Crime Most Slumberous

Hell hath no fury like a politician spurned. Barbara Aubel, a Lake Worth volunteer who lost a race for the District 4 City Commission slot in March, strode into the office of the city's chief lifeguard a few weeks ago and, she says, found the dude asleep. Out cold, she says. Dead to the world. She uttered Chris Porter's name twice, then poked him on the shoulder before he woke up. Aubel promptly called Lake Worth City Manager Paul Boyer to report this instance of "employee negligence."

When Tailpipe first heard about the incident, he assumed it was a case of a lifeguard deep into a siesta on his beach observation stand while distressed swimmers slipped under Lake Worth waves. But a short snooze in the office? The 'Pipe, who has been known to nod off occasionally when he's not spewing smoke, recommends at least one quick snooze a day (preferably not in midconversation). It's only healthy.

Besides, Porter, 45, a lifeguard supervisor for Lake Worth Ocean Rescue for the past 14 years, had an excuse. According to fellow lifeguards, Porter, who is diabetic, was feeling ill that day. "Chris had his hands on his head and was rubbing his head," says Ben Smith, Porter's second-in-command. "That was the whole issue."

Shauna Abrams, another lifeguard, says she had entered the office with Aubel and Smith to find Porter in distress.

"He had his head in his hands," she says. "You could tell something was wrong with him."

Still, Aubel filed a formal complaint. She insists that Porter was asleep, not merely groggy and ill.

A city official, responding to Aubel's complaint, immediately sent the lifeguard home while a full-scale investigation was launched.

"Sleeping on the job is a 'group 2 offense,'" says Paul Boyer, Lake Worth city manager. The penalty for such an offense can be anything from a two-day suspension to removal from employment, depending upon a person's work history.

Porter, who missed three days of work because of Aubel's vigilance, is still a little sore about the ordeal.

"A few questions would have been nice," he says. "Like 'Are you OK?' or 'Can I call a doctor?' But she didn't give a crap about how I was, just whether I was dead or sleeping."

Smith says the charge against Porter, which is still under investigation, is "off the wall." "It's like anyone coming into your office and if you're itching your crotch, they say you're masturbating."

The 'Pipe assumes that Aubel is being so Inspector Javert here because she's preparing for another run for public office. Not that Lake Worth is known for its insistence on the uncompromising rectitude of city employees. In February, George Allan Sirmans, the city's 54-year-old labor attorney, aimed a pistol at another driver on I-95 from behind the wheel of his BMW. He was never disciplined by his municipal bosses, despite being arrested for aggravated assault and facing a possible jail sentence (ultimately getting probation and mandatory counseling).

Tailpipe can't wait to see if Lake Worth penalizes napping on the job more heavily than menacing someone with a gun in one's spare time. Representing the city in this personnel fiasco? George Allan Sirmans.


By Saturday, Broward County will be afloat in gay softball players, as, for the first time, the Gay World Series comes to Fort Lauderdale. Between August 14 and 19, about 160 teams from all over the United States and Canada will compete here.

A pretentious title, sure (some say that gay baseball players long ago cracked the real World Series), but the event promises to percolate with the usual agonies and ecstasies of high-level sports competition.

As an homage to the Gay World Series' 30-year history, this year's chairman, Paul Falcone, has chosen "A Time to Remember" as its theme. But sitting among the banners, T-shirt boxes, and advertising materials that have taken over his Fort Lauderdale home, Falcone reluctantly confessed the other day that he'd like to forget some of the tournament's recent past.

His own team was disqualified last year in San Diego not for 'roids or corked bats but natural hidden talent. The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) doesn't drug test athletes, but it does take its ability ranking system dead seriously.

To ensure that teams are closely matched, the international softball league requires its teams to rate players between 1 and 27, based on a series of yes-or-no questions, where a "yes" means you're good and "no" means you suck. For example: "Player runs aggressively, taking extra bases consistently?" Yes? Give him a point.

The league is split into two divisions — "open" (men, women, or both) and "women." The open category is broken up into the creatively dubbed A, B, C, and D divisions, which all have their own ability caps for both individuals and team totals.