Growing up, I always wanted to buy one of those faux magazine covers. I thought it would be cool to see my picture superimposed on the front of Sports Illustrated or Guns & Ammo.
Well, I finally got my day in the sun. Time Magazine. Who would have thunk it? If there were ever an article about me in Time — and what a delusional concept that is — I would want it to read something like this:
It’s all about the hunt. The anticipation of finding the next fossil.
The obsession starts about five in the morning when the beach bum gets out of bed. But it really intensifies when he’s on the beach in the dimness before sunrise. His adrenaline flows, tempered only by his interaction with nature. The surf wraps around his aching feet, soothing them. Terns chirp.
Everything atop a nearby shell bed is blurry. He looks first for dark, medium-sized, triangular objects at the foot of the bed. His eyes focus in minutes and he is able to identify objects a quarter-inch long. He finds a shark’s tooth. It’s small. So small that the casual beachcomber wouldn’t have found it in the light of day. Sharks teeth are all gems to the bum and he is happy. Still, he focuses on finding the next tooth.
It’s about the hunt. What he might find intrigues him more than what he has found. There are remnants along the shore of creatures that no longer exist. The excitement of that kind of discovery runs through the beach bum’s body like electricity.
Even if he were to find a megalodon tooth, he would quickly turn his attention to finding another one.
He would take longer and more frequent looks at the meg. He would feel the contour of it as it sat in his pocket. But most of his concentration would be centered on hunting the next tooth. It fascinates him that these teeth were once in the mouths of sharks that were around before mankind.
A pelican glides over the ocean and through the curl of a wave. Its wings adjust to the energy of the breaker.
The bum finds another tooth. It’s small, but it’s a gem.