Posts Tagged ‘Badge checking at the Ocean Grove boardwalk’

Krista the badge checker at work on the OB boards. Blogfinger photo ©

Krista the badge checker at work on the OG boards. Blogfinger photo ©  Re-post from 2015.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Every few years I decide to write something about beach badges. Here is a link to our last outing on that subject where we have a picture of a seagull with a beach badge and a discussion about senior citizen badges.    link to beach badge article

Today we decided to interview an Ocean Grove badge checker. She was working the beach entrance near the office. Her chair and umbrella were positioned so that no one could sneak by. Whenever a customer appeared, she stood up, unless she was perched on the top railing.

A woman tried to walk past, but the checker stopped her. “Oh,” said the woman, “I paid but I forgot to get the wrist band.” She did an about face and walked off.     I snapped a few candid shots of the checker, and then there was an opportunity to speak to her. This is how it went:

BF : Hi, I’m Paul from Blogfinger. Here’s my card. I’d like to interview you, but you should keep working, and I will talk to you in between. What’s your name?

K: Krista

BF:   What’s your last name?

K: Do I have to say?


BF:   No–not necessary. Is this your first year here as a badge checker?

K:  No, I’ve been doing this for five summers and I’m not a badge checker; I’m a step guard.


BF:  Where are you from and what do you do in the off season?

K:  I’m a college student—a sophomore at Ocean County College, majoring in liberal arts.   I live in Seaside.


BF:   I used to hang out in Seaside with my high school friends. We used to peek into the Chatterbox and wish we could get in.

K:  Oh, that place is gone.

BF:   Ocean Grove is a lot different than Seaside, isn’t it?

K: ` There is a huge contrast. Ocean Grove is a Methodist town.


BF: Do the young guys in Seaside Heights still wear those sleeveless T shirts?

K: You mean “the wife beaters?”


BF: er…..Do guys hit on you here for dates?

K. Never, but there’s one old guy who brings me little gifts, food and coffee. He doesn’t ask for anything. Besides I have a boyfriend. He’s in Korea.


BF. Be careful what you say about old guys, there are plenty of them in Ocean Grove. How old are you?

K: 19


BF  (two bike riders speed by. It’s 9:50 am) If someone rides a bike here after 10 am, is anyone enforcing the rules?

K:   I do.

BF: Do you jump up and run after them?

K:  No, I just yell at them.   I have to sit in my chair.

BF:  You could carry your chair while you chase them. Is this job boring?

K:  Sometimes. But I meet a lot of characters, especially towards the North End by Asbury.


BF: What do you do when it’s slow?

K: I read my newspaper and my book of short stories.

BF:  You can’t read a newspaper here; it would blow all over the place.

K:  No…..I read it on my phone.

BF:  Oh……

BF:  Do tourists ever ask you funny questions?

K:  One asked me ,”When are the dolphins coming?”    I thought, “As if I know.  Do they think I have a schedule? ”


BF: What if it rains?

K:  We can go home, but we don’t get paid.


BF: I’ll take your picture and you can have your boyfriend see it in Korea. Just send him a link to Blogfinger.

K:   OK

BF:  Oops, my camera battery’s dead . I can use the candid  photos from before.  (I thought,  “What a lousy reporter I am–no backup battery and I’m thinking dead battery jokes.)    I go to get another battery and then return. Krista poses for a formal portrait:

Krista in her office. Blogfinger photo

Krista in her office by the Non-fishing Pier.  Blogfinger photo ©

K: It’s my break.   Bye. I’m going to visit my sister.

BF:    Bye. Stay out of the sun.

K. OK.

So I headed north and checked the sign for the forbidden bicycle hours. I thought it was 8 am, but it is 10 am to 3 am. Do people really ride bikes on this boardwalk from midnight to 3 am?   And if they did, who in the world would stop them?

It’s funny about language. When wrist bands replaced most beach badges, the name “badge checker”  became obsolete. But why “step guard?”  And how about the word “girl?” If I had referred to Krista as a “checker girl,”  that would be wrong—-right?      Remember the “hat check girl?”    But feminists would bellow.    If she’s a woman, which she certainly is, then at what age did she become one?   She undoubtedly was a girl when she first became a checker in the Grove five years ago.

Anyhow, have no fear, the steps of Ocean Grove are protected by fine woman step guards, and at least one man step guard whom I saw. He’s about 16 years old. Is he a man or a boy? Among Jews, a 13 year old boy becomes a man at his bar mitzvah (He says, “Today I am a man!”), but the bar mitzvah “boy”, taking a look at a delightful 20 year old woman in a miniskirt dancing the hora at his party realizes, in his heart, that he is not really a man; he’s still a boy, but shhhhhh don’t tell anybody.

THE RONETTES   (sending this out to Krista’s boyfriend with the the US Air Force in Korea):



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