Mrs. Dude and I started taking the Little Dude to the beach last summer when he was a year and a half old. We wanted it to be a fun experience for our whole family. It costs about a million dollars less than going to Disneyland, which is a good start.
The coast in LA is usually very overcast in the morning before the marine layer burns off. That’s a fancy way of saying it’s usually cold and gray until after noon, which perfectly describes our visit. As a result, the beach was nearly empty when we arrived.
We picked a spot near the lifeguard tower, and then set up our blankets, coolers and toys. The only thing missing was the sun. Fortunately we brought sweatshirts because it was a brisk 62 degrees out. It felt like being sequestered with Ben and Jerry, or rather in one of their freezers.
We met the young
stoner lifeguard who was hanging out in the adjacent tower on one of our 87 trips up and down his ramp, which he didn’t seem to mind. Or he may have just been a little too dazed and confused to notice on this early Saturday morning.
After a while I noticed a group of 8 teenagers come in with a stack of 8 pizza boxes and set up camp about 75 feet away from us. There were a couple dorky guys who were shamelessly trying to impress the girls in the group. I had to watch them to see if the kid who looked like a 95-pound String Bean with bad acne would be swept away by a strong gust of wind.
Also, with such a small group I wondered what the deal was with all the pizzas.
After a while, Mrs. Dude and my Little Dude were off exploring the water when I noticed one of the teen girls wearing jeans, boots and a hoodie, lying on the sand trying to get comfortable. It wasn’t sunny out, so she wasn’t going to get tan even if she hadn’t been dressed for the Alaskan apocalypse. Her friends then covered her up with a blanket. What were these dopes were up to?
Once she was fully covered, they started covering the blanket with slices of pizza. I think they wanted to see if the seagulls hovering nearby were lactose intolerant. Surprisingly, after a few minutes no birds came. Then I noticed the pizzas were from Domino’s, so I guess it shouldn’t have been a big surprise.
So the String Bean Kid decided to kick things up a notch. He started tossing slices. He was throwing toward the water and a slew of birds flocked toward the greasy slice of goopy cardboard he’d pitched. Since his splotchy face closely resembled his flying objects, he had to try harder to impress the girls who were busy reading their US Weeklys. What would he do?
Their group was about 75 feet away from us, parallel to the water. A few birds had landed between our blanket and theirs and were gnawing on some crust when String Bean decided to offer them another slice. So he reeled back and with all his might threw the slice toward them. He must have had a burst of adrenaline as the slice way overshot the birds and landed about 2 feet from me, right on my blanket.
Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled. The teens all saw what happened. I think their first thought was “is this guy going to be cool or what?” The correct answer was “or what”.
I stared at String Bean who was frozen among his friends. I stood from my lounge chair, which is hard to look cool while doing, and sternly told him to come over. He started moving in my direction, but appeared to be taking his time, to show off for his friends. I told him that he better start running. His Marinara-face turned Alfredo-white as he moved double speed to my blanket, not sure what was going to happen when he arrived.
I ordered him to clean up his mess. His voice cracked as he nervously apologized. I think the fact that I was more than double his size and age may have caused him to wet himself. Fortunately he was wearing a bathing suit which provided good water retention.
My gaze turned back to his group. I saw his friends laughing at him as he moped back toward them. His fantasy of impressing the girls likely squelched for that day. I smirked to myself, before a realization hit me. In an instant I had turned into every grumpy old man from every movie ever. All this time I’ve thought I was a fun young Dude. But today I became the Old Man at the Sea.
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