What is the Rockaway Beach Big Dig, you ask? Well, to put it simply, every summer the men who were once boys who once rode beach cruisers with no hands (a slice in one hand and an orange soda in the other, of course) walk the beach blocks from their homes carrying gloves and shovels to band together with might and brawn and… dig a big hole. It starts simply enough, a few shovelfuls, maybe enough depth to bury someone… but by mid-day, fueled by many shave ices and the salty, sandy toil of men, women, and children, the hole is higher than a man’s head, with steps and shelves and maybe a WBFP. It’s such a simple set of pleasures, old friends come from far distances, mothers prepare the same foods they prepared last year (and every year before that), and from the absence that is the hole, the presence of something pretty American takes shape. Something majestically futile, perhaps, or something joyous simply for the sake of joy. Of course, at the end of the day, we fill it back in.