Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Column - Beach Bonanza

We just took the kids to the beach for the first time this year. We had a wonderful picnic of French bread, grapes, sand, sunscreen, ants, sausage, cheese, and a delightful drizzle of stray-dog slobber on our sandwiches.

It really is delightful to wade along the shoreline in spring. The quite brisk water temperature induces sudden intakes of breath such that the mosquito problem disappears, and your lower extremities become immediately numb which is great if you’re stepping on sharp rocks or bottle shards.

As a bonus, males emerge from the water with two belly buttons!

We went fishing off the dock too, and by "fishing" I mean "standing on the dock with a plastic bucket trying to figure out how to fish with just a plastic bucket."

Of course, for the Fisheries Officer, we were just playing around with the sand and not really fishing at all, honestly officer.

We did spot a real turtle (Myrtle) under water. Alive too! This was a very exciting discovery in a "no minnows or anything else alive down there this is really boring Dad" sort of way.

We also denuded the rocky beach of all available skipper-type rocks. This led to a delightful children’s rhyme: “Skipping stones may not break Dad’s bones but separate his shoulder.” Something like that.

As I was loosening up my pitching arm, area medical staff rushed up to me, citing reports that a middle aged man was having some sort of fit at the beach. After several impressive throws, the paramedics helpfully turned me around to face the water so that they could attend to the beach goers whom I, in my pain-induced delirium, had just pelted with rocks.

While tossing skippers it occurred to me that the real motherlode of these rocks would be found between 10 and 30 feet out from shore, where all the thrown skippers lay nestled on the sandy bottom. I may invest in a large, waterborne rake device to retrieve these gems for future resale at enormous profit back to beach hurlers. Investors wanting to pitch money my way for this venture can form a line on the left please.

Speaking of investments, I discovered that my fancy new touch screen cell phone would also make a great skipper in that it is flat, about the right shape and heft, and in the water.

Note to self - remove cell phone from shirt pocket before bending over at the waist to closely examine the beach for skippers. Ditto for sunglasses, billfold, keys to vehicle, mortgage documents, martini shaker and other accoutrements that seem to have disappeared.

The kids don't quite have the arms for skipping rocks yet, so we shouted encouragement at large splashes and called them 'one-skippers'. This, according to the parenting books, will preserve their fragile self-esteem and prevent them from becoming neo-Charles Manson’s in their later years.

Thumbing my nose at the SPCA, I mused with the kids that perhaps Myrtle the Turtle might enjoy going for a skip across the lake. She would have too, if she hadn't wisely latched onto my throwing finger with her beak, causing intense pain, gushing blood, and an even more distorted pitching style that has impressed the scouts and could lead to a major league contract with the Cubs.

I'm also learning it's a good thing I don't write newspaper columns by hand. Typing with this bloody great bandage on my finger is awkward and painful.

Does Workers Comp cover this type of thing?

And does anyone know how to determine the sex of turtles? Or if they can get rabies?

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