Wandering alone on a desert of crushed stone and searching for fossilized teeth that millions of years ago were sinking into flesh of fish that belonged to a species that very well may no longer exist. Strange to think about, but El Bummerino is wondering what was swimming out there an eon ago. Either some magenta, three-eyed creature without fins or a brown, carp-like bottom dweller with lips like Lisa Rinna (absolutely gorgeous woman). Either or, neither nor. Ra in cloudless sky was blinding that day as paddle boarders glided across dazzling waters. All that glitters is gold, so gold must float ’cause the water sure was glittering. Those fellas with paddle boards looked like they were enjoying themselves out there on the calm waters. Cool to think about what’s beneath them and knowing that they’re completely safe. Loving and lovely couples strolling along the shore. Gleeful youngsters splashing in the waves. Grand Strand Octobers are usually so beautiful and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Not Hawaii. Not the Bahamas. This is where my heart is. Awesome singer and national treasure Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. Mine will disintegrate along the grandest of strands.
I know a nice guy downtown who displays a big Confederate flag in his window because he’s proud of his southern heritage — to honor his ancestors who fought a war they didn’t necessarily want to fight. The nice guy has rights, too. When I look at the Confederate flag I see it as one of several emblems that brave men carried across 1861 to 1865 battlefields and in no way do I think that my fellow rebels carried battle banners as symbols of their hatred of any particular race. Problem is: there are many pablum puking people who do fly it out of hatred now, and they should be ashamed if they don’t understand the flag’s true meaning. The NAACP leadership shares a little of that shame for the same reason; the civil rights group got its wish when it asked that the Confederate flag be removed from atop the South Carolina state capitol building, yet still keeps pushing the issue. Yes, I know that what’s left of the KKK loves the Stars and Bars. I ignore that fact when writing this for a reason: those who hide beneath white hoods while preaching hate are ignorant and should be ignored. Nazi skinheads are mindless boys who need to surround themselves with other mindless boys (cliques) and carry guns. The sun’s not yellow its chicken. When we pay attention to any hate group we are playing into its hands. Racism is a pod loaded with seeds of destruction. Our society also needs to get over its political correctness and realize that racism isn’t a one-way street; it’s an intersection. There’s nothing to hate except hatred, folks. Several years back while visiting Surfside Beach I passed a tall, black guy on the beach nearly every morning and he impressed me as being cool and nice because he gave an exaggerated wave and a loud, “Good morning,” to everyone near him. I don’t like defining people by skin color and normally I refuse to do so ’cause I judge people by their actions, reactions and deeds. Good deeds or bad, but the bad are sad. Character means way more to me than anything, including race, religion and sexual preference. I identified this gentleman by skin color for a reason. Hope its a good reason in the eyes of my readers. In a sense I think he was greeting everyone for himself — to let everyone know that he might be in a minority in a predominantly white, beachfront community but he was as good as anyone and he wasn’t going to sit in the back of any bus no matter how many rebel flags he saw. Rosa Parks must have inspired him and she would have loved him in return. Surfside guy. A fine man. His pulpit, the sand. That’s why I admire Martin Luther King Jr. so much. He stood up for his people, my brethren too, and he got shot for it and I’d be willing to bet that he WOULD do it all again given the same circumstances and regardless of the consequences. “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land,” he said. It’s a crying shame that we as a society are far from the Promised Land that King promised OUR brothers and sisters. What a great man. His conviction, a valiant plan. Imperfect, yes. But aren’t we all? To this day I admire the Surfside gentleman greatly and someday, if he is still in the area, I hope to see him again so I can introduce myself to him and tell him that his smile and wave and acknowledgement of me made me feel better. Better about myself and better about the world.
Saw a metal-detector-wielding guy old enough to know better discard a pair of pliers on the beach. Watched him dig them up with a scoop and leave them right where he found him. Angered me, but the beach is no place for confrontation. I kept the rusted, unusable pliers as a memento. Part of my collection now. One man’s trash…Two days later I encountered a young man half the litterbug’s age. A fellow local. With a plastic bag in hand, he was cleaning up around the 64th Avenue North access. Talked with him and he said to me, “It’s such a shame. I feel like I can’t bring my family and friends here — they’re respectable people, you know — because so many people just throw their trash around.” Thanked him for his service to the community. Good kid who gifted me with something I desperately needed at that moment. Hope. Hope for the future. It’s saddens me that my generation is carelessly leaving behind a legacy that future generations don’t deserve. May sound corny, but we really do need to realize we don’t own this pale blue dot (phrase borrowed from title of one of Carl Sagan’s great books). We are borrowing Mother Earth. Wonderful verse in The Bible very much applies (Ps. 103:15): “As for man, his days are as grass. As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone.” When our blooms wither and our physical bodies are gone and the wind passes over, what will we leave behind? May sound egotistical but I hope my energy reigns over the beach when I’m pushin’ up daisies. I know I’m not leaving any garbage in my footprints. I refuse to. Doesn’t make me better than anyone else. Just different than most. Well, that’s not news to anyone, is it?