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The Free Coconuts

On my walk down the beach last week I noticed a small number of coconuts, about seven, lying right on the edge of the sea. They were chopped off at one end with a small whole, so it was obvious that someone had enjoyed their sweet, refreshing water. However I wondered who would be so inconsiderate that he would enjoy something and leave the trash right there.

The following day, my rhetorical question was answered. Around the same spot there were four guys in pleasant conversation that sounded more like an argument, and obviously under the influence of alcohol…could not have been under the influence of coconuts. I noticed several chopped off coconuts on the ground nearby and I stopped and observed.

“Good morning, Mr. Nuñez,” said the happiest one in the group. His eyes were rather small and closed, but his smile was rather huge, from ear to ear.

“Good morning, I see you are having a happy time enjoying the sun and the fresh morning Island breeze,” I smiled in response. “Delicious coconuts,” I added.

“Is it legal for us to sit here and drink the coconuts?” one of the happy men asked.

“Well, you are sitting on a private property, and there are guests nearby, so this does not look too good,” I suggested.

“I was telling them,” they all responded simultaneously pointing fingers at one another.

“You know guys, 25 years ago, it was okay to sit anywhere along the beach and drink. There is a law that allows 66 feet of beach area for public use, but 25 years ago there were no resorts on the beach so you did not disturb anyone,” I added.

“I was telling them,” they all responded together one more time pointing fingers at one another simultaneously.

Now that we were on the topic and I was given the floor to speak, I continued.

“Twenty five years ago, you could pull down coconuts to quench your thirst on this 66 feet of beach line public access. But you were required to throw away or dispose of your trash. Also back then, the beach properties were not resorts, but owned by some people in the City and who exported coconuts. One or two coconuts pulled from their property did not affect them back then, but today the coconuts are grown as a tourist attraction.”

“I was telling them,” they all shouted at the same time and pointing fingers at one another simultaneously for the third time. One of them was eating soda crackers with potted meat and had potted meat all over his face.

Boy, was I glad that my happy friends understood this insight on ethics, common decency and consideration.

I surely did not want to make them angry – four men looking for a shady area and some fresh water to gulp down their morning breakfast – rum and coconut water. So I continued my exercise walk enjoying the beach and still thinking of how different it was twenty five years ago.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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