Monday, April 16, 2007


My friends live right on the beach, on the west coast of Okinawa. All around the clock there are SCUBA divers in the water out front, checking out a reef and the very cool fish and other water creatures that live in it (around it, under it, I don’t know).

At low tide, the shoreline reveals lots of tidal pools. There’s volcanic rock, covered with seaweed, and then these big puddles of seawater, filled with that same cool oceanic life. Only now it’s accessible to those of us in sandals rather than people with gear strapped to their bodies.

I went wading out yesterday and saw blue fish (not bluefish), starfish, sea cucumbers, and a blowfish that was right out of Finding Nemo.

It’s also a treasure trove of great shells.

I picked up a couple, peered inside, and saw they were still the homes of crabs or gooey things that live in shells, so I tossed those back.

Then I picked up a perfect spiral, with bright red streaks on it, swirling up to a sharp point. It was a keeper. I looked inside, didn’t see anything curled up in it, so I stuck it in my pocket and continued wading.

I got back inside an hour or so later, and put the shell on my dresser to dry out.

We went off to dinner, walked around one of the towns a bit, and got home a few hours later.

I went in my room, and the first thing I noticed was my shell, on the floor, a good 3 yards from the dresser. I seemed unlikely that I had knocked it that far.

My suspicions were confirmed when I picked it up.

This was not your sweet little elementary school hermit crab inside. It was a long hairy legged, tarantula looking, angry crustacean, wondering why it wasn’t in its warm puddle of seawater.

I tried to scare it back into its shell. It was too pissed to be scared.

I retired from baseball this year. I couldn’t hit a 26-year-old’s slider anymore. I can still field and throw.

And I threw the shell through the living room door, across the street, over the beach, and right back into the China Sea.

I have no doubt the thing was fine. The nasty monsters always survive.

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