Thursday, April 19, 2018

Seal Fur Mustaches

Seal fur mustaches are not some hipster fad or to the best of my knowledge an actual product (at least let's hope not), but instead it's the title of a regrettable, traumatizing yet hilarious true event that took place 20-ish years ago to myself and my sister, Katie.


Nearly all of our childhood summers were spent in Huntington Beach, California where my family would ride a fleet of beach cruisers to the waves. This is where we got unbelievably tanned by the sun and consumed our favorite food, Zack's Strips, by the boat full. I was probably ten and Katie, eight and on this particular day we had borrowed my grandpa's beach shovel and were busy digging as deep of a trench as we could. We strategically mapped out where to dig so it would be perfectly situated where the tide could just barely reach the rim, so with every wave the cool ocean water slowly began filling it. I really don't know what the point of this was seeing how we could have just gone into the ocean, but maybe a sandy hot-but-not-really-hot tub was what we were after? Who knows. Anyway, on this day the ocean was churning out all sorts of interesting plant life. Huge bundles of kelp were floating in and with it this tan velvety seaweed. Our makeshift "hot tub" became our storing place for all the kelp heaps and interesting seaweed specimens along with a handful of sand crabs and assorted seashells. Upon further examination we discovered that the tan velvety seaweed was extremely soft and it stuck to our wet skin just like a window cling. It started out with sticking the seaweed to our hands, then feet and legs, then we started sticking them on all over our stomaches and back trying to achieve Sasquatch status. Anyone who knows me and my sister, knows we tend to take things just a hair* too far, so it wasn't long until the seaweed made its way to our upper lips and eyebrows where we talked in our most haughty gentleman voices and raising our impressively masculine brows a la Clark Gable "And you, Miss, are no lady." After a few hours, our mom called us in for another sunscreen bath and as we stood there getting our shoulders rubbed with the white goop, eyes to the waves, we spotted something alarming. It was a body. A bloated body rolling in with the surf. Our first reaction was to run towards it- to save it maybe? When we got about 20 feet away we realized it wasn't a human, but a massive dead seal. So we turned around and ran for the shore. After a few minutes of watching the the lifeless creature slowly roll through the waves and onto the sand, Katie and I began to inspect its bloated carcass. No bite marks, nothing alarming, except interestingly enough it was balding... molting? Its fur peeling off its decaying flesh. Massive bald spots with what little tan fur that was left hanging off of it. It took a couple minutes, but then like a ton of bricks, we were hit with the very unsettling realization that the "seaweed" we had been playing around with for hours and putting on our faces (!!) was not in fact seaweed, but patches of fur from a dead rotten seal. My skin began to crawl and I itched my arms, wishing I could've scraped my skin off. Katie ran for some water that had no evidence of seal fur (NESF) and began "washing" herself off. Then after a few dry heaves and maybe some disgusted tears, we refused to touch the water the remainder of the day. We sat in the sand, unable to eat anything (even strips proved to be unappetizing when you've been clad in freshly peeled fur from a not so fresh seal). So we sat the rest of the day waiting to get back to the house to take ten (thousand) scalding hot showers.

We were back at the beach the next day and luckily the seal had been disposed of and the water and beach area were clear of "tan velvety seaweed". We played in the water and swam like nothing traumatizing had happened, but I don't think we ever trusted seaweed again... at least not enough to put on our faces.

*or should I say fur? hahaha

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