Attention Florida Tourists: If you see a sign similar to the one pictured here, it can be loosely interpreted into Northern as: “[Hey dummy! - yes you!] Do Not Enter [the water because a] Rip Current [is present and will kill you if you ignore this obvious sign].”
If I seem a bit abrupt it is simply because I almost died last Saturday trying to save a panicky tourist stuck in a rip current (which would have been a self-fulfilling prophecy considering my recent blog about 25,000 Mornings).
I took this picture shortly after the incident. Here’s how it unfolded:
I was spending a nice, leisurely afternoon with the fam at one of our regular beach spots along the Florida panhandle (Ft. Walton Beach to be exact). It was a beautiful, sunny, low-80′s kind of day and I was just mindin’ my own b’iness (that’s “business” for those of you who are not as gansta as me) and contemplating the Imago Dei message I was planning to preach on Sunday.
Despite the beautiful weather, we were under red flag conditions and a lifeguard had already driven by on his 4-wheeler to tell me that the water was particularly dangerous. “Don’t go any further than waist deep,” he said.
“No problem,” I replied.
I actually thought to myself, “I am not going in the water at all so it doesn’t really matter.”
So there I am on the verge of dozing off when I began to hear the panicked cries of someone in distress. “Heeeelp! Help us pleeaasse!”
I turned to see a man standing ankle deep in the water waving for help and looking desperately along the shoreline for someone to respond. About 40 yards out to sea were two of his friends, a man and a woman in their 20′s I suppose, screaming for assistance.
I looked for the lifeguard but his station was empty and his 4-wheeler was nowhere to be seen.