My Top Jersey Shore Pet Peeves

Do not feed the seagulls.

We will be told ad nauseam that this weekend is the “unofficial” start of summer. I don’t care what Cecily Tynan says, summer starts officially for most of us this weekend at different times, in different ways and in places. For some, summer starts with the first smell of salt air; others need to see Lucy the Elephant, and others wait to feel sand in their feet or the ice-cold water of the Atlantic Ocean.

There is magic in the summer air down the Shore. But it is a magic spell that can be snapped in an instant by a beach goon, a species of beach dweller that is easily recognizable. I am not talking about the women who are much too big for their string bikinis and look like an egg with two rubber bands—or the men who have so much hair and body fat, the Speedo becomes non-existent, giving off the uneasy possibility of nudity.

No, both looks are perfectly acceptable down the Shore. That is the great thing about New Jersey beaches. It doesn’t matter how bad you think you look, you fit in. God bless those unusual body types and their healthy self-image. If they bother you, that’s your problem, not theirs.

I am more concerned with the people who invade your space with their utter lack of beach etiquette. I will list but three examples of beach goons. Feel free to continue the list in the comments.

The Seagull Whisperer: It must be the feeling of power this goon gets as he tosses his leftover fries in the air to a swarm of birds that hover in front of him and over your spot on the beach. In the city, this would be comparable to someone attracting a gathering of rats with the promise of peanut butter pellets, only the rats don’t poop on your head. When you feel the urge to call in the beaked bombers, know that everyone on the beach will wish they had some sort of pellet gun. Not to shoot the birds, but to shoot you Dick Cheney style.

Gunga Din: This is the person who carries way too much food and drink to their non-contributing, beached family, dripping pizza cheese and melted ice cream as they maneuver around the tanning bodies. I don’t blame Gunga completely; he or she is probably a middle child looking for praise. But they will not get it from me after dripping cherry snow cone juice on my back causing me to think I have a nasty rash when I see it later in the mirror.

Practice Squad: These are the boys and girls of all ages who have not done anything athletic since last summer, but insist they are athletes because they brought a Frisbee or a football. Did we not learn anything from the Brady Bunch? Inevitably you are going to break Marcia’s nose. Or worse, you’re going to hit a Merlino.