Maybe my way wouldnt work for those people. Some people just arent into being dragged out of the water. Lance spoke as if to a child. You gotta respect their point of view, man.

Officer Wright sputtered. You call yourself a lifeguard?

Lance examined his well-manicured fingernails. Chill, dude. I figured someone would save em. And you know what? Theres millions of beaches. I just cant be responsible for all of them, so why sweat it? Besides, I didnt want to He hesitated for a moment, smoothing his tank top over his chest muscles. get all messed up, yknow?

Snapping his notepad shut, Officer Wright spoke sternly. Mr. Goodbody, I need to see your lifesaving certification.

Lance patted the pockets of his swim trunks with a sheepish look. Whoa, dude, I dont have that on me. Truth is, I havent renewed it in years. Once a lifeguard, always a lifeguard, right? Besides, its a bummer going to all those refresher courses.

The last of the bodies on the beach below were loaded into ambulances. Officer Wright watched for a moment, then continued his interrogation. Why wouldnt you want to keep your skills current?

Well, officer, its like this. I can learn all I need to know about swimming by just hanging out here at the beach. I dont need that lifeguard instructor always telling me what to do. And besides, those classes are just full of do-goodersalways blowing their whistles at every little splash. Im a good enough lifeguard, dude. I even donate money to the Lifeguards Retirement Fund. Want me to show you how well I can swim? Lance bounced on his toes, as if preparing to dash into the water.

The policeman shook his head. That wont be necessary, Mr. Goodbody. I believe I know just exactly how good a lifeguard you are.

The ambulances pulled slowly away from the beach, their sirens silent.

Jan is a Christian who has traveled through sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Check out Jan's website at
Copywrite Jan Ackerson--2006

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