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Wednesday, August 3, 2011



Every year I go on a solo vacation to the Jersey Shore. I am a creature of habit, and I always stay at the same hotel in the same town. 200 million years from now they will find my skeleton in a tar pit and they will be able to figure out what a creature of habit looked like, but they will not be able to figure out what I was doing in that tar pit of all places, when there are so many good bars around.

I take Friday off, hop in my car and get in line: The Garden State Parkway on Friday in the summer is basically just a queue for the beach parking lot, and it's a long one.When I got there it was almost 100 degrees- so hot that people didn't even want to go to the beach. They seemed genuinely bummed that there was no air conditioning. There was a lot of talk on the radio about hyperthermia, and heat indexes, and hydrating and real-feel temperature. The real-feel temperature on Friday was two thousand degrees. By the way according to the weatherman they took the temperature that day anally. Citizens were told to stay in their homes and try to do things that would make them feel cool, like piercing their tongues. Little children and old people were warned that even opening the window could cause instant death. I remember when I was little Mom would say it's hot out there, then kick us the hell out of the house without even any sunblock. I should have had the wherewithal to call Child Protective Services.

I enjoy body surfing, and at the jersey shore body surfing means that there is often an actual dead body next to you. Sometimes the beaches are closed due to the washing ashore of assorted medical waste, and if you go at the right time you can window-shop for organs that people have generously donated. Usually there is just a jelly-fish here and there, at least you hope that's what they were.

Anyway, I caught a wave and it was so strong it turned me over in a somersault, then it continued on to force me into a perfect double axel. Since it was underwater nobody noticed, but I stood up and did a bow anyway, until I realized that there was snot coming out of my nose and a crab hanging from my suit.

Incidentally, I was thinking of bringing a hermit crab back home as a gift for my cat Porkchop, but I wondered: by giving the hermit crab a home, wasn't I essentially putting it out of a job? I don’t think it would have forgiven me for it as long as it lived, or two days, whichever came first.

I like to hit the bars at night, and my favorite one is Bar A. It's a lot of hot Jersey chicks with thickets of hair and brightly colored nails, and since they all talk with their hands it looks like a laser light show at the planetarium. Listening to them is enervating but watching them is certainly a noble pastime, although if they see me looking they shoot me a look of piercing disdain as if I was carrying a dead opossum. I don't even notice it. The look, not the oppossum.

The guys there are well-muscled, especially in the head area. They still say things like "awesome" and "bro," and if you get to talking to them for any length of time you sense that you will be involved in a tasing sooner rather than later.

Saturday I am back at the beach. I have my sun-shelter, my umbrella, my cooler, my knapsack, my beach chair, my towel selection, my radio, my crossword puzzle, my book. I'm sure I'm leaving something out. After everything is set up and in order, I pretty much go right to sleep until I wake up at about six, freezing my ass off.

Incidentally, I did not see any lionfish, but they are apparently taking over the entire Eastern Seaboard. The lionfish has no natural enemies because it couldn't be more polite, and also because its spines are venomous. But it will eat anything that swims in front of it- the opening of its mouth creates a vacuum, which is more than I can say for our vacuum. I can vouch for this because I have one in my fish tank; its name is Fluffy, because it's cute for a poisonous animal. Scientists have gotten together with ecologists, marine biologists and chefs, and have decided to eat them. If you remove the poisonous appendages, the lionfish can be a tasty treat. If you do not, don't bother to leave a tip. My only concern is, what if we give the lionfish the same idea? Man has no natural enemies either, except for some women. The lionfish does not even need to remove any nasty spines, either. Just some food for thought, or vice-versa.

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