Odd Thoughts: New twist phoned in to old tale

An old man was walking along the beach, enjoying the mid-morning sunshine as the tide slowly receded.

The sun reflecting off the sand and rocks beneath his feet was already raising a film of sweat on his brow.

Today was going to be a scorcher.

A little way ahead, a boy was throwing things into the water.

As he got closer, he noticed it was starfish – the boy was throwing starfish into the water.

“Why are you doing that?” asked the man.

“I’m saving the starfish,” said the boy. “It’s going to be an unusually low tide, and the sun is going to be particularly hot.”

“There’s thousands of them,” said the old man. “You can’t save ’em all.”

“No,” said the boy, as he flipped another starfish as far as he could into the receding waters, “but at least I saved that one.”

The old man smiled and continued down the beach.

And this is where the old story changes into a new reality.

The old man hesitated, looked back at the boy, and pulled out his cellphone.

He punched in a number: “Hi, Martha. Grab Harry and the kids and come on down to the beach. It’s going to be an unusually low tide and a particularly hot day, and there are thousands of starfish that will die unless we help them.”

He bent down, picked up a starfish, and tossed it into the waves.

“Hurry,” he added.

Soon he was joined by Martha and Harry and his two grandchildren, Molly and Ralphie, and they were all tossing dozens and dozens of starfish into the water.

A thought occurred to Harry. He pulled out his smart phone, took a picture of some of the starfish stranded on the beach and posted it on Facebook with a note: “It’s going to be an unusually low tide today, and the sun is particularly hot. These starfish need saving!”

Immediately, his Facebook friends “liked” his post and added encouraging comments.

Some shared his post with their friends.

Molly smiled, “That’s a great idea, Dad, and you should tweet that post, too.”

More people started showing up on the beach, tossing starfish into the receding tide.

Several of the newcomers pulled out their smart phones and took pictures, posting them to Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites.

A few shot bits of video and added it to the mix. Almost immediately, the Starfish Project became a big hit on YouTube.

Before long, there were thousands of people on the beach, throwing starfish into the waters ahead of the ebbing tide.

The atmosphere was festive – some street performers had even come down, and there was singing and dancing and jugglers and a guy who evoked much laughter by following people around, exactly mimicking the way each was throwing starfish into the water.

And then all the starfish were saved.

And all the people started to leave, until the boy was all alone on the beach once again.

The boy looked around at the shellfish and baby crabs that had been crushed by the starfish saviours’ feet.

He looked at the broken bottles and the plastic wrappings and the beer cans they had left behind.

Then he spotted a sand dollar that somehow hadn’t been broken by the thousands of feet that had pounded the beach in search of starfish to save.

He picked it up and gently placed it into the now-incoming tide.

“Well, at least I saved that one,” he said.

Just Posted

Crime Briefs: Police seek suspects in thefts of perfume, groceries, blue jeans

Langley police are asking for the public’s help to identify suspects.

Langley curling couple bound for provincials in Creston

Craig and Karen Lepine are skipping their own teams in the upcoming BC masters curling competition.

Coach’s Corner: Team gave big effort in tough games

Vancouver Giants head coach Jason McKee talks about injuries, goaltending, and penalty killing.

Painful Truth: Season of ice, season of puddles

Waiting for good cycling weather is a long process in a cold winter.

Our View: B.C. budget biggest shakeup in housing for years

The broad scope of the budget’s measures are likely to have an effect.

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

5 to start your day

A B.C. teacher suspended for using the N-word, icy roads snarl traffic and more

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Tired of ‘big city life’? One-stoplight town hosts contest to lure in city slickers

Contest by BC Rural Centre hopes to attract city folks to a small town in the Kootenays

Student protest outside White House a snapshot of American gun debate

Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Canada’s Boutin wins silver in women’s 1,000 short track

Women’s 1,000-metre short-track speedskater Kim Boutin wins silver the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday

Ry Cooder coming to Vancouver Island MusicFest

American music icon to play in Comox Valley July 14

Team USA beats Canada 3-2 on the shootout to take home Olympic gold

Americans win their first gold medal since 1998

Most Read