Jellyfish basher

PALM BEACH, FL — I think that we had just passed The Breakers, my friend and I, walking down the beach, discussing the state of the media, how the tragedy of amendment two came about, our careers, her wardrobe and my hair, when we came across a beached jelly fish with a rock on top of it.

“How did it get under a rock?” we wondered, and strolled on, I think at that point debating the wisdom of my going to another friend’s haircutter.

A lot of jellyfish had gotten beached that day, as the tide was going out, and still more bobbed along in the shallow water, making me glad I had come just to walk.

jellyfish

Between semi-treated sewage, sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, near-shore rocks and pieces of cruise ship garbage, I don’t swim in the ocean much anymore. One time I found a hypodermic syringe on the beach and considered not walking on the beach anymore — in fact joined a gym and walked on a treadmill instead for a while, but decided watching Fox news and listening to a sexagenarian weightlifter emit labor-like grunts was worse than stepping on a hypodermic needle of unknown origin.

Then one time recently, you will recall, I impaled my foot on a spike sticking out of the sand, as I strolled a length of essentially private beach further south in this town.

So I learned to look at where I’m putting my feet more when I walk, and was enjoying the benefit of that lesson now, as I stepped around jellyfish instead of on them, which I can’t imagine how that would feel, or how long it would take to forget how it felt.

I do know now, however, what it sounds like when a heavy rock drops on a beached jellyfish — a nasty combination of “chunk” and “splat” — because the middle-aged man in knee-length swimming trunks, a tropical print shirt and a straw hat, caused exactly that to happen about 20 feet or so ahead of us. I don’t know if he did it by throwing the rock down hard, or just standing over the jellyfish and dropping it, because I was watching where I was putting my feet.

But I do know when we looked over at where the sound had happened, he was standing there looking down, perhaps proudly or at least victoriously, at the jellyfish under the rock in front of him.

We must have made a sound too, because he looked over and explained, “to keep it from going back in the water.” Then he moved on, but stopped to look back at us, or the conquered jellyfish, or both, standing still at the water’s edge, looking over his shoulder, as if something bothered him.

We tried, but couldn’t go on — to risk an encounter with him, perhaps a further explanation, perhaps a rock (to make sure we didn’t go into the water either), certainly more rock-bashed jellyfish — so we turned back, and after a few minutes of recovery returned to discussing the state of the media, how the tragedy of amendment two came about, my hair, and other things I don’t understand.

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21 Responses

  1. Your hair will look good wispy, Amendment 2 was worded so that everyone would vote yes, walking on the beach is worth the risk and no matter how much you want them to, jellyfish do not survive when 80 percent of the jelly is under a rock.

    Good thing the ballot does not say:

    Do you want to have cleaner beaches where children can play without dying? Vote yes if you want jellyfish hit by rocks.

    • Why in the world would you want the jellyfish to get hit by rocks?!Jellyfish are awesome and weird.But they arent that dangerous and your kids wouldnt get hurt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • some jellyfish are deadly miss lindsey… very very deadly… so i really would prefer to see a jellyfish hit by a rock then go near a living one…

  2. hi i like jelyfish

    • wow

  3. I HAVE JUST RETURNED FROM A ST AUGUSTINE BEACH AND THERE
    WERE ALOT OF JELLY LOOKING THINGS WASHED UP ON THE BEACH,
    ( THEY KINDA LOOKED LIKE MINI BREAST IMPLANTS) WE WERE WONDERING, WERE THESE A TYPE OF JELLY FISH? THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY TENDRICKLES ON THEM. I AM KNOT FROM THE SOUTH, SO I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHAT THEY WERE. ANY INFO YOU COULD GIVE ME WOULD REALLY BE APPRECIATED. . THANKS

  4. I came across your story after googling Jellyfish due to a mishap that took place at a beach in Rye NH. Sadly our Jelly met its demise at the hand of man. While dying by pitchfork this poor Jelly shed his stingers which caused a whole lot of people to get stung. I do not understand the lack of logic in this event. Had the lifeguard simply paddled out and coaxed this Jelly away from the shore it could have gone on to do whatever it is they do and no one would have gotten stung. As it turns out this valiant effort our hero made caused 150 stings, 10 children to go to the hospital and Jelly ends his days in a 30 gallon trash bag chucked into the dumpster. News crews were all too happy to report on the event sensationalizing the amount of stings and forgetting to mention the human error in this event. Poor stung people, poor dead Jelly, poor (foolish) lifeguard who will most likely get fired. The possible safety risks paddling out with a PITCHFORK in the surf could present is reason enough for the ax. It’s too bad for him he was really nice to look at. Maybe this is what caused his heroic effort in the first place? All the middle-aged moms watching him do his job of tanning and specking out the possible dangers in the water. Making conversation with him knowing he will flirt to fluff their egos and his own. Each saying in their minds “Yeah I still got it!” Is this what prompted him to grab his board, bobber and pitchfork to tackle the dreaded Jellyfish in efforts to save our children from injury and pain only to have it backfire? Oh the shame, see we are all responsible here, this is the circle of stupidity

  5. i went to outer banks and saw jellyfish everywhere they were touching me from left to right and didnt even sting.

  6. is it true?it’s amazing!

  7. You are a great writer.

  8. How in the world is this real! Do u have any proof!?

  9. Henry Beston
    Author (1888-1968)

    “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
    ~ “The Outermost House”

    Snow Goose Photo by Sue Holloway – Creatured Connection

    • P.S. I got booted from the SeaWorld Facebook page for quoting this…

  10. ewwwww i have phobia of jellyfishes because i think they are so dangerous and they just gross me out

  11. that is a huge jellyfish!!! XD

  12. I dont understand. Im confused! HELP!

  13. hi that is cool

  14. […] The busiest day of the year was July 22nd with 501 views. The most popular post that day was Jellyfish basher. […]

  15. you are a good writer. 🙂

  16. I got stung by a jellyfish when I was 7 – VERY painful – if you wear shoes the beach won’t be so scary.

  17. I loved reading that.

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