Bio, DBB

I’m the dharma beach bum and the ocean has always had my back.

I give you my word. There was no photoshopping done here. Is that an angel above me?

I give you my word. There was no photoshopping done here. All I did was cropped the photo so there wasn’t so much wasted space to either side of me. Is that an angel above me?

Not long ago, I marked my 4,200th day on the beach, making more than one trip there on over 1,400 of those days. I average pacing through sand and surf for 1 1/2 hours every time I venture to the big pond.

Now in my early 50s — with arthritis slowly creeping into my left hip and knee — it’s getting harder and harder to make those trips. Hence, the walking stick. I have no plans on stopping. Good lord willin’ and the ocean don’t rise, I hope to make it to 5,000 days of fossil hunting before I even think of slowing down.

After a shortened career in newspapers as both a reporter and editor-in-chief of small newspapers, I moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, from central Pennsylvania in early August 1999. Much thanks to my mother and late father for first introducing me to the Grand Strand — Surfside Beach, actually — in 1969. Our family vacationed there or in Garden City for one week nearly every year before I deserted from the north.

So, I’m a damn Yankee — one who moves south and has no plans of ever moving back to the motherland. Since my friends down here have already told me that I’ll never be a southerner, I like to tell them that I’m a recovering northerner.

I’m obsessed with hunting fossilized sharks’ teeth and I love nature. Especially the beach.

The shore here along the Grand Strand is an awesome place to enjoy both. I’ve hunted sharks’ teeth and fossils from Pawley’s Island to North Myrtle Beach, averaging walking five miles every time that I pursue my passion. I’m little more than a rucksack-wearing zen lunatic wandering the beaches and sharing smiles and waves with anyone who wants to greet me.

Dharma Beach Bum is a forum through which I sometimes offer social and political commentary. My opinions have been characterized as “negative.” So be it. I look at my commentary as constructive criticism. I do my protesting with words, understanding very well that the pen is mightier than the sword. If I were a few years older, I would have been sitting down with fellow hippies in the 60s.

Before going further, I need everyone to know that I’m a believer in a higher power. While I don’t have any time for religious persecution, there are going to be blogs in which I write about hypocrisy within organized religion. The beach is my church: a sun-drenched sanctuary where nature gives the sermon. Whipping winds spread The Word and The Word is accompanied by a sea symphony. There’s no greater percussion section than the thunderous echo of the surf. The ebb and flow of waves over beds of crushed shells produces an ethereal, cymbal-like sound.

You’ll find me with my feet planted at the foot of those beds or pacing back-and-forth through them like one of those tin ducks in a county fair shooting gallery. Ping! Time to turn around. Fossils tend to be scattered among amassed shells and waves act as a natural sieve when washing over them. Sharks’ teeth move differently in the surf than do pieces of shell and gravel.

My fossil collection includes 36,000 sharks’ teeth — having given away another 26,000 to family, friends and fellow enthusiasts. I also have another 500 fossils, including fish skulls, stingray mouth plates and barbs, deer antlers, sea biscuits, horse teeth, whale and shark vertabrae, pieces of whale ribs and turtle shells, alligator teeth, a sand dollar removed from the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway, and chunks of mastodon and mammoth molars.

Mother Ocean has been kind to me. So, when I’m not finding fossils, I’m picking up trash. I owe her that much. Y’all, I get bummed out at the thought of our refuse being thrown and blown into the eternal rinse cycle. That’s why I write about it so much. Bear with me, please, if you find my repetitiveness annoying.

That’s the essence of my blog: to spread some dharma about my obsession, nature, the city and area I love, and people I’ve encountered on what has been a long, strange, beachcombing trip.

Peace.

Responses

  1. I’d be embarrased with that photo…You’re no prophet or god…..actually you look stupid…you need a woman in your life to straighten your tired butt out…sick sick sick

    • I’d be embarrassed if I couldn’t spell embarrass. You are correct. I am no prophet or god. Nor am I self-righteous like you. Like I said. If you have a disagreement with facts in one of my stories. Tell me. If you find typos or grammatical errors. Tell me. If you disagree with my opinions. Let me know. Otherwise, don’t bother writing back. I welcome justified criticism. My life is partially about learning. My pose is nothing more than my way of paying homage to nature. What’s wrong with that?

    • Dumb dumb-you are dumb dumb!

  2. To dumb dumb go get a life! Who says that he doesn’t have a woman? Who are you anyway?

  3. My family has went to Myrtle Beach every single year for as long as I can remember. My dad introduced me to fossil shark teeth hunting. I have sort of gotten obsessed with the hobby (terrible, because I live in the mountain of North Carolina).

    I was hoping that you could give me a little advice on how to find the larger teeth (Great White and Megalodon). I’vre read that one must find a shell bed with large shells to even have a chance of finding a Megalodon fragment. Is this correct? Where are these large shell beds? I only get to search south Myrtle; I know that some have stated to go north.

    I probably have around 1,000 teeth from about 10 years of collecting (averages out to about 10 weeks).

    • Shane, I just walked five miles up and down the beach through somewhat large shells and didn’t find anything big. It is true that you have a better chance of finding great whites and meg fragments when there are big shells exposed. Then again, I’ve found great whites on wide open beach with no shells. So, you never know. I used to live at on the south end of town and I’d always look between Springmaid Pier and 20th Ave. There is a wash just north of Springmaid, and that is where I focused most of my hunting. The area directly in front of the main downtown stretch — between 4th Ave. North and 20th Ave. North — is also usually good because the beach is more sloped. I find more big teeth when the beach has a higher degree of slope. Good luck and I hope you continue to follow my blog. Just don’t take anything too seriously. Keep in touch.

  4. Awesome. Keep it up. I’m obsessed with sharks, by the way.

    • Thank you very much, Miss Jackie. I see sharks in the surf all the time; sometimes quite near me. They get such a bad rap. I absolutely love them, too.

  5. I love the way that you write! I would like to thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog to peruse my posts, and also for signing up to follow me! I sincerely hope that you will enjoy all of my posts! – B

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Miss B, and I’ll most definitely be stopping by babso2you. Peace!

  6. I enjoyed browsing through your posts. Your photos are lovely, filled with textures and tones that contrast nicely.

    Thank you for your visit.

    Have a wonderful 2014 filled with peace and joy!

    • Thanks much, fotografaire. Wishing you the best of years in 2014!


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