Through similarly constructed and always seemingly serving as a burrow for drug addicts and the mentally ill, all boardwalks are not the same. Some resemble Atlantic City, crawling with geriatrics compulsively gambling and bachelorette parties for second and third marriages. Others are more like Seaside Heights and littered with belligerent twenty-something girls sobbing and fist-fighting. Today, though, I’m on a family vacation, likely in Orlando or one of the Ocean Citys, soaking up the sun, flaunting my functional alcoholism, and tolerating countless uncomfortable photo opportunities.
It’s not even noon, yet the family’s been drinking and threatening each other over a game of Monopoly for hours already. Tired of the screaming, I succumb to my lust for salt-water taffy and being publically intoxicated and slip my tallboy into a paper bag to head for the boardwalk. Yet, before I even reach the end of the street, a mob of sticky, street urchin children (1) swarm past me, nearly spilling my beverage.
The six or seven kids are like a Sandlot or Goonies crew, except far filthier, uglier, and with more rat-like facial features. Their mouths are all covered in dirt and popsicle aftermath; it’s as if they’d been fighting stray dogs or scouring dumpsters for said summer treats. With adult supervision notably absent, either hypothesis seems possible. I consider stopping them from venturing into the aforementioned under-the-boardwalk empire of homeless people and despair, but I do nothing. I figure everyone has to grow up and look directly into the face of unadulterated sadness sooner or later.
Stepping up the planked ramp, I notice two love-struck teens (2) hanging over the handrail. They’re giddy, shameless, and seem to share a penchant for friction. Both even have the same dopey, optimistic gleam in their eyes, truly believing that a long-distance relationship across several states can be built on nothing more than a week of sun, kettle corn, and over-the-bathing-suit handjibbers.
I take down more of my beer and walk faster, revolted and eager to distance myself from the couple’s public display of dry humping. Finally, I’ve reached the actual boardwalk. Even with families screaming at each other left and right, it only take me a minute to locate Unashamed And Unbridled Obesity (3); he’s naturally alone and unapologetically gorging on a funnel-cake sundae. Instantly, I’m as engaged in this beached whale as he is in the life-shortening caloric hurricane he’s jamming into his craw, ever vigilant to keep his chewing to a minimum.
With rivers of chocolate syrup and ice cream trickling down his face and onto his ample bosom, Fat Man punctuates his gluttony by slowly waddling towards the water to wash off. Color me impressed. I consider applauding such commitment to hedonism, but I’m worried he might interpret my cheers as derisive.
Sadly, with beverage is waning, I know it’s time find more. I’m feeling stuck. I don’t recognize anything as a liquor store and I appear to be surrounded by nothing except cotton candy, miniature golf, and shops full of unoriginal t-shirts. Then it hits me. I don’t need to find alcohol; I just need to find someone on their way to buy alcohol. I scan the boardwalk and find my mark. Overwhelmed Father (4) has a pack of children toddling around of him as he tries to keep up, all-too anxious for them to go to bed in eight hours. The kids have him outnumbered; his eyes, flush with exhaustion and regret, longingly gaze down the boardwalk. I brandish my near-empty tallboy and, too tired for words other than “no,” “stop it,” and “shut up now,” he points me down a side street.
Godspeed, Sir, my booze-tooth is calling and I have absolutely no interest in assisting with your abhorrent situation. Here’s to hoping you find the energy to climb on top of that wife of yours later and rattle that dick around in her while your children sleep on an air mattress four feet away. Just, you know, try to not forget to pull out this time.
[Image via ShutterStock]