Lifeguards are hunky superheroes, there to keep you safe and rescue helpless children. You’ll be hard pressed to find a lifeguard in popular media without a bulging six pack and dashing shades, sprinting across the beach in glorious slow-motion.
Of course, you might be more inclined to remember lifeguards as you saw them back at the local swimming pool. I swam competitively, and lifeguards seemed as pointless as they were lazy. Sitting there doing nothing but swinging their whistles around and refusing to let you poolside before your exact, allotted time. Lifeguards seemed permanently irritated by the world around them – muttering grumps who should be glad to get paid to sit there and do nothing.
The reality is somewhere between these two extremes.