Beaches: Making Me Cry Almost as Much as the Movie

With the end of the term in sight and final exams looming ahead, most of you would probably prefer minimal distraction so that you may earnestly concentrate on the task at hand and get through next week quickly and painlessly. So, let's think about all the fun things that can start just as soon as you get through it all.

Along with most, summer means just one thing to me: the beach. If you live in the Pennsylvania or New Jersey area, you most likely attend a shore on the Atlantic Ocean. You have my sympathy. As a lifetime Pennsylvania resident, I am well aware of the less-than-tropical conditions waiting at the Jersey shore.

Chances are that if you go to an Atlantic Ocean beach, you spend your time in Ocean City, NJ or Wildwood, NJ. For some time now, Ocean City has been gaining a reputation for its receding beach line, which is currently in such a state that upon arriving, you reach the water before the boardwalk.

Wildwood, on the other hand, involves an approximately 2.5 mile trek through sand at near lava temperatures before the water can be seen on the horizon. Good luck if you forget something because half of your day is already wasted on travel time between your parking spot and whatever plot of sand your body collapses on from dehydration. Now that's a vacation.

The other notable feature of the Jersey shore is the water itself. My instincts tell me that the greenish brown color you see in the water is not entirely nature's work. My experience from chemistry class has taught me that mixing salt with water generally yields a clear liquid, albeit a bit cloudy. What makes the dark, pungent goo we swim in for recreation is unbeknownst to me. That's probably for the best.

Now, the fun in any trip to the beach is not found only in the seashell and cigarette butt littered sand or in the rancid water, but also in the variety of characters you may encounter. One group at the shore that continues to amaze me is the poor, pathetic bastards who attempt to ride the high waves. I'm sorry, but if you live on the East Coast, what you're doing cannot be considered surfing. Somebody has to tell these people that it isn't surfing if the wave is below your waist. Hey, way to 'hang two' there, mate.

I realize that I may sound like a beach snob who looks down on anyone who doesn't summer on the West Coast or on their own tropical island in the Caribbean. The truth is, I've never been to any place like that. I've only seen pictures, but even postcard views of these places make me scornful of the Jersey shore. Also, I do believe that I have seen enough episodes of Baywatch to qualify for an honorary degree in marine biology and therefore I am justified in my cynical criticism.

Now, I would like to think that every human body is a beautiful work of art and each person has the right to express his or her body in any way they choose. I would like to, but I would be totally wrong. My experience has taught me that this type of thinking is foolish and will cause quite a bit more pain than pleasure.

One problem is that there is a misconception that the presence of warm weather gives everyone in the world a right to shed any and all layers of clothes. For example, it seems that the only people wearing those skin tight Speedo bathing suits are those who should be legally restricted from doing so. This also includes, but is not limited to, those who suffer from pimple outbreaks on their backs, or the condition I refer to as bacne. Hey, buddy. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean I have to. Keep it covered.

One reason a lot of people look forward to the summer sun is in the hope of securing the perfect tan. Not that a little thing like winter stops others from having a surprisingly strong color year round. It's true that some people do look better with even the slightest change in color after an August week at the shore. It's the bright orange glow in the middle of January that I neither find attractive, nor expect to be very healthy.

For any of you fake tanners out there, here's a cheap way to get that artificial look year round: try standing in front of your microwave with the door open for about 3 hours. Turn over and repeat. It will save you hundreds and make you the talk of your town, for the rest of your short life. I will say that tans can look good on select people, specifically those with the natural ability to tan. If the sun generally leaves you looking like a tomato, that's just nature's way of telling you to put it back on, Albino boy.

Another great thing about the beach is the food. For example, I love funnel cake. I don't really have anything amusing to say about the treat I so affectionately refer to as "Braided Heaven." I was just thinking about how good it tastes and thought that I would mention it.

Just imagine all the fun that awaits you as soon as you get through those exams. You had better get back to your studying because the sooner you do, the sooner you can start planning your very own exciting shore adventure. If you do make it down to the beach, keep a look out because that is where you'll find me. I'll be the one sporting a pair of sweats over my searing sunburns as I bodysurf my way to summer fun on a pink Styrofoam boogie board. Oh those summer days.

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