#7 : What Does Squishing Sand Through Your Toes Feel Like?

Sunbathers at Huntington Beach in California with oil platform offshore. Photo by Charles O’Rear, 1975, for the National Archives. Image: Wikipedia.



This is the 7th installment in a series of 51 posts inspired by a list of writing prompts from the website Journal Buddies. If you’d like to know more, here’s where I explain what this is and why I’m doing it.


The sea is good for seagulls. Sand is good for sandpipers. The beach is good for bunnies. But I am not a bunny, and I am not a bird. I am a human with mucous membranes, various cavities, and a pale, head-to-toe surface area that burns when subjected to prolonged daylight. I do not want sand squishing “between” anything, toes or otherwise.

In short, I do not like the beach.

But let’s not use this prompt to go on and on detailing why I have never understood or enjoyed something that a great majority of people love. Why ruin it for the rest of the otherwise perfectly sane, reasonable people who like to grease up their largest organ and sit half-buried the fine silt of ancient rocks, exposing themselves to the to the punishing light and heat coming from a ball of fire in the sky that in actuality is a dying star in the process of burning itself up, if that tells you anything —  no, no. Rather than do that, especially with summer right around the corner let’s eavesdrop on the thoughts of the people in the above picture. Come with me, left to right, as we see what the squishing sand hath wrought.

Note: The picture was taken in 1975.



This Crisco isn’t doing anything. Sharon looked terrific the other night and she said she’d been “out all day with Crisco”, but I just don’t see the bronzing, at least not on my calves. My thighs look great. (She pokes her thigh.) I’ll give it another five. Gosh, I wonder what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. I’d buy a newspaper but they’re 10 cents, now. What am I, made of money? (Beat.) I’m really hot. Like, really hot. I need to flip, but I just … this Crisco … it’s so sticky. Crisco, Crisco. Wait, was Sharon talking about being out all day with Francisco? (She squints out at the horizon.) Who put that big building out there? I need to put my leg down. Maybe I’ll just take a little nap after I take another sip this dehydrating wine cooler … So … So tired all of a sudden …



Oh my god, I hate this. I hate this. I’m dying. The sun is burning me up. I’m going to die here. I’m going to die here, on Huntington Beach. (Mirthless laugh.) This is unbelievable. I’m going to burn up. I’m turning into a pork rind. I’m a physics professor and I’m turning into a pork rind. What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t I just say I was busy? The manuscript will be late. That’s real, now. I have less than three weeks, as of today. (She peers at MAN WITH HAT.) God, I hate that hat. It’s a child’s hat. It’s the hat of a small child. (Pause.) He should have asked me by now if I want to use it. Unbelievable.



Most offshore oil rigs are taller than the world’s biggest skyscrapers. Most people don’t know that. The first known offshore drilling occurred in Azerbaijan in the 19th century, and oil rigs are commonly referred to as “floating cities,” on account of all the workers living on them at any given time. Most people don’t know that, either. I’ll bet my date would love to hear everything I know about offshore drilling platforms. The sun is bright today. I’m so glad I brought my hat. I wonder what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.



(To FLAT WOMAN 2.) Karen? (No response.) Karen!



The horizon yields a shape mo’st strange. What mighty metal camel strides across the great and churning sea? Might the beast be a fearsome elephant, trunk raised to bellow a warning for all to —


THE KID’S MOM (Out of frame, right.) 

Five minutes, Kevin. I won’t tell you again. We’re leaving in five minutes. 


[The End.]

8 Responses

  1. Mary Ann
    | Reply

    Ha, that might be me and my kid although we usually went down a bit farther South to Little Corona beach where you could walk to the tide pools and touch the starfish regardless of the signs. Oh wait in 1975 there were no signs, it was big free for all environmentally, every fish for themselves.

  2. Helen Marie
    | Reply

    Wet sand is squishy at night, too! And feels SOOOOOoooo good! I cannot stay out in the sun. Hubs says I’m part vampire. He’s one of those browners. I’m a blistering pinker!

    BTW my niece works summers at H.B.

  3. Caroline Nelson
    | Reply

    Oh my goodness but you make me laugh. And that these days is a rare commodity! Thank you.

  4. Bob Collis
    | Reply

    I share your general dislike of beaches.
    In the 60’s, I TRIED to be a surfer. I could stay on my skateboard; why not a surfboard?
    I was great at getting sunburned; I always had to step around people…
    Oregon beaches are another story. Here, (depending on the beach), you can walk for a long while, and not have to talk to another person, if you don’t want to.

  5. Jennifer
    | Reply

    Oh, the poor man, and his poor, poor date!

    So glad you’re back!

  6. Tracy Besmer
    | Reply

    This is the best one yet. I especially like the man and the kid! Very good!

  7. Wendy Lerolland
    | Reply

    I am so glad you are back and smart as ever. Your writing is pure joy, and your disdain for beaches is sensible and sound. Thankyouthankyouthankyou for coming back to us!

  8. Mary Lynn
    | Reply

    OMG you nailed MAN WITH HAT. I love the beach and the sand until it’s time to leave. Sand should never meet car interior.

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