A story in today's Wall Street Journal examines the intensifying competitiveness of the lifeguarding job market. Beach lifeguards in California make $20 an hour and barf during lifeguard training, which is like boot camp sort of, and instructors ask things like "Are your fun buckets full?" and no one answers. And while this has nothing to do with that, I'm going to tell you about the time I was a lifeguard, back in high school. The high school summer job, you see, is a moribund tradition, but back in Generation X dead-end minimum wage jobs were relatively easy to find and in middle-class suburbs it was expected you had one. What the fuck else were you going to do? (Catholics don't do camp.) And fuck if lifeguarding wasn't the best fucking job in the universe. You get paid to sit. And tan. And thus enjoy the rare opportunity that is looking good in a swimsuit. And occasionally clean things that aren't particularly dirty to begin with, because they've got chlorine bumping up against them all day. I started at $4.65 and worked my way up to $10 as a "pool operator."