We knew him only as Long John.
For years, he would be stationed by a boulder on Orient Beach in St. Martin, book in hand, available for everyone’s viewing pleasure.
Women looked at him in awe, and maybe a little fear.
Men looked at him in envy, and then, with even more envy.
He apparently made his living by letting gawkers pose for a picture with him. For a price.
Orient is a 1.3-mile stretch of clothing-optional Caribbean delight. There was an unwritten rule that cameras of any kind were verboten on the beach. (Except for John’s.)
But in the five years since I was last there, that has sadly changed. Last week, it seemed every third person had a camera or a smartphone in their hands. Orient Beach, which had been romanticized, has now been digitized.
And what of Long John?
My suspicion is, that with the onslaught of the digital age, his business simply shriveled up.