I was a timer at a swim meet on Saturday, and let me tell you, that is some fun. You get to stride around with a stopwatch around your neck and a clipboard and pencil, looking busy and officious, delivering your cards every few events to the Clerk of Course (not to be confused with the clerk, of course). I’m not sure why I can’t just get a job doing that. I’m going on Monster, right now.
Anyway, the swimmers hand their cards to the head timer, who then hands them to the lane timers (including me. But watch out, head timer. I have few if any scruples. I’d watch my back, were I you). The cards contain the kid’s name, the name of the event, the kid’s seed time for the event, and the kid’s birthday; this is to verify that the kid belongs in the age group in which said kid is swimming. So I’m watching a 100-meter Individual Medley, and I overhear three girls comparing their cards as they wait for their event to be announced (Girls’ 13 and 14 IM, first heat. Seriously, look how much technical terminology I’ve mastered already, and I can’t get paid for this?)
“Why is my birthday on here?”
“Right there! Year and everything!”
“Oh, right, there’s mine too.”
“Whoa. That’s like, WAY too much information about me.”
What? Since when are 14 year old girls so concerned with information security? The conversation continued, and I couldn’t hear much more detail, as my swimmer was in his 4th lap. (During the 4th lap of a 100-meter event, timers need to focus. As the swimmer approaches the blue zone, you’re crouched over the edge, so you’re able to clearly see the swimmer’s hand touch the wall and to simultaneously stop your stopwatch. Accuracy is everything. The pressure is intense, yet no check payable to me will be forthcoming. I digress.) Anyway, although I couldn’t distinguish the words, I could clearly hear the tone of indignant protest at the idea of such deeply personal information handed out to any meet official (I’m an OFFICIAL, for crying out loud; yet I’m still expected to maintain full-time employment. How much can reasonably be expected of one woman?) who asks for it, with no regard for the consequences to the unfortunate person whose privacy has been so utterly compromised. These are the same children who chronicle every detail of their lives on Facebook, yet they have been so indoctrinated into the security culture that they’re afraid that the release of their date of birth will leave them exposed to everything from stalking to credit fraud. I felt a little sorry for them. At the same age, my friends and I would have been eagerly comparing cards.
“Hey! You’re a Virgo too!”
“Oh my gosh, my mom’s birthday is on December 11 and yours is on December 12? How weird is that?”
“Wow, did you see that lady in the yellow tshirt with the stopwatch? She has an aura of assured, competent composure, doesn’t she? She’s easily the most talented timer I’ve seen out here. I can’t believe she doesn’t get paid! What an awesome role model!”
“I know, I totally want to be like her when I grow up. By the way, did you hear about the head timer? Seems there were some pictures of him with the lady who runs the PTA. They’re going to announce the new head timer at practice tomorrow.”
“Oh my gosh! Gross! Well, the lady with the yellow tshirt should TOTALLY be the new head timer. She’s awesome.”
What? I’m trying to inspire youth here! Sheesh!