A Good Chuckle

A Good Chuckle

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Night On The Boardwalk - A Week At The Beach Series

A trip to the beach is never complete without a night on the boardwalk. In our family, it is just about every night that we are on vacation. A long day on vacation typically involves roasting in the sun on the beach and in the water, then a disorganized retreat back to the house for a shower and dinner before we head out to the boardwalk.

Walking along the boards after sunset is a unique experience, even as compared to the very same boardwalk during the day. Though you can't see them, you can hear the ocean heave its waves onto the shore not far off in the night. The smell of salt water surfs the cool ocean breeze to your nostrils. Store fronts are all lit up and many different types of music can be heard as you pass by one store to the next. There is a lot of sensory stimulation for the kids - a wonderland of lights, music, and excitement.

As a parent, some of the pleasure in a night on the boardwalk is derived from the humorous observations one can make - the kind of humor that is totally lost on the kids. Seeing other parents with misery written all over their entire demeanor dragging screaming children away from an arcade. Or catching a glimpse of the exasperated adults who are trying desperately to negotiate the five dollar ice cream cones into their children's mouths and failing horribly, ice cream decorating unexpecting attire. And these are just the normal observations. If you are especially vigilant you can find some really absurd shit to laugh at.

So we're on the boardwalk, my girlfriend and I and all three of our kids (my youngest tucked into a stroller). "Hey, lets get some fries," I suggest. A day in the water always sets me up for a seek-and-destroy-the-junk-food appetite in the evening.

My kids get all giddy and start hopping up and down, "Oooh! French fries! French fries!"

We veer out of the naturally formed lane of pedestrian/stroller traffic and situate into the unnaturally long line for french fries. I squint my eyes, working them to the absolute brink of their functionality to see the menu from our position in line, approximately eight clicks off from the service counter. "Can you see the prices for anything?"

My girlfriend gets out her binoculars, "Not really. But they have crab fries!"

"Oh, nice!"

My daughter starts up immediately. "Ahhh! Crabs!" She sticks her arms up and clicks her fingers together as some mock pinchers with a pained look of unreasonable fear on her face. Not a day has gone by on this vacation without someone saying the word "crab" and my daughter losing her shit over it entirely.

A few days later we get to the service counter to place our order. "Hello, we'll take one bucket of french fries and two buckets of crab fries please."

The Eastern European teenager behind the counter smiles and nods at me, "Is that all?"

I affirm that it is and he sets out on his way to get my buckets of overpriced potatoes. Taking a deep breath, I smile at my kids who are standing in line patiently waiting for their fries.

As a parent of three, anytime I have all of my kids out in public I feel a heightened sense of awareness. If you have kids, then you know what I mean. You see everything all at once, everywhere. The years of telling your children that you have eyes in the back of your head actually becomes reality at some point and it is no more apparent to you than when you have your whole family out in a crowded public area. Sometimes I can see things BEFORE they happen.

And then there are some things that you could never have seen coming if you had all of your life to think on it.

A shriek of terror immediately attracts the attention of my entire clan as we grow old in line. A woman of girth whose existence looks to have originated before the second world war miscalculates a step and begins a slow, painful fall to the wooden planks we are all standing on. The sun rose and set again by the time she reached the end of her fall and we all stood there, slack-jawed, in complete shock and yet still suspicious of what just transpired. I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to appear from behind a trash can laughing at us.

When she eventually hit the ground, two things happened simultaneously: she dropped a bag that spilled fancy looking sea shells out on the boardwalk in front of my family and I and she unleashed flatulence at such a degree as may never have been executed before. If I could extract the memory of this sound from my mind, I would loop it on repeat every Halloween - a sound that seemed to have been the spawn of such auditory delicacies as when you try to extract your foot from mud and a zipper.

After testing the boardwalk to ensure structural integrity, I cautiously walked over to help her up and make sure she is okay. A couple of other people did as well (after recovering from the immediate shock of the travesty we all just were witnesses to). My kids see that I am helping this lady to her feet and they want to help her as well, so they start picking up all of her sea shells and putting them back in the bag from which they spilled.

My daughter is holding onto a sea shell she finds particularly beautiful. "Daddy, look at this shell! Isn't it pretty?"

The victim (or aggressor?) of the catastrophic fall/fart combination looks over at my daughter and says, "That is called a 'Hermit Crab' dear."

And at that very moment, the crab came out of his shell, sticking his weird extremities out onto my daughter's hand.


We'll be taking those fries "to-go". 

In The Woods Entertainment
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  1. How hard was it to keep your composure after hearing the "Fart Heard Round the World?"

    1. I did laugh lol, I felt like a terrible human because this old lady fell, but I definitely laughed out loud immediately.