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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore

Last weekend I came to the conclusion that it was much easier to dig a hole on a beach than in someone's backyard. Since the depth of this observation is roughly equivalent to that of the two miniabysses that I dug out in the process of empirically discovering it, I figured I should publish this piece of wisdom somewhere. Maybe in the International Journal of Applied Grave Digging. After all, no one has published it yet and that seems to be the going reason for issuing papers these days, the complete lack of academic merit notwithstanding.

My friend Robert lives in New Jersey and during my last visit one of his pet rabbits passed away of old age. Which, by the way, is just a coincidence - most pets survive my visit just fine. After I had my breakfast Saturday morning, I found Robert in the backyard, digging away at the grave. Robert is an excellent mathematician, but his grave digging skills are slightly sub par. I almost felt he'd be happier if he could jab the hardened soil with his compass and scoop it up with a protractor. I am a mathematician too, but in my army years I dug a Grand Canyon's worth of trenches, so my excavation technique has lots of experience under its belt. And I was not shy to flash it. My civil engineering prowess made such a lasting impression that I was treated to a trip to the Jersey Shore as a reward for my little graveyard shift.

Coming from a landlocked country, I never say no to the ocean.

There is something spiritually invigorating in throwing yourself into a cresting wave and being tossed around by the raw force of the water. Submitting to the raging elements and embracing them is like a shower for your soul. And, on the practical side, it is a pretty good preparation in case you are ever swept by an avalanche or run over by a bus full of screaming kids. Speaking of which: Robert's daughters soon demanded my attention and that is how I made my startling discovery. While I was serving as a cheap shoveling labor for their castle moat restoration project, I did notice that sand presents much less resistance to my digging efforts than rocky soil reinforced with wayward roots.

But poking around in the sand gets old pretty fast and in an effort to satisfy young minds' craving for new thrills, I created a game utilizing the ocean's unlimited supply of waves. Here it is. You wait for a tongue of a wave to splash onto the shore. As it retraces back into the ocean, you follow it on the bared piece of sandy bottom. The purpose of the game is to make it as far into the ocean as possible, without getting your feet wet. Of course, you might be tempted to go as far as possible, but remember the next wave is coming, so you want to give yourself plenty of time to escape. Once the water catches your feet, you are disqualified no matter how deep into ocean's territory you made it. So you have to carefully balance the trade off between going long and leaving yourself enough time to avoid the next wave.

Admittedly, this is not the most exciting thing you can do while babysitting kids at the beach, but it is fun enough and it will tide you over till the parents reclaim their off-springs and shower them with exciting new activities.

shore

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