Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," a house of hilarity for nearly, almost, shortly, getting there -- ten years! I'm Anne Johnson, that's really my name, and here's a wild and wonderful "Gods Are Bored" story, fresh off just happening.
I couldn't sleep last night, so I got up at 4:30 a.m. to go see King Neptune in His briny deep.
From where I live, at 4:30 in the morning, you can cruise on down to the edge of the continent in about an hour. It was my intention to be on the beach, searching for beach glass, at "can see," which right now is about 5:50 a.m.
When I got to the sea glass beach, it was barely, barely light enough to see. All the casinos were still lit up (and empty, for all I know). When I pulled into a dead end street to park, there was a big rig cab with a dude inside. He was just staring out at the water.
This made me a little nervous, but I've always had a lot of luck being alone places with strange dudes. This time was no exception.
I got on the beach, paid respect to King Neptune and Queen Oshun, and I tucked into hauling in some sea glass.
It pays to be the first one there, because it's pretty much a candy shop after an overnight high tide. I'd never gotten so much glass so quickly. And after a few minutes, I saw the trucker dude, standing on the beach.
When I got a little closer to him, we struck up a conversation. He'd never been to Atlantic City before and was interested in its history. He knew a lot already and was a big fan of "Boardwalk Empire."
When daylight truly emerged and I got closer to where he was standing, I found that he was chock-a-block with Pagan bling: pentagram and Celtic knot rings, Green Man on a cord around his neck.
I said, "Whoa, you are my kinda guy." And then it was like we were long lost pals.
He was from Kentucky. He had never heard of sea glass before. He said he was a Shaman, and that his wife was into minerals and Tarot cards. I didn't press him about what kind of Shaman he was. I figure ... and I know I'm in the minority here ... if you go to the trouble to call yourself a Shaman, well then, by golly you are one.
I gave the Shaman a nice piece of sea glass to take home and wrap. Then he started looking for sea glass too. (I must warn you, this is an addiction that can happen very quickly. DO NOT START.)
We were chatting about the bootleggers who off-loaded their cargo in the area of Atlantic City where we were. I said, "Yeah, they used marbles as ballast in their ships, and finding them all washed by the sea is a real treat. They're very rare."
He looked down at his feet and said, "Here's one." And handed me a marble.
I've been going to AC for four years now, and I have found two marbles. Well, I found three, but King Neptune wanted to keep the third. It had been a long, long time since I found a marble, and I never, ever found one on that stretch of beach before! And this Shaman had never heard of sea glass, and the moment he heard of it, he found a rare piece!
Readers, the Shaman and I had the beach to ourselves for about 20 minutes. That's all. By 6:30, full daylight, hordes with rakes descended and started beach-combing like fiends. You snooze, you lose.
The Shaman asked me for suggestions as to where he should spend the rest of his day. He certainly wasn't keen on casinos, but he wanted to walk the boards in an "artsy" place, maybe with a few ink parlors. I directed him to Asbury Park.
We said our "Merry meets" and parted paths. I went to another section of beach and combed some more, very profitably, but (predictably) no marbles.
When I returned to the main sea glass beach, the truck was gone. I hope the Shaman found his way to Asbury Park. For my money (and it ain't cheap), Asbury Park is the best boardwalk in New Jersey. Anything beats Atlantic City.
So, who establishes the criteria for "Shaman?" I know you can read a load of books and study up on ancient Celtic lore, and all that. But at the end of the day, the title is nebulous. To my way of thinking, though, the performance of minor miracles most definitely gets you the Shaman badge. For a guy who had never been to AC before, had never even seen sea glass before, to just reach down and find a marble, well. I'll sign off on him.
Okay, okay, do you want to see? This was my best day ever ... even better than the day I found my own marbles!
I found two pieces of red (one is magenta!), a huge chunk of yellow, lavender, a nugget of cobalt, and lots of really pretty, well-rounded nuggets. And someone, I think a Shaman, gave me a marble!