It was the summer of 1955 or 56. I was 12 or 13 years old. We were regular visitors at the Shark River Hills Beach Club not far from where my family had the summer house.
On this day my younger brother had to take a poop real bad but the beach house bathroom stunk and was too crowded, dirty and hot.
Determined to relieve himself, I accompanied my brother as we waded in shallow water up along the beach, out of sight from the bathers where it curved around the bend looking for a discrete place to launch the missile. Operating on the assumption that the load would sink to the bottom as it always does in the toilet bowl, he lowered his trunks and proceeded to slide the brown while waist deep in the water. To my surprise the package rose to the surface buoyed by the increased density of salt water. Not sure how to handle this Archimedian discovery we left the scene and returned to the beach area. The floating torpedo was left bobbing in the shallow water around the bend – out of site.
As always, the beach area was crowded with families and kids. Hours later the tide started to go out and by then we had forgotten all about the floating missile erroneously assuming it would remain anonymously out of site.
Suddenly we heard a frantic scream from a woman who was in the water with her young child – The torpedo had followed the tide current and found its way – a silent intruder invading the swim area. The uninvited guest appeared bobbing along amongst the frolicking children. The woman was not sure what to do but took on the immediate duty of keeping her child far far from the menacing large torpedo turd which had managed to keep its shape and continued to drift along. The increased density of the salt water enable a good portion of the invader to remain above the water line removing any doubt as to its nature.
The woman’s reaction was similar to the reaction of swimmers who spot a shark. This woman apparently came to the conclusion that it was now her duty to save the day. First she rushed her child safely to dry land and found a small board which she planned to use as the capture & removal tool. She bravely re-entered the water to the turd site as all other swimmers had fled to the shore. My brother & I watched this unfolding of events as innocent spectators imagining the way an arsonist feels watching the fire he started.
The woman approached the turd – board in hand – as she carefully placed the board in the water and lifted the torpedo turd out of the water. Having captured the booty she proceeded to shore with the perfect turd delicately balanced on the board like a circus performer delivering a prize catch. As she tried to make her way over the bumpy bottom she lost her balance many times causing the perfectly large round turd to repeatedly roll off the board forcing her to re-capture it several times on her journey to the shore. She was determined to follow through on her mission – she could not quit now – everyone was watching this brave woman. We found it very easy to hold off from exploding with powerful laughter – after all – we were innocent bystanders – no one else was laughing.
Finally the woman made it ashore and walked the boarded turd to the bathroom for dumping. That was it – it was over – the woman was a hero – My brother was the culprit, I was the accomplice and no one knew. I am sure that woman remembers the events of that day but doubt that she has told the story. I wish I could meet that woman today and tell her that 55 years ago when she saved the day at the Shark River Beach Club – it was my brother who launched that missile. Do you think she’d be happy to meet me?
Originally posted 2011-08-27 03:39:20.