“Don’t Jump!” And Other Beach Bum Gems

Beach Basketball

“They say everything looks cooler in slow motion. This may be true, except when slow motion is the actual default speed.”

Beach Bum Gems – that’s what I call them. Bite-sized nuggets of unsolicited opinion and wisdom. Often laced with humor, containing elements of truth, randomly offered and received at perfect moments in time.

Very possibly I could write a book filled with such jewels overheard throughout the years, typically after the donor has consumed a few inhibition-relaxing libations.

One of my favorite Beach Bum Gems was offered in South Florida (beach bum haven) quite a few years back. At the time, not quite having accepted being at the tail end of an already questionable athletic prime, I was playing a game of pick-up basketball on Fort Lauderdale beach.

Nothing too intense. More trotting than running. More passing than shooting. With an occasional jaunt into the paint in search of a rebound. They say everything looks cooler in slow motion. This may be true, except when slow motion is the actual default speed.

Anyway, we’d been playing for maybe 20-30 minutes…long enough to break a solid sweat, which doesn’t take long under the hot southern sun. While jogging down the court near the sideline I heard someone beside the court trying to get my attention.

“Pssst!  Hey, buddy.  Pssst!”

Instinctively I glanced in the direction of the caller.

Sitting on the waist-high concrete wall dividing the sand from the boardwalk was an older gentleman, probably in his mid-sixties. His tanned skin looked like leather. Watching the game, the expression on his weathered visage was amusing. We’ve all seen this guy – the one who spends way too much time in the sun day-after-day.

I recall thinking him odd, and the game was still in motion, so initially I ignored him. But during the next break in play curiosity got the best of me. I’ve always enjoyed random conversations, so I walked in this gentleman’s direction to see what he wanted.

As I approached, this beachgoer rather loudly asked a simple and solitary question.

“Hey man, wanna know the secret to not getting hurt when you get older?”

A slightly disillusioned piece of me, hanging on to youth, wondered why he would choose to ask me such a question. My sane and logical self knew the answer. Slow motion.

“Sure”, I laughed, “What’s the key to not getting hurt when you get older?”

“Don’t jump!” he responded. You’re jumping too much.” 

Beach bum gem!

We shared a good laugh along with a few other people close by. It turned out this guy was a retired small business owner and he actually had sound logic behind his humorous quip.

Like me, during his working prime, his livelihood was linked directly to his ability to show up to work every day and provide the necessary services for his clients. No work, no pay. No pay, no play. Any injury resulting in days, or weeks, away from work would be like taking food from the family plate.

Over the many years since receiving this whimsical advice, it has probably saved me from a few injuries. So, in a larger sense, this piece of beach bum advice probably saved me several thousand dollars in lost work production. I exercise to stay in shape, not win an NBA championship!

I shared this story with one of my older patients recently, and he offered a similar gem. When I shared the punchline of “Don’t Jump!” he offered, “It’s not jumping that’s the problem…it’s having to come down.”

Amen to that!

Of no particular topic, and in no particular order, here are a few more favorite Beach Bum Gems that have stuck with me over the years. What are some of your favorite one-liner gems?

  • On the other hand, there are simply different fingers.
  • Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.
  • (To a balding guy from Moorehead, Minnesota) “You’re from Moorehead? Looks like you have more head and less hair!
  • Why are you planning to be spontaneous?
  • If you want to borrow $50 start out asking for $500.
  • If the vase you’re making in art class looks more like a bowl, then make it a bowl.
  • If everything seems to be coming at you full blast, you may be in the wrong lane going the wrong direction.
  • A good and clear conscience is probably a sign of a bad memory.
  • Always take full responsibility, unless it’s somebody else’s fault.
  • Be at one with your duality.
  • It’s impossible to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.
  • You’ll never hate yourself if you sleep until noon!
  • Just when you seem to be holding all the right cards, the game will inevitably be chess.
  • Some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.
  • Don’t take life so serious. Nobody gets out alive.
  • There is no right way to do the wrong thing.
  • Three words sum up all my experience in life, “It goes on.”

Beach Bum Gems…we never know where the next piece of meaningful, or uselessly entertaining, bit of advice will come from. Keep your eyes and ears open for the gems!

Thank you for reading…wishing wellness and empowerment your way,

Dr. J


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