Take Your Sign And Shove It

Suffolk County Department of Health Services wants swimming banned on Shelter Island in order to enforce a sanitation code, i.e., don’t pee in the pool. The County wants all swimming banned and signs put up, except at the two beaches where there might be a lifeguard on duty occasionally. Thank God Councilman Peter Reich and the Town Council are fighting this thing.

This is a 28-square mile island. No traffic lights, no street lights except on the main road. If you live on the Island, you love the water, otherwise, what’s the point of being surrounded by it? Under the new ban, grandmas can’t take the kids down to the water’s edge for an hour of splashing and shell hunting—because they might pee in the water? Are you kidding me? What do you think the fish are doing? They’re peeing, pooping and making new fish. Fish die in the water and rot. It’s the high salt and iodine content that keeps the water clean. To imagine that Islanders could pollute the Atlantic that swirls around us is absurd.

I think Shelter Island should apply for independent statehood, if Hawaii can, why not us? I lived in Hawaii and you can walk around the whole Island because no one is allowed to own land down to the waterline. Ten feet above the high tide mark to the water’s edge is always public domain. And everyone swims anywhere, whenever they want.

I think Islanders should engage in civil disobedience on this one. Disfigure every No Swimming sign the County orders up. I can’t stand the thought that the corrupt Suffolk County Legislature is targeting an island and telling its residents they can’t swim where they have been swimming all their lives. Talk about your bureaucratic b.s….when are they going to realize, Shelter Island isn’t Long Island.

We’ll need some T-shirts for this battle.

“Eat, Play, Swim”

“Wading for Mr. Sandbar”

“I’m Swimming, Arrest Me”

“Wades Wading Team”

“Shell Beach Secret Swim Team”

County representatives will be monitoring Shelter Island through the summer to insure compliance. We have to submit to security checks at airports, bus stations and other forms of public conveyance—maybe we should have ferry security ask for ID from every driver and “what is their purpose in using the ferry?” if they are not local people. That way, if one of the County inspectors happens to be on the boat, a welcome can be arranged for him. Maybe a nice tar and feathering from everyone on the beach.

Maybe the No Swimming sign could be put in his car, albeit through the windshield, to take back to the County offices. And maybe the residents could give him a nice send-off at the ferry dock, minus the ferry.

Well, it’s the thought that counts.

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