Beach bums love fishing piers. They provide respite from the weather and they’re just flat-out cool places on which to hang.
I was most impressed with one that I recently visited, but first I’d like to tell you about my history with piers.
I fell in love with the Surfside Fishing Pier in the early seventies, and it will always be my favorite. My parents, brother, sister and paternal grandparents were with me; that alone makes the pier very special. My fondness for it will never dissipate.
Upon moving to Myrtle Beach in 1999, I took a strong liking to Springmaid Pier. I was always hunting sharks teeth in that area and Springmaid was a great place to rest, relax and urinate. It was on Springmaid that I met some good country boys from Conway, Rick and Sam. Along with another friend of mine from Myrtle Beach, Jimmy, we’d sit there on Sundays and take pulls from whiskey bottles as they fished. Those fellas taught me about a lot more than fishing. Most importantly, they taught me that country boys are the same whether they’re from the north or from the south.
The 2nd and 14th Avenue piers are awesome as well. I’ve been to them many times.
This past Sunday, I stopped at the Apache Pier twice while on a 25-mile trek to the Walmart supercenter in North Myrtle Beach and back.
Yes, that’s a long way to walk, but I’ve got bipolar disorder, which often leads to delusional thinking. During manic episodes, sufferers experience high-energy levels, and they believe they can do anything. I made the mistake of thinking that I was Superman while hastily planning my trip.
The Apache Pier bait and tackle shop and the gift area were so clean and nicely stocked. The arcade was colorful and noisy and really added life to the place. The staff was incredibly courteous. I could’ve stayed there all day, but I needed a haircut, sneakers and blank dvds. So it was off to Wally World.
I made most of the trip via the beach, hoofing it barefooted through shell beds and hot sand. By the time that I was nearly home, my feet were heavily blistered. Along the way, I lost my camo hat with four sharks teeth attached to it. That made me a tad grumpy. I took solace in knowing — hoping, actually — that a tourist found the hat. Maybe it made their vacation better.
Hunger got the best of me and I made a detour to the Food Lion store on 79th Avenue. As I approached the market, I noticed two drivers parked in the fire lane. An older woman sat in her BMW facing away from the entrance. Another driver, a middle-aged man, sat in his SUV facing the entrance. He was waiting to pick up his wife, who apparently couldn’t navigate 25-feet with two shopping bags.
The angry Tarheel cussed out the woman in the BMW, using the f-word repeatedly and calling her a bitch. She looked shaken, and I figured she was a local. Well, the Clint Eastwood came out in me. “You’re alright maam. I’ll handle this,” I said to the poor woman.
Then I turned my attention to the SUV-driving jerk. “Watch your language and show some respect for the lady,” I yelled.
“That bitch was in the fire lane,” the Tarheel yelled back.
“So were you,” I answered.
His wife had ahold of his arm by then. He acted like he wanted to get at me, but he couldn’t wrestle away from his 130-pound spouse. He wasn’t trying real hard for some reason. When I walked into the Food Lion, he was sitting outside staring through the tinted window. I gave him a sarcastic wave.
What’s happened to decency in our society? That dude needed a good scalping.
Oh, yeah, the trip. I left my 65th Avenue, Myrtle Beach, apartment at six in the morning and didn’t get back, sore as hell, until 12 hours later.
Hey, I got to see the Apache. I communed with nature. How lucky can one man be?