Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Metal Men

I once spent a week alone at a resort in Maui. The reason I was there is a topic for a future article, but for now lets say I was on a fact finding mission. Though I had several day trips to see this and that and see people I needed to speak with, but I found that I ended up on the beach every evening with a tall drink that always included pineapple.

Yes, I found time to do some snorkeling and diving and a lot of fine dining, but those evenings on the beach were most remarkable. However even more remarkable were the mornings on the beach. I would be out there at dawn with a large cup of coffee taking in the morning air. The morning air on a Hawaiian beach is probably the best air I’ve even been in.

Just before sun rise every morning the quiet beach would be invaded by several men with metal detectors. There were five of them. They never spoke to one another and they each seemed to have their own turf. Always looking down with their detectors sweeping right to left to right like a human pendulums.

As I watched every morning four of them seemed to do rather well, stopping and scooping and putting some sorts of objects in their pockets, but one of them rarely ever found anything. I wondered if his turf was bad or if he had a metal detector that wasn’t finding things for him. One morning I got out before they arrived and I put a nickel under a couple inches of sand to see if he would find it, he did.

The next morning I put out more coins in his turf. He found them all. Every morning for the rest of the week I laced his turf with my pocket change. On my final evening I took all the rest of the coins I had and composed a note that said, “Dear Metal Man, I hope you’ve enjoyed finding the coins I’ve left for you this week, but I am leaving today and you are on your own.” I folded the note, inserted the coins and buried it in the sand. I had a flight to catch and I checked out of the resort before the metal men arrived.

It is now 20 years later and I wonder if the metal man was amused.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, who knows....? My kids had a toy metal detector and would have loved to have someone bury coins for them to find. A grown man though? Probably felt a little daft.

I am a morning person and finding myself on a beach at sunrise with a hot drink is the best. When we lived in NC we would go to the beach every spring and each morning I would be the frst one up to see the sunrise over the Atlantic.


6:39 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Trish, when you and your husband retire, and when you get sick of seeing him, you will buy him a metal detector just to get him out of the house. To make sure he continues you will plant some things for him to find. Sound about right?

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA! Forget retirement, I'm going out to get one right now.

Did I just say that out loud? No, he's a nice guy...really. It's just there are times, there are times.....

10:15 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Who knows, he may find something shinny for you.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I love this story. And 20 years later, I'm betting "metal man" still remembers.
You're an old softie! (Well, maybe not so old...)

11:27 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

There is some of that Zen kicking in. Let me interpret:

The lonely soal seeks a morsel of lost pityful treasure. He works in deliberate isolation, hungry for the smallest of momentary reward.
Will the heart on the hill, with royal steps, place the treasure that is never to be found?

Who feels joy? The one liberating lost treasure, or one planting it, satisfied that it was found?

11:30 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I'm 51 Beth...your call ; )

Gearhead (Grasshopper) you are correct, that was a story from Zen and the Art of Holding Nothing Sacred. Maybe I will publish it some day if the Zen thing ever comes around again.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

Zen? Zen?? You have got to be kidding. More like the King of Pranksters with the note being the punchline. I am in awe and thankful that I live 5000 miles away...unlike Gearhead.

Good one Guy - right up there with the fake moon landing and the weapons of mass destruction.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

My call? I'm calling 51 young.

And now I'm wondering - if this was one of your Zen stories from your even more youthful age of 23, is it fiction? Was I "taken in," fooled?

Ah, but if it's Zen (and all that) guess it doesn't matter whether it's fact or fiction. It's all about the message and the learning...

8:32 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I so want one of those cool things!

See, what you did there was one of those random acts of kindness.

12:34 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Moose, Zen-prankster, all the same thing. You should meet Gearhead's uncle.

Beth, yes it was in the Zen book, but it was also a true story. I don't put fiction on the blog, though I am going to eventually start another blog just for my fiction.

Mo3, maybe I shouldn't tell you about the show Gold Fever on the Outdoor Channel...oops, I think I just did ; )

5:57 AM  

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