BEAT IT ON THE BEACH MON!
I went to Jamaica on my first honeymoon several lives ago. We went in June. It is very hot in Jamaica in June, oppressively hot. There is a reason no one has ever written a song titled “Jamaica in June.”
One way to escape the oppressive heat was snorkeling. While snorkeling, I spotted a conch. I have always had a fascination with seashells. Some are incredibly beautiful. Most of the beauty is in the inside of the shell, not visible to man or other beast unless the shell maker is evicted and the shell turned pretty side up. There is no apparent evolutionary reason for the inside of a seashell to be beautiful. I look upon them as proof there is a God and he creates beauty just for the sake of creating beauty.
I dove and retrieved the shell, a conch shell, with a live conch still occupying his beautiful home. I did not want the conch; though I understand they are quite tasty, I only wanted the shell. I asked one of the locals who was working at this resort how to get the conch out of the shell.
“You beat it on the beach Mon, beat it on the beach.”
He then demonstrated how to hold the shell, and slam it on the beach point first until the conch inside would give up the shell…well die and could be extracted.
I went to the hard part of the beach where the water had just receded, and did as I was told; I beat the conch on the beach. I slammed that shell into the beach again and again. I would have quit if not for the local encouraging me to continue.
“That’s right Mon, beat it on the beach, he’ll come out, just keep beating it on the beach”
After about twenty minutes of slamming this damn thing against the beach the conch gave up his shell. I pulled it out, and my new Jamaican friend applauded.
“See Mon, I tol you…jes beat it on the beach Mon!”
I kept my prized find in the hotel room for several days before I noticed a stink. The conch was not completely out of the shell, some of it had remained. It was now stinking and the remnants were being feasted on by maggots. It took lots of hot water and some digging, but finally the shell was clean and I could take my hard fought possession home.
Back at work everyone wanted to know how my honeymoon vacation was. I related how it was too friggin hot, but then bragged about diving for this beautiful conch shell.
One of the guys at work, Lenny, was from Jamaica.
“Hey mon, was the conch still in de shell?”
“Oh yeah, but one of the hotel guys told me how to get him out. It wasn’t easy, but I beat the shell on the beach for about twenty minutes and got most of it out.”
“You beat it on the beach mon?”
“Yes, it was hard, but I finally got it out.”
At this point Lenny was bending over laughing.
“Mon…you beat it on the beach for twenty minutes? Mon that dude was playing you. Beat it on the beach!”
“Mon, don no one beat the conch on the beach…you drop that shell in boilin water…three minutes that conch he fall right out nice an clean…beat it on the beach…oh mon…that dude mus still be laughin!”
And that is why I’ll never go back to Jamaica. The conch shell? After two years in the sun the colors all faded away.
It’s just like Judge Judy says,
“Beauty fades, dumb is forever!”