By Mark D. Crantz
Laguna Beach. Another perfect day in Paradise, but what SUP? Oh no, non-sanctioned stand up paddleboard classes are up, that’s what. It appears that tall paddlers are inadvertently blocking ocean views. A fair number of homeowners have complained to the city that a number of taller teenagers have not been properly poled prior to the mandatory public comment period, where citizens want to say, “Go to your room until school starts. Be sure to add two days.”
With the tourist season approaching, Laguna Beach homeowners are concerned that busloads of even taller kids from the central valley vegetable belt will descend upon them. Recently there have been new discussions to fast track and lower the proposed Laguna Beach entrance to keep out tall non-resident teenagers and their even bigger paddleboards. A Laguna Beach moat was proposed instead of an entrance, but was soon rejected due to the Southern California water shortage for mixed drinks and the moat could not be made wide enough to keep up with increasing paddleboard sizes.
“What annoys me most,” complained my invisible neighbor who talks through the hedge, “is that these kids and their stand up boards are bigger than my Laguna Beach home. I would give anything to trade up for the extra room and the better ocean view.” I’d like to take my neighbor’s house size at face value, but I’ve never seen my neighbor’s face or his house due to the well-maintained foliage. I’ve asked my more conspicuous neighbors that I can see and nobody can describe him or his home. The neighborhood consensus seems to be that he must be relatively short compared to the size of the hedge, but at the same time he seems tall compared to the hedge when he shouts out his opinions or pronounces Laguna life lessons. I’ve christened him Casper Marley (behind his hedge of course) because he’s a combination of Casper ‘the friendly ghost’ and Jacob Marley the more serious ghost of past, present and future life lessons. Unfortunately, this clever nicknaming has backfired on me because now the neighborhood calls me Uncle Scrooge, to my face no less, because I don’t have a hedge to protect me from sticks and stones that break my bones and names that will never hurt my therapist’s billing.
According to the Laguna Beach police department, the SUP classes so far have been pretty well conducted with only a few incidences to report. Last August a tall teenager caught a strong southwestern wind and ended up in Tahiti only to be reunited with his absentee jet setting parents. The unexpected reunion did not end well when his parent’s erroneous single status designation(s) on ChristianMingle.com were uncovered to the significant other Tahitian natives. The teenager was quietly released to a northeastern wind by the sister chapter of the Pacific Mammal Center, who happily intervened after receiving a large donation anonymously from Laguna Beach parents last rumored to be headed in an opposite southwestern direction.
“I’m telling you,” complained Casper Marley, “these SUPs are a hazard to other seafaring craft. My new Lexus IS 5,000,000,000,0000 was delayed two weeks from Japan into the port of Long Beach because these stand up paddlers decided to conduct a water protest against parents who give them hand me down used cars smaller than their stand up paddleboards. The cargo ships couldn’t get through,” sighed Marley. Aerial views, taken from the Geico airship promised a 15% SUP savings and showed SUPs in a synchronized paddling display, toes to nose, that spelled out messages of teenage angst. “SUPs Rule. Old Guys Don’t.” And “Eat Mor Chiken of the Sea,” which nearly sent Casper Marley over the grammatical hedge.
“So Laguna Beach, take a life lesson and don’t end up in the ocean without a paddle or a SUP lesson wherever they may be conducted or from whoever does the conducting,” so says Casper Marley and me, dear old Uncle Scrooge.
Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.