Well, the summer is almost over, and I’m in the middle of my annual trip to the beach. Once a year for the last quarter century we’ve headed to some beach, usually Duck, North Carolina. Now, some of you know where the Outer Banks are located, but for those of you who don’t, they’re located a few hours South of Virginia Beach.
Let me be the first to tell you that I’m not a big beach person. I’m not crazy about sand, don’t like to have things bite me in the ocean or, for that matter, on the deck, and I"m not thrilled with fishing. I don’t like to get sand in my shoes, and really hate those dumb beach shops where you can buy sea shell ashtrays and five tee shirts for $10 that say things like "I Got My Tan at Duck." I don’t like to sun bathe (boring), gave up golf, don’t care for too much air conditioning, and don’t drink enough to keep me from knowing that I’m there.
Most of the time I miss my suit and tie.
The best part of the beach for me is not the seafood, as I’ve been a vegetarian since 1996. I used to enjoy the human scenery a great deal, but Duck is pretty laid back, not like New Jersey or Maryland. It’s mostly conservative families, very few tattoos, and hardly any body piercings.
The best part of the beach trip for me is Beyond Balderdash.
Now, I’m not talking about the word balderdash, I’m talking about the game. After everyone finishes digging crab meat from steamed crabs, and shucking all the things they shuck, the group crowds around the table and begins to play Beyond Balderdash.
This game will probably be banned from family use someday by the neoconservatives, but for now, Beyond Balderdash is downright crazy FUN. As you might imagine, my job/s don’t really lend themselves to crazy FUN. We deal with serious stuff all day, everyday. We deal with people’s lives, people’s futures, and people’s loved ones. So, it’s not often that I can laugh til I cry and hold my stomach from the pleasant pain. Sometimes I laugh so hard that I can’t breathe, and that’s a good thing.
This year’s Balderdash group has expanded to include a new family, my son’s in-laws. They have added another dimension of craziness to the game. I’ll admit that the drinks sometimes increase the joy for some of the players, but overall, the fun for me is from the pure creative energy that goes into the wonderful, make believe answers that hardly ever stump any of us. They just make us laugh those deep belly laughs that used to be such a regular part of life. The laughs that don’t come at anybody’s expense. The laughs that say, "Heck, it’s just great to be alive today."
So, I listen to the ocean. Watch the waves. Read a little. Walk the beach. Call the office three or four times a day. Check my e-mail a dozen times. Send some text messages. Eat too many pretzels. Sleep until 6:30 or 7AM. Nap in the afternoon, and PLAY Beyond Balderdash.
Warning: This game is not meant for the faint of heart. People who don’t find humor in The Comedy Channel, David Letterman, or movies like "Old School" will probably have a tough time getting into the crazy, fun Balderdash that we play, but for now, it’s my closest visit to Nirvana!