Monday, March 30, 2009

CALLING ALL DOUCHEBAGS: Rich? Selfish? Feel like you own the beach? Good. We need your help.

I like the word ‘douchebag.’ In a world where ‘bad’ can mean good, ‘sick’ describes the most powerful and popular, and ‘cool’ and ‘hot’ are virtually interchangeable, ‘douchebag’ is unabashedly clear in its purpose. Perhaps more than any other insult. After all, terms like ‘dick’ and ‘asshole’ often apply to people who command a high level of respect — think Vice President Cheney and your average vice-principal. Or just a close friend with a mischievous personality. But a ‘douchebag’ has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. There is no silent “kind-of-a” strapped to the front. A douchebag is a douchebag is a douchebag.

So, I need to apologize to all the oceanfront homeowners out there who I may have undeservedly called ‘douchebag’ at one point or another. For, though all of these folks may be ‘rich bastards’ — another term I throw around rather freely — they are not all ‘douchebags.’

Need proof? Check out this sign from a house near me:

The owners live right on the beach. They could have put barbwire and pitch forks and Punji sticks all around their perimeter and it would be perfectly legal. But they didn’t. Instead, they continually offer up their own private driveway for a quick surf-check or drop off point to let random folks enjoy a public natural resource. All summer long, people pull up, hop around the side and dump all the umbrellas and beach chairs — a pair of ‘cornhole’ boxes plus a Confederate flag raft or two — then drive off and park about a half-mile away. Everybody’s happy. (Except maybe dad who has to hump his fat ass from the parking lot in 90-degree weather.)

I wish I could say this was the rule, but it’s the exception. This house is surrounded by little gaps in the beach fence with signs that say ‘Private’ and ‘Property Of … ‘, hell-bent on making sure nobody uses their precious dirtpath -- even for the 30 seconds. Besides the innate selfishness of the message, the approach really adds to the atmosphere. Nothing quite so relaxing as looking back from the shoreline and seeing “KEEP OUT!” and “NO TRESPASSING” written in angry, neon pink lettering. These are also the most ironic signs, since — were you to blindly follow the instructions from the ocean side — you’d be trapped on the beach forever. Over time, the sand would fill with all those pesky, unfortunate souls who love the sea but are unable to afford an uninsurable, million-dollar piece of ocean front . (I assume they would call us ‘poor bastards’.)

Now, these sign-posters are by every measure, ‘douchebags.’ Were they to put the same energy into facilitating some form of balanced access, the world would be a better place. But since that’s not the case, we need to appeal to their ‘inner douchebag’ and use their evil powers for good. And the fight against offshore oil is the perfect opportunity; in fact, I’d argue we could ask for no stronger allies. First, they obviously feel very protective of the shoreline. Second, they really love money, and nothing kills real estate values like disrupting a view — say with a bunch of oil rigs. Third, they’re most likely to be quite cozy with the douchebags — aka politicians and lobbyists — who are trying to make this happen.

If we’re to defeat this enemy, we must convert these former foes to our cause. Start by not calling them ‘douchebags’ anymore. (At least not to their faces.) Then join the local country club. Play some golf. Wear an ascot. Maybe make a racial slur. Then, once you’ve blended in, say something like, “We’re so fortunate to be able to call the beach our home. Too bad all those ‘poor bastards’ feel the need to wallow around in our front yards, coating their fat, white (thank, God) bodies with drug-store ‘Baby Magic.’ Laughing and playing with those foul, barefoot urchins they call ‘children’. Hopefully, we can get a bunch of oil rigs put up quickly. The first good oil spill oughta scare them off for good. If not, we can simply light them on fire. ”

And if the thought of their front yard caked in petroleum or a bunch of blazing tourists screaming up and down the beach doesn’t make them hyperventilate over the prospect of plunging real estate values, just take ‘em surfing. Perhaps then they may see the ocean as something more than a financial opportunity. Maybe they’ll even decide it’s a resource worthy of both sharing and protecting. And when that happens, you can officially stop calling them ‘douchebags’ for real.

Of course, most of us aren’t rich douchebags, so we must team up to show our financial might. If you haven’t taken the Surf-First survey do it now!


  1. I love the word Douchebag! It's so East Coast.....reminds me lovingly of my growing up in Ocean City, MD - hanging on the pier....

    Anyway, yeah, great post. God Bless the family who shares their little peice of dirt for the sake of the poor bastards!