This was slightly less than voluntary, being Dean's summer office outing. (It really doesn't contribute to company morale if the boss skips out...) Nevertheless, we managed to have fun, since (a) it was an extremely well-organized expedition, and (b) it was only Sage's second trip to the beach in her (admittedly short) lifetime. So, among other activities, we made sandcastles on the shore and went scouting for marine life among the shallows.
Particularly prevalent in those clear waters were starfish; and I was showing Sage how to find them and pick them up when I delightedly spotted a specimen that was, instead of the usual five-pointed star shape, more like a ten-pointed asterisk. I plucked it up out of the surf... only to discover that it was not, in fact, a starfish, but rather, a pair of starfish busily engaged in creating baby starfish. (Which, to my credit, is exactly the way I explained it to my daughter.)
In the wake of this realization, a cursory survey of the surrounding waters revealed that it is, indeed, the Season of Nooky for lucky or presumably more attractive starfish; with a few less-popular individuals splayed out alone on the sand, perhaps waiting for the phone to ring. Among these solo acts was a singular, strange starfish that had apparently been born sans one arm, forming a cross or X shape rather than the standard star.
I plucked this one out of the shallows and presented it to Dean, Sage, and Sage's Uncle Ricky. "Look," I showed them. "This one is a mutant. It's abnormal."
"No," Ricky, who is gay, said with great aplomb. "It is not abnormal--it's special."
When I'm wrong, I'm really wrong.