The Memorial Day weekend is approaching us and you know what that means. It means they need to come up with a way to make the Tuesday after Memorial Day a holiday, too. Write your Congressman today, unless he’s being indicted for hiring call girls, tax evasion or not recycling.
It also means that if you live in an area where people come to visit for the summer, it’s time to put on your smiley faces. As a lifelong resident of the Jersey shore, I know the pain and anguish that many of you fellow residents are going through now that the unofficial beginning of summer is here. I’m talking about the dreaded “Attack of the Killer Tourists.”
Take heed. It is up to all of us to keep our senses keen, our eyes sharply peeled and our patience numbed by some controlled dangerous substance, in order to deal with the wrath of this unpredictable visitor.
Now, in defense of the tourist, it should be noted that without them, our economy would suffer and many store owners would be left with a gigantic inventory of animals made out of seashells, tons of salt water taffy made during the Mesozoic era and mountains of “I’m With Stupid” tee shirts.
That is why I’m not dedicating this column to disparage these fun seekers, but to inform the local residents of how to identify and avoid any unwilling contact with them. Here are a few scenarios that will hopefully help you reach a reasonable conclusion, should there be any doubt, that you have encountered one of these out-of-towners.
1. You’re driving down the Garden State Parkway (or highway near your area) Southbound, when, in the fast lane, you spot a station wagon, or SUV, crammed with beach chairs, picnic baskets, colorful beach balls, sixty or seventy screaming kids (all wearing Goofy sunglasses) and a woman with a road map, blowing in the wind, yelling at her husband, who is driving, that they just passed the exit they wanted. Warning: Pull over to the side of the road immediately. This guy will probably be crossing three lanes of traffic, in one fell swoop, and attempt to back up on the shoulder, striking several trees and an exit sign, because he can’t see out the back window, thanks to Little Alice smearing a Hershey bar all over it. What should you do? Let him do his thing until he is out of sight and then proceed with caution.
2. You are taking a leisurely walk on the boardwalk and you are approached by a middle-aged man. Be careful. Ask yourself the following questions: Is his pot belly sticking out over his neon-plaid Bermuda shorts? Is his pink pique knit shirt stained with chocolate chip mint ice cream? Has his sunburned skin started peeling like an old house? Then you are in the presence of one of them! He may ask you a question like: “Which way to the miniature golf course?” or, “Where can I redeem these valuable arcade coupons?” Your best course of action here is to become one of them. Speak in a loud obnoxious tone and explain that you and Betty and the kids just hit town and that you yourself were just trying to find the “Guess Your Weight and Age” stand.
3. Once again, you are taking a leisurely stroll and you notice someone with a digital camera trying to take a picture of seagull droppings. Casually change your course of direction, before they snag you into taking a picture of them standing next to the sea gull droppings.
These are just a few of the scenarios you may find yourself up against. You may find it necessary to improvise on your own. Just remember, the laugh is on them, because, after all, they do spend nine months out of the year dumping their garbage into our waters and then they spend the other three months, here, swimming in it.
Just one other note: Remember, when you go on vacation to Florida, or the Bahamas, or Hawaii, or wherever, you are the tourist there. So, you will be expected to act accordingly. That means, wear the brightest clothes you can find; when driving, have no sense of direction and drive with your right blinker on at all times and always, yes always, take up two parking spaces.