Not Waving But Drowning

August 6, 1999

There’s a shortage of lifeguards around the country this summer. Considering that most of the lakes, beaches, and community pools I’ve visited over the years were lifeguard-free, this is surprising, but I heard it on the radio so it must be true. Apparently lifeguards on TV outnumber real lifeguards by a staggering amount. (The same, interestingly, is true of police officers, private detectives, advertising agents, and wealthy, wacky people in their twenties who live amusing, catch-phrase laden lives.)

Part of the problem seems to be that businesses in malls are offering better wages and better benefits. They allow teenagers to sit in an air-conditioned room and do nothing, rather than forcing them to sit in the hot sun and do nothing. For some reason it’s also easier to ignore someone whose taco was put together incorrectly than someone being attacked by a shark. But at least lifeguards don’t have to wear hairnets. The shortage of lifeguards has forced those beaches and pools that seem to think they’re necessary to raise the wages they offer, and this has in turn drawn applicants who–I’m not kidding here–don’t know how to swim. Fortunately most of them have been turned away, but for safety’s sake, always swim with a buddy, never lose sight of the shore, and make sure you swim in areas with signs that say, "Swim At Your Own Risk", "Warning: Dangerous Undertow", and "Beach Off Limits Due to Biohazard".

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

How to Have Fun at Wal Mart

  1. Take shopping carts for the express purpose of filling them and stranding them at strategic locations.

  2. Get boxes of condoms and randomly put them in peoples carts when they don’t realize it.

  3. Set all the alarm clocks to go off at ten minute intervals throughout the day.

  4. Run up to an employee (preferably a male) while squeezing your legs together and practically yell at him "Where are your tampons?". (It’s especially effective if you’re also a male.)

  5. Try on bras over top of your clothes. (Ditto.)

  6. Make a trail of orange juice on the ground, leading to the restrooms.

  7. Walk up to an employee and tell him in an official tone,"I think we’ve got a Code 3 in housewares," and see what happens.

  8. Tune all the radios to a polka station; then turn them all on and turn the volumes to "10."

  9. Challenge other customers to duels with tubes of gift wrap.

  10. Re-dress the mannequins as you see fit.

  11. Test the fishing rods and see what you can "catch" from the other aisles.

  12. Put M&M’s on layaway.

  13. Move"Caution: Wet Floor" signs to carpeted areas.

  14. Set up a tent in the camping department; tell others you’ll only invite them in if they bring pillows from Bed and Bath.

  15. Contaminate the entire auto department by sampling all the spray air fesheners.

  16. Nonchalantly "test" the brushes and combs in Cosmetics.

  17. When someone asks if you need help, begin to cry and ask, "Why won’t you people just leave me alone?"

  18. Look right into the security camera, and use it as a mirror while you pick your nose.

  19. Take up an entire aisle in Toys by setting up a full scale battlefield with G.I. Joe’s vs. the X-Men.

  20. Ask other customers if they have any Grey Poupon.

  21. While handling guns in the hunting department, suddenly ask the clerk if he knows where the anti-depressants are.

  22. Switch the men’s and women’s signs on the doors of the restrooms.

  23. Dart around suspiciously while humming the theme from "Mission Impossible."

  24. Set up a "Valet Parking" sign in front of the store

  25. In the auto department, practice your "Madonna" look with various funnels.

  26. Hide in the clothing racks and when people browse through, say things like "pick me !! pick me!!" and scare them into believing that the clothes are talking to them.

  27. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream, "No, no! It’s those voices again!"

  28. Go to an empty checkout stand and try to check people out. If you see people waiting in line at other checkout stands, be sure to yell, "I can help you over here!"

  29. Drag a lounge chair on display over to the magazines and relax. If the store has a food court, buy a soft drink; explain that you don’t get out much, and ask if they can put a little umbrella in it.

  30. Go into the dressing room and yell real loud…Hey, we’re out of toilet paper in here!

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