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Wednesday, June 19, 2013



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!”


  1. At least you got a great story out of it. I'm surprised the shell didn't break from all that pounding.

  2. Am I the only one here who feels sorry for that poor conch? Being forced out of his home, forced to die before his time so that some guy from Jersey could put his home up on the shelf for display???

    Ok I'm kidding. I'm not that much of a sap.

    I love Jamacian accents!! I think that's what I liked best about this story; I could almost hear the guy talking. And I would have beat it on the beach, too, had I been told by a local. Why would I doubt? Well, now I know better, thanks for the heads up! Jamaicans...a bunch of pranksters!

  3. Why did you leave it in the sun? It fades everything, mon.

  4. jeeeeezus that poor little conch... well ... be glad PETA wasn't around.

    HAhaaa and what fun the Jamaican had

    see? the God I believe in wouldn't create something of beauty for us to beat it on the beach ...

    My God? just creates beauty ... and the people who believe in my God wouldn't slam his creation on the damn beach and bonk it silly... or let it rot in the sun... man


  5. the locals have to have fun, too! they live in poverty and stupid tourists come and they have to be nice to them.

  6. This story & your quote reminded me of an old saying by Coco Chanel: "A sinner can always repent, but stupid is forever!"

  7. Poor conch..yes, yes, I know...I am one of those crazies.
    On the other hand, the evil Lo has eaten conch salad and loved it. However, I do not think I could have beaten one on the beach for either its shell or its delish contents.
    I commend you for your tenacity while i abhor the act. (Sorry, I cannot help my split personality.)

  8. You sure that guy was a Jamaican local? He sounds more like a Nigerian prince. ;)


  9. This reminds me of a class of freshmen I had several years ago who were assigned to read Lord of the Flies by their English teacher. One girl spent the whole book thinking that "conch" was "couch". When I overheard her one day, and explained, she said, "I wondered why those boys found a couch on a deserted beach, and how they held it up to blow into it."

    Good thing she didn't have to imagine Cranky beating a couch on the beach.

  10. That's hilarious! Oh well, at least you got your shell. I do feel kind of bad for the poor creature inside. Funny story.

  11. If it's any solace, I'll bet the guy pulled that same joke on plenty of other people, mon.

  12. Very funny story... The conch may have died, but at least had its revenge ... The stench must have had an interesting effect on the honeymooners, too!!!