Of Shells And Hidden Strengths

Well, fellow bloggers, it’s come to the end of my week at the beach. It’s a beautiful, sunny day, the waves are perfect for body-boarding, the sand is white and the breeze is blowing off the Gulf. It’s going to be hard to leave. Again. It’s always hard to leave.

One of my favorite past-times in all my years of visiting these shores is shell collecting. I love to get up early when the beach is quiet and walk along the shoreline searching for gulf treasures. I quietly pass other shell enthusiasts. We smile, nod, and lower our heads, eyes searching the sand. Occasionally I stop and look out at the waves as they crash in and gently wash over my feet. There aren’t even many shells here, and most of the pickings are quite small. Certainly you cannot find any large shells, and most of what washes up is broken. I suppose it’s the rarity of finding an unbroken shell that sends us out in the early morning to inspect the results of the tide.

Most people search for the perfect, the whole, the unblemished. Not me. I’ve collected a little bit of everything over the years. As a child, I’d keep my shells and pretty rocks in a small duffel bag I had. Sometimes I’d take them out and just admire them. Many of my favorites were broken. The thing about a perfect shell, especially a really interesting, twisty one, is that I always wondered how it was formed. For me to find broken pieces of these saltwater lovelies was a bit like finding clues to the mysteries of the ocean. I loved to see the inside of them, to see the spiraling support for the beauty of the unbroken. My uncle used to tell me not to pick up the broken pieces, to look for the whole ones. I never understood that. I always looked for the interesting, the colorful, the textured. I liked to find things that told a story. My imagination could fill in where my knowledge failed. For a kid with more imagination than knowledge, bits and pieces of colorful, broken shells were indeed treasures.

I’ve discovered over the years that we often treat people the way many people treat shells. Society likes the beautiful and unblemished. They tend to discard the broken, but often it is the broken that have the most interesting stories. Just as the inner spiraling of the shell showed the structure and support of the outer shell, a person exhibits their greatest strength in their times of brokenness. When life sends waves crashing down on us, we find out what we’re made of, and if our inner strength is solid enough, we’ll still be held together even if the outer facade is broken. Then, for anyone who is looking, the beauty in our brokenness will be revealed.

So don’t write off a person simply because they have been knocked around by life. If you learn from them, you may just be able to keep it together when the waves come crashing in on you. It’s the hidden strength that determines what’s left once the storm has passed.

(Written on the 4th)

I’ll be honest, I had no idea what #natgat was all about. Ever since the whining, writhing maggots of occupy infected the Big Apple, I relegated them to the area of my brain that deals with buzzing flies and obnoxious odors. Besides living in tents and demanding hand outs these people really had no purpose, therefore I ignored them. They occasionally blipped on my radar when they would unleash their fully grown toddler fury on a city by breaking windows, painting on walls, and attacking businesses. No one ever accused occupy of being very logical, but you’d think they would have enough sense to not destroy the sources of taxation that would pay for all the free stuff they want. I suppose they think Michelle is growing a money tree in that fancy White House garden of hers.

Since I wanted to know what all the fuss was about the latest gathering of malcontents, I googled natgat and copied their schedule for July 4th and 5th. I’ve kindly provided an interpretation of the proceedings for those of us who shower daily and understand that “supply and demand” does not mean “the government must supply our demands.”


9am – Announcements – I imagine this is the droning of the human megaphone interspersed with uptwinkles (rape tents!) and downtwinkles (capitalism!).

9am – 12pm – Occupy Cafe, Friends Center, 15th & Cherry – Donated organic produce enjoyed in the presence of unwashed hippies. Yum.

10am – Noon – Visioning Exercise – drafting a blueprint for a better future – Who needs all this freedom? A better future must include free propaganda.. I mean education, mass screwing of banks.. I mean debt forgiveness, and the death of America.. I mean open borders.

Noon – Lunch Break – More donated organic produce enjoyed in the presence of even smellier hippies. No water because bans and oppression and stuff… also we’re too stupid to bring any.

2pm – 5pm – Visioning Exercise continues at Franklin Square – 6th & Race – We chant about all the things we hate and whine about how someone else should be productive enough to give our sorry lazy asses what we want. We will tweet about our profound vision of collectivism on our iPhones.

5pm – Final Community Assembly – including reading of any collectively crafted document(s) – We do hereby declare that the correct spelling of our tent city recreation areas shall be “RAPE TENT” not “rapetent” as previously stated.

6pm –  7:30pm – Dinner – Donated organic produce enjoyed in the presence of reeeeeally smelly hippies. Ignore the flies, both produce and hippies have been in the sun all day.

8pm – Final march – Route TBA – Don’t forget your anti-capitalism signs and iPhones!

11pm – Final Camp-Out & Party – Location TBA – To the RAPE TENTS!! Forward!


9am – Courtroom Solidarity for a Philly Occupier – Bring your fleas indoors to enjoy some a/c as we support our hippie comrades who break laws.
9am – #99MileMarch March to Wall Street embarks from Philadelphia Museum of Art –  OWS Guitarmy will be leading an epic 99 mile march from Franklin Square to Wall Street on the 5th for all those that want to join in the quest to deliver the Vision for a Democratic Future! RSVP on their FACEBOOK – the nasty Orcs are leaving Mordor to wage war on the peaceful Hobbits of America! (see picture)Image

Update: You can read more parodies of #natgat plus an actual occupier’s diary entry about the subsequent march at http://www.soopermexican.com by clicking on Mexiblog.

Occupy: Gnat Gat?