The Beach: After hearing all the bad things that could be, have a good time

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

The water temperature was almost perfect. There were families all around us, enjoying a nice afternoon at the beach.

The Gulf of Mexico this time of the year is warm. There is no shock, or getting used to the cold water. I used to go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine many years ago, and each time, I had to force myself into the water - it was so cold.

O.K. Call me a wimp, but I don’t like to be cold while I am swimming. I don’t see how all those people jumping into the ice cold water in the middle of winter do it. I’d be over there with a heater blowing at me while I watch the crazy bathers as they, one by one, turn into a Popsicle.

I used to swim in the lakes of New Hampshire, and it’s the same way - got to get used to the chilly water. Not me, anymore. If it’s not warm, I’ll just enjoy a refreshing beverage and watch. I have earned the right not to be uncomfortable.

So, I was enjoying watching the beach scene. It was all happy, except for the young woman to our left, who was spacing out. She either had too much sun or was on something.

To me she appeared to be wasted, but I don’t want to be judgmental. She could have had some medical condition. But, I think she was wasted.

There were plenty of family members taking care of her. Someone gave her a slice of white bread and water. That ought to make her feel a lot better.

I went into waist-deep water and just let the waves push me around for a while. I have been in swimming pools with a wave machine, but Mother Nature can make better waves than humans with a pump set-up.

Nobody around me seemed too concerned about a shark attack at this same location a few weeks ago in waist-deep water. I was watching the water around me. No shark.

What are the chances of that happening again? The area we are in has had two shark attacks in four years. Those are pretty good odds.

If some prankster would take one of those fake shark fins and wiggle them around by remote control, he could clear the beach in minutes. I said he, because guys are more prone to do stuff like that.

Kids love the beach. They play in the sand while their parents drink beer. They build sand castles on which daddy can stumble after a few, and hurt his foot.

I used to go to the beach to throw footballs and Frisbees. I still do some of that, but mostly I just like to relax in the water or sit on shore and watch the waves. I like telling stupid jokes also, like: What do you call a broken boomerang? A stick.

I was just relaxing in the water when it occurred to me that a few days ago I saw a report on TV about flesh-eating bacteria in the Gulf. Those news people must spend all day thinking of ways to scare the daylights out of the rest of us.

“We certainly do not mean to discourage people from enjoying water activities, but we want them to understand the potential risks involved,” a flesh-eating bacteria expert told the reporter.

You know that deep inside, expert person, you love to discourage me.

And, the man-on-the-beach interview is a must, no matter what they say.

“I’m a little bit nervous about it, to be honest. You know you just don’t want to get sick. I’m on vacation. It would be horrible if I had to go back home with something,” some person told some reporter.

I would feel the same way. It would be horrible to go home from vacation with some flesh-eating bacteria. Look honey, I brought something home from the beach. Look, it’s hungry.

Maybe I should have gone swimming in a pool. No, wait. I read a story recently about what people do in a pool, and not only children.

If you do the same thing in the Gulf, so what? Fish do it also. And it’s a big place. But in a pool, it is gross.

Never go in a pool with a swim-up bar, or in which children have played for hours without a break.

Let’s just say, they took a break already, and you really don’t want to be near it.