It may seem like no-brainer to wander the streets and the alleys, boardwalks and beaches of our fair community and not get killed. But to the trained eye of a person who is familiar with the pitfalls of a tourist town this simple list of rules may come in handy, not only for the already cautious, but also for the tragically clueless.
We residents of Marina Del Rey take the obvious for granted, but we are surrounded not only by the newly arriving neighbors (who seem to pop up in ever increasing numbers each year), but also seasonal and weekend visitors who, whether they know it or not, are walking tombstones just waiting for a grave.
Here are eight simple rules to keep your body from assuming room temperature.
1. Beware The Surf. Beware The Docks.
The Pacific Ocean contains more dead bodies than can possibly be recorded by mere numbers. Many of those bodies come to pass by people not respecting the surf. So many of us marvel at a big swell and suddenly get the urge to move into those hypnotizing walls of heavy water and foam and forget all about physics and gravity. So many times have I heard people down by the beach screaming that the must “Go Buy A Surf Board” and get out in those tasty waves RIGHT NOW! This would be a grave mistake. Even expert surfers and swimmers avoid this kind of stormy shore break for they know what most don’t: you can’t surf that kind of wave. It will pick you up and grind you into the sand and your body will never be discovered.
This goes double for swimming in the waters around the Marina. There are boats of all sizes there, boats with engines that drive sharp metal propellers. These sharp metal propellers can cut one’s flesh into a chum-like substance that will attract all manner of sea creatures that will swim in and eat you. So Stay out of The Marina waters.
2. The Pier Is Not For Diving. Neither Are The Docks.
That nice long pier at the end of Washington Boulevard is a great place to take a hand in hand strolls with your sweetie, and it’s a nice place to fish from. The wind whips your hair and you can watch the surfers from a safe, dry vantage point and the sunsets are beautiful. Sure, Michael Douglas was killed by Robert Duval on this pier in the movie “Falling Down”, but that was when it has a snack stand on the end in the 90’s. But people really do die from this pier. How many times have I heard a drunken wandering soul exclaim out loud that they were going to do a swan dive off the pier only to be dragged down of the railing by friends and Good Samaritans? Seems like it happened twice a wee. Those support pillars don’t go straight down. They angle outwards, and if you hit one you are dead. It’s easy to drown when you have a broken neck. The tides might get you too. One minute you are flailing in the water trying to reach the beach, the next you are rammed up against a barnacle covered pier post and washed out to be eaten by mermaids.
Same thing with the waters around the docks. There are hazards under the surface that date back to the Second World War. One bump on the head and the Mermaids will come and drag you off to meet Neptune and his Trident.
3. Don’t Pet The Dogs.
If a heavy-set bald guy with wrap around sunglasses and neck-to-toe tattoos walks by with a panting dog wearing a spiked collar on a chrome chain…DON’T REACH DOWN AND PET IT. There is a good chance you will lose your arm. These are what I call “Gangster Hounds” and they are trained to fight. Even if you get away with all ten fingers, there is a distinct possibility the owner and all his friends will activate your dental plan, or worse, shoot you in the face in order to get you out of the gene pool. Pet the dogs out in front of the coffee shops and cafes; ones whose owners don’t look like they are trying to get respect from a prison gang.
4. Stay Out Of The Street.
I myself have almost met my doom at least a dozen times over the years by skating down Washington Boulevard or Admiralty Way. People who are cruising the streets of our community are not looking for pedestrians, skaters or bicyclists. “Johnny Crotch Rocket” is looking at babes when he rolls back the throttle on that 1000cc rice burner and has no idea you are kicking your way down to Hinanos to get a burger and beer. Same thing with the faux gangs of Weekend Warrior Harley Riders. The Dentist from Sherman Oaks is trying to keep up with the other guys from the club as they rumble down the street looking for parking. He has only had this Beastly Hog for a month and still doesn’t know how it works. He will hardly feel you as your torso smack off the front forks of his bike and ricochets into the sushi restaurant wall. Cars drag race and don’t watch out. The other people, either on foot, on boards or on bikes are taking in the sights. They never expect that anyone else might be using the same stretch of asphalt too. Easy to die in the streets of MDR, so stay out of them.
5. Don’t Lecture The Homeless.
I hate to say it, but our many homeless “Color” can sometimes be dangerous. Hobo Bob the panhandler is not the same guy as the Charlie Manson clone who just got out of a ten-year stretch in Obispo. Neither of them likes to be told to “Go Get A Job” or to be lectured on the merits of welfare reform. However, Hobo Bob, our local panhandler and artistic eccentric, will just ignore you when you start scolding him about being homeless and unemployed. The Manson Clone, on the other hand, will gut you with whatever sharpened piece of metal that he happens to have close by. Be nice to our homeless, even if they annoy you. It might save your life one day.
6. Be Cognizant Of The Colors Red And Blue.
Crips and Bloods no longer run the streets of Venice and surrounding neighborhoods like they once used to, but they still make it down our way every once in a while. When someone asks you where you are from, make sure you are not wearing a gang color. If you are, RUN!
7. Don’t Go Swimming Dressed As A Harbor Seal.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but it would be a very bad idea to go into the water dressed as a Harbor Seal. They are the favorite food of White Sharks and Mermaids, and there have been rumors of mobs of fur traders in from Canada wandering the beaches with clubs looking for an easy paycheck. So whatever you do, don’t out swimming dressed as a Harbor Seal. Not matter how cute you think you look, just don’t do it.
8. Don’t Eat The Free Skittles.
When a stranger comes up to you and offers you “Free Skittles” run and tell a grown-up. These are most likely not candy treats from a well meaning, yet madly, maniacally grinning friend, they are most likely deadly makeshift designer drugs meant to drive you insane and drive you into a costume shop looking for a Harbor Seal costume. Don’t eat the Skittles. Just Say No.
Follow these eight simple rules and you just might avoid dying in Marina Del Rey.
By the way, if you are an especially friendly female college student who happens to have a form-fitting Harbor Seal outfit and some skittles, please feel free to contact the author via his email address.