Long Beach, Calif.
May 5, 2001
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I wonder if it isn't truly something chemical, something in ocean air.
You can work for months and years in a sober environment, paying down the mortgage,
investing in mutual funds, establishing a reliable reputation. Then you can spend one
day in the ocean air, barefoot all day long, on the sand, in the water. Maybe rent a kayak
for an hour and paddle around the canals of Naples. Walk barefoot down the sidewalk of
Belmont Shore in half-soaked clothes, sunburnt and leaving a trail of sand. Buy a 75-cent
cup of coffee and sit in a plastic chair on the sidewalk drinking it black out of a
styrofoam cup, reading a newspaper someone left behind. And you suddenly realize how
easy -- and how wonderful -- it would be to become a bum again.