Friday, March 25, 2011

"Meet the New Boss", by Chris Brewster

(Photo above shows Chris Brewster on duty at the old La Jolla Shores tower "back in the day". Photo courtesy of Chris Brewster.)

"County Recurrent" News is pleased to publish a new story by a lifeguard and writer new to digital pages of County Recurrent. Chris Brewster is a retired full time lifeguard and former Chief Lifeguard for the San Diego Lifeguard Service. For the past several years he has also been President of the United States Lifesaving Association. We hope you enjoy this story as much as we have.


Meet the New Boss

Two or three years into my tenure as a seasonal lifeguard in San Diego, I was transferred to La Jolla, the Northern District of the San Diego Lifeguard Service, and assigned to La Jolla Shores. I was a Lifeguard I, with no real seniority, and had to fill in when/were needed. There were a couple of permanent guards to ran the beach, then a sergeant (first level supervisor) running part of the La Jolla District, and a lieutenant (second level supervisor) in charge of all of La Jolla. Back then, the lieutenants worked weekdays only.

I was asked occasionally to fill in for an injured lifeguard at Black’s Beach. It’s a de facto nude beach, rules aside. There are no bathrooms, no lifeguard towers, quite primitive. I didn’t care. I was a young lifeguard being assigned to a nude beach!

We brought everything we needed for the day in a Jeep pickup. I think there were six of us. One would climb the cliff and watch the water from 300 feet up. On the beach, the way we would get elevation to watch the water was to put a folding beach chair on the top of one of our 12’ rescue boards on the roof rack and trade-off watching the water.

Black’s is interesting for all kinds of reasons. It’s a truly beautiful beach, remote though in the city, has great surf and powerful rips, and by and large people are pretty responsible, picking up trash after themselves and so on. Police would come down every few days, but they pretty much avoided it because nudity was unlawful and they weren’t wanting to arrest an entire beach. Initially, the nudity was pretty distracting, but after awhile, it became fairly routine, with a few exceptions.

I was sitting atop the vehicle one weekend day, watching the water and feeling pretty good about my lot in life when I heard one of the guards say, “Lieutenant!” He wasn’t warning us, just saying hello. Since I had never met the lieutenant and was the one assigned to watch the water, I kept my eyes glued there. But eventually, one of the senior guards said, hey Chris, you should meet the lieutenant. So I got down off the top of the vehicle, which was always a precarious move and landed on the sand. I looked over, stuck out my hand to shake his, and noticed that he was completely naked. As it turned out, he went there on weekends all the time.

This was an interesting way to meet the boss, but I made a point to act natural, and actually I had learned to do so what with all the nudists who would come up all the time and ask all the typical questions you get at any beach on any day. It was almost seeming normal to me until he said, oh, I’d like you to meet my wife. I turned and was immediately aware that she too was stark naked, but I looked her straight in the eye as I spoke to her. So that’s how I met the boss and the boss’s wife.

Lifesaving Aye,

B. Chris Brewster
Phone (mobile): 1-619-807-7777 (California, USA GMT -7)
SKYPE: bcbrewster
Twitter: @uslifesaver
News Group:
United States Lifesaving Association:
International Life Saving Federation:

"If you have a chance to help others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this earth." Roberto Clemente


*** Many Thanks to Chris for sharing this great story with all of us.

Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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