On Overpaid Lifeguards

When I heard the news that some lifeguards at Newport Beach in California make in excess of 200,000 dollars, I tried, like any decent citizen, to conjure up the requisite disgust with which we all dutifully greet such discoveries. The outrage, however, did not come. In an effort to coax it out of hiding, I revisited the story about the egregiously overpaid city councilors from the city of Bell, which had exercised me somewhat when I first learned of it. But even that story, a model of its kind, failed to engender the proper response. My outrage, I suppose, has been, over the years, tapped out by similar stories of overpaid public functionaries, so much so that whenever I hear of lifeguards who receive a four hundred dollar stipend for suntan lotion, I smile in bemusement, and say, “Good for them.”

There is a point, after all, that one just gets tired of bitching, regardless of how meritorious one’s complaints are. Or perhaps I have just reconciled myself to the fact that peculation and graft are an intrinsic part of our politics, which no amount of “reform” could ever hope to remove. In any case, I’m not at all certain that some very good lifeguards do not deserve considerable paychecks. If I, God forbid, found myself caught in a vicious undertow on Newport Beach, I would want my rescuer to be well compensated for dragging me out of it.