Postseason Sarcasm -- All in Good Fun
It’s good to have the Island back, isn’t it? I probably don’t have enough time in as a year-round resident to make that statement, even if we did come to LBI for more than 20 years before we retired here. (I will never forget that conversation. Lovely wife: “I’d really like to live on LBI.” Me: “See if you can find something we can afford and we will.” Heh-heh, I thought. Darn if she didn’t find us a little Cape we could get a mortgage on that we’ll pay for the rest of our lives.) I can imagine that lifetime Islanders have a bit more credibility.
There is something about living here, though, something that cultivates a sort of irreverence, a tone of sarcasm in our responses. I mean, we are one big Kahuna wave from oblivion, right? I used to teach about sea level and never gave it much thought. Stand at the 100th Street beach and look west and you’ll almost be able to touch the bay. Our house is 4 feet above sea level! It gives you a little edge when you call the Island your home, doesn’t it?
And it’s good to have once-a-week trash pickups, blinking lights and 45 mph speed limits (oh, boy!). And it’s good to have The SandPaper back to ourselves, with good stories again about nice people and dogs on the beach. I know Lucy the Lab and Jake the golden retriever are looking forward to those early-morning walks looking for sea glass. Oh, there will always be a political story, especially in an election year. Hey, I’m not apathetic: I really worked hard for Eugene McCarthy. Somehow, though, the size of the waves, the location of the fish and dogs on the beach hold a slight edge on the worldly events.
We can get back to complaining about the summer guests during this “shoulder” season. I never knew the seasons at the beach were named after body parts. I guess there is the “heart” of summer to go along with the “shoulder” season we are in now – why shoulder and not elbow? I suppose January and February are known as the a…. But let’s get back on topic.
Summer letters to the editor are always a treat to read, especially when the “guests” get upset at our Island sense of humor and how we deal with them. There was an especially amusing letter this summer from someone who was responding to a letter that had been written about driving in the left lane – one of the few “laws” we have here on the Island. You can get all the Island laws from the large electric sign stationed outside Long Beach Township offices at 68th Street in Brant Beach. Last summer we had the speed-limit-is-now-35-mph-change law, the cross-at-the-crosswalk law, the bike-riders-must-obey-the-same-laws-as-drivers law, and the left-lane-is-for-passing-only law. Not too many laws, plus no one seems to obey them. I’m thinking that if I want someone to ignore something important, I’m going to try to get it on that sign. That, for those of you following along, is Island sarcasm.
Our summer guests feel often that they are “on vacation” and these laws shouldn’t apply to them, and ruin their vacation. So, one of our “locals” complained in a letter about driving in the left lane, using it as a cruising lane. The writer did a great job, I thought, especially in concluding that he was staying indoors until all of the visitors left. You got it: more Island humor.
A response was printed the next week from a “Bennie forever” that began with one sentence about the driving-in-the-left-lane law and then proceeded to discuss how instead of obeying the law, the law writer should pay more attention to “kids laughing and playing in the sand.” Hey, I like kids as much as the next guy – got two myself. But I sorta miss the logic of the argument, ya know what I mean? What does disobeying a law have to do with kids playing and laughing in the sand? Sometimes I think maybe the sun gets too hot for some of our guests while they are sitting in those huge circles on the beach (Island humor).
The argument made me think about a philosophy class I had a long time ago. Philosophy is the study of reason and logic, not a study of the Phillies, a team whose erratic play defies reason and logic. The professor I had looked like Rasputin and skidded nervously across the room from side to side from 7 to 9:30 every Tuesday night. It was an experience. One night he was discussing logic tables and how logic could be used to arrive at “untruths.” You have to love those philosophy guys and untruths. He said that often lawyers have a way to use this strategy in the courtroom – hey, I’m just telling you what he said. He gave us this example:
God is love.
Love is blind.
Ray Charles is blind.
Ergo (love that word), Ray Charles is God.
You know, that might even make more sense than the argument that laws shouldn’t be obeyed because we need to spend more time listening to the kids laughing in the sand at the beach.
Hopefully, we’ll see you as the dogs and I walk along the beach. But we will never go until Oct. 1, because that’s the law.
Anthony DiSipio lives in Beach Haven Park.