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GULLIBLE’S TRAVELS: Carolina Beach gets smart on sand

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Satire brought to you by the fine mind of Kellyanne Conway’s dog.

June 2, 2020

“When the going gets tough, the tough get smart!” That was Carolina Beach Mayor Fred Bloggins’ response to the recent bad news on beach renourishment. “No one can say we didn’t see it coming. I guess the third big bailout for Wall Street hedge-fund managers was nail in the piñata. There’s just no money left for people with fewer than two yachts.”

Still, last month’s announcement that the Army Corps of Engineers would no longer perform routine beach renourishment hit beach-front property owners hard. It was no surprise that last night’s city council chambers were standing-room only. The city engineer presented some comparable sea wall situations and then, after a description  of the combination of state regulations and sobering cost estimates, there wasn’t much interest in that possibility. But city officials came well-prepared with their own plan designed to make up for loss of future federally funded projects.

Starting July 1 no one will be allowed to cross the Snow’s Cut bridge southbound without dropping 10 pounds of sand into the new tollbooths currently being built. Heavy vehicles will pay an extra 10 pounds for every extra axle. Parking meters will be replaced by ones that accept payments in sand. Two pounds per hour is the proposed rate.

“And don’t try to get away with dumping gravel or old bricks,” warned the mayor. “Your sand has to go through a pretty fine screen. We don’t care where you get the sand. Lowe’s sells 25-pound bags. The soil in any damn blueberry field along I-40 looks pretty much like beach to me. Grab some while you’ve stopped to take a piss. Lake Waccamaw is a couple minutes off Highway 74 or maybe a brief stop at Wrightsville Beach before you come here for some real fun.”

City Manager Joe Snodgrass, whose department first suggested the idea, presented some statistics. “15,000 cars in one summer weekend is not unusual,” he pointed out. “That translates to 75 tons of sand. We can expect an additional 50 tons from parking.”   

The mayor then returned to the microphone. “A lot of tourist destinations operate with several currencies,” he explained.  “In Cancun or Belize, every business accepts American, Canadian and local cash. Frankly, we think we can turn sand into Carolina Beach’s second currency. Restaurant customers may be encouraged to tip their waiters with sand. Those businesses will, in turn, be allowed to use it to pay part of their tax bill. Sunday morning might see churches passing the collection plate and an empty sandbag. Add some Eagle Scout projects, and we should be able to keep up with Mother Nature.”

Laura Nowblard, head of the tourist board, stepped up to the microphone to present some graphics for the upcoming ad campaign. They showed family cars full of happy people, rear axles sagging under open trunks, overflowing with sand,  heading off for a great weekend on Pleasure Island. “C’mon Down With Yer Tail A Draggin” was the slogan.

After the meeting, there were some unhappy conversations in the lobby. Although all attendees realized there weren’t any good options, some people were skeptical of this one. “I can see tipping the bartender with a doubled Lowe’s shopping bag of the stuff,” said a man who preferred not to give his name. “But how do you tip the lap dancer in a strip club? Do you just pull back her G-string and shovel a couple scoops into her private parts?”   

“It’s damn stupidity,” said a man wearing a MAGA hat. “Any fool politician can see that you just tell people they can’t leave the island without taking 5 gallons of seawater with them. Stands to reason you can solve the problem two ways: raise the land or lower the ocean.”

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