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No complaining on Beach Day

June 27, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

The rule of the March Madness college basketball tournament, which starts with 65 teams and ends with one champion, is "survive and advance."

Survive and advance. This is pretty much the way I feel about the beach.

Since the Pelican in High Heels virtually grew up on the beach, she has a very different view. To her, the beach is a hot, sandy, sultry, fragrant, lively, melting pot of humanity.

To me, however, the beach is a hot, sandy, sultry, fragrant, lively, melting pot of humanity.

By marital agreement, I am required to spend one day out of the summer at the beach with her, an event I tolerate with all the good grace of a heathen at an Easter service.

I am not, however, permitted to complain out loud on Beach Day.

So I have a lot of thoughts that I have to keep to myself. Like, "Why in the world is an arid strip of sand blowing into your face on a sticky day considered to be relaxing?"

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And, "Who thought it was a good idea to manufacture extra-large Speedos?" Supersizing is for french fries, not male-bikini swimwear. No, sir.

Dude can't fit into a 30-inch-waist Speedo, he got no business being in the same county with one.

I don't even mind spending most of the morning driving around looking for a place to park. At least that keeps a man where nature intended for him to be: on pavement.

Once you're parked, the real fun begins, because you have to lug more equipment to the beach than it would require on an expedition to the top of Everest.

You got your beach chairs, your towels, your blankets, your cold drink which will start to boil in about three seconds, your lunch, your Frisbee, your boogie board, your book, your sunscreen, your lotion, your cooler, your oversized sunglasses.

You go fight traffic for hours just for the privilege of sitting in the middle of sun, heat and sand. And what do you take with you? A whole slew of accessories designed to protect you from the sun, heat and sand.

Very smart. Why don't they just drag a parka and a pellet stove into a walk-in freezer? It would be the same idea, in reverse.

Some people take umbrellas. Here's a lesson for life. If you don't like sun, the beach is probably the wrong place for you. There are a lot of shady places on earth. If you want to get out of the sun, feel free to sit in a tiki bar.

I, on the other hand, like the sun. I like the coastline if there are rocks or palm trees to break up the monotony. I can take or leave the smell of taffy. I am less forgiving of the crowds. But what I really hate is the sand.

Sand is not my friend. Burying your feet in the sand has no romance for me. It sticks to suntan lotion, gets everywhere, itches, stings and grates and messes up the car.

I do not see the pleasure in immersing myself in 400 million tons of grit.

I blame my childhood.

Or my late childhood, anyway, when I used to work in a sand mine. Three summers of that will cure anyone of a love of sand. It was about 120 degrees in the roaring steam-dryer room, giving you a nice sheen and the perfect environment for sand to stick under your collar, down your pants and up your nose.

You couldn't walk without feeling layers of skin being rasped from your thighs. You coughed up balls of sand at night.

I went to college solely for the purpose of not having to spend my life around noise and hot sand. Then you succeed well enough and get some money saved and what does your wife want to spend it on. A vacation! In noise and hot sand!

I explained all this to Andrea, and it seemed to have an effect. At least now she could assign a reason to what had previously seemed to be an illogical sandphobia.

It's nice to have a wife who understands. It didn't get me out of going to the beach, but at least she understands.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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