The Gulf of Mexico. That’s what they call it. You can stand on the 9th-floor balcony of the Opal Sands hotel in Clearwater and squint all you want. Mexico will not become visible no matter how you try.
That’s because the earth is curved. You’d have to construct a building much taller than the Opal Sands to ever catch a glimpse of the Mexican shoreline. Or you could build progressively higher-flying rocket ships until you can get high enough to see across the Gulf. That’s what some modern era dope who still thinks the earth is flat has begun to do by making steam-powered rockets so he can get high enough to prove the earth is flat. He’s a limousine driver by occupation, but has a knack for building rocket ships it seems. Such are the endeavors of fools.
He used to believe in a round earth until the Flat Earth society convinced him that modern knowledge is all a scam. Their belief system rests on the idea that the earth and all its continents rest on a flat disk of some sort. This requires them to ignore the satellites and technology that bounce and trade signals all around the world as well as all evidence from the space program including moon landings.
Never mind the fact that the human race has essentially left the moon behind, launching rockets with space equipment and cameras that have recorded the highly spherical shapes of Saturn and Neptune. The Cassini probe sent back this last photo before it plunged to the surface of Saturn.
One has to be a true mental bigot to ignore the immensity and clarity of such a photo. It clearly shows the spherical shape of Saturn surrounded by rings that are only now revealing their mysteries after years of study by the Cassini probe. A simple Google search turns up this fact: “Saturn averages 886 million miles (1.4 billion km) from the sun, nine and a half times Earth’s average distance.”
That is a long, long ways off. The place is not natively inhabitable for earthlings. Nor are any of the other planets, large or small, near or far, in our solar system. Most are either too hot or too cold to sustain human life, or any other for that matter.
So we’re stuck here on earth for the near future. It’s a mighty fine planet for us. Most of the earth’s surface is covered by water, which is salty. Human blood is about half as salty as the ocean. But it’s a safe statement to say that we are all living the Salt Life whether we lay claim to it or not.
You just feel closer to the salty water when you’re visiting down here in Florida. All along the Gulf Coast there are sandy beaches lined with tall hotels to give people quick access to the ocean waters in all seasons. The mindset of hanging by the ocean is not for everyone, but millions do love it.
There is even Salt Life gear that takes its name from our ocean affinities. But most people seem to prefer walking around in as little as they can. Even the fat guys with the big guts and deep tans wear their Salt Life shorts and hats proudly. This is not the land of apology. No Sir. People wear their fat with pride here on the Florida Coast. It’s almost a personal trademark like having a tattoo, sporting really large breasts or a bulge in the shorts. Millions of people each grabbing for the straw of individuality.
And mostly, life makes a big sucking sound at the other end of it.
I look in the reflection of the hotel windows as we walk past and all it does is make me realize that I’m just borrowing the salt of the ocean for a little while. Despite inane claims by biblical literalists that human beings once lived 900 years, the typical life span of a person is between 80-100 years. If you’re lucky.
I want to live that life as well as possible. And, to actually feel what it means to be alive, I run, ride and swim. Seems like those are tyings many of you like to do too, if you’re reading this. Never, ever apologize for that. Be sensible, and don’t literally kill yourself. But do take it to the edge now and then. Find out what it means to hurt a little. That’s a holy venture, I promise you. But also let it flow. Dream it. Live it.
And when you come back from a long workout and sweat streams down your face, take a lick of what comes out of your body. Check your shirt and shorts when they dry. They will be lined with salt sometimes. Because you’re the ones living the true salt life, wherever you are. There are plenty of places to do this all around the world. Because the world IS round, despite what the deniers, the mental bigots and the biblically distracted want us to believe.