Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Nerd at the Beach

Exhibit A: Scenic beauty!

I recently spent a few days with my wife in Panama City Beach, Florida.  As a nerd by both profession and personal inclination, I've never been big on the beach life, requiring as it does physical activity in copious amounts of direct sunlight.  Still, there's a lot to love about the beach even for nerds.  So here are things I like and don't like about the beach!

Things I like about the beach
  1. The scenic beauty (see Exhibit A above). 
  2. The salt on the breeze.
  3. It’s socially acceptable to lounge around reading books all day.  A big plus for nerds who love to read.  (I read Stephen King's The Drawing of the Three in anticipation of The Dark Tower movie.  A lot of the book takes place on a beach, albeit one much weirder and more horrifying than the one I visited.  I also started Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse Dune as part of my third or fourth re-read of the Dune series.).
  4. Spending time with loved ones.
  5. Floating in the ocean realizing you are at the mercy of forces much larger than yourself and that you are merely one small bit of a mind-bogglingly vast universe.

Things I don’t like about the beach
  1. Sand everywhere.  I will probably be finding sand in my suitcase until late 2018.
  2. Sunscreen is a vile, vile substance – almost as vile as sunburns and skin cancer.
  3. Being almost naked in front of hundreds of strangers.  No nerd likes this; no non-nerd wants to see this.
  4. Excessive direct sunlight.  More power to you if you can withstand sitting in direct sunlight all day, but this is not good for nerds. It saps us of our nerdish power.
  5. When it's all over and suddenly it's August and you're wondering what happened to your summer (this is especially an issue for education professionals realizing that the new school year, which you thought was a speck on the horizon until August 1, is now an unstoppable bus barreling down on you while you frazzlingly try to pick up the spilled contents of a bag marked "summer projects").


  1. Ranging perilously close to Episode II territory, there. Then again, maybe Anakin was on to something.

    My idea of a nice beach vacation is 30 minutes in bare feet, freaking about how cold the water is, and then getting back in the car. The reading does sound nice, though.

    1. I'm not sure if I should thank you or not for reminding me of Anakin's comment about sand. I think I had blocked out a lot of George Lucas's terrible dialogue from my mind. On the other hand, it's kind of a funny reference. Maybe I just didn't want to admit to myself that Anakin had a point.

      One thing I liked is that our hotel room had a shady balcony that overlooked the beach, which was great for leisurely reading and admiring the view without the sand and sun all up in your business.