I hope that none of you believed even for a minute that I was going to let a new summer at the beach kick off without my commentary on its’ early stages. Just a few weeks into the new season and already we’ve been inundated with more than our fair share of memorable human gems. I’d be remiss not to regale you with tales of my early observations and interactions with them in the formative days of the summer of 2014. Regardless of the caliber of our early season visitors, it’s already starting off better than last year if for no other reason than the lack of malicious intervention from Mother Nature. You may recall that in 2013, we had no spring. It rained for 4 months, and then it was mid July. We collectively had about 6 weeks to make our nut, and basically just wrote it off as a bad year. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having 4 kids it’s that you have to feed them every single day. So I really need this to be a good year. I for one am thrilled that Ma Nature finally set down the pipe and took a step back. After putting us through one of the more bizarre winters that most of us can ever remember, she seems to have smiled on us through these first few weeks. If any of you happen to see me walking around in the coming weeks with a snow shovel, it’s not because I caught wind of some fluke weather anomaly heading our way. I’m not privy to some secret source of climatic prognostication that the rest of you are not. It’s simply because back in February I made myself a promise that I was going to bludgeon the first person who complained about how hot it is here.

Traditionally we view Memorial Day Weekend as the official start to summer, but to me it actually kind of kicked off the weekend before. At the very least it served as a dress rehearsal. That weekend was the perfect storm…the stellar triumvirate of annoying prissy bachelorette parties, large groups of middle aged male golfers, and of course, the cruisers. Each member of these respective groups believes they are completely unique, however this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even the nominally trained eye can spot them all from a mile away. If you’ve been doing this for as long as I have, you can go so far as to predict where they are from, what they will order to eat and drink, how much they will tip, and where the conversation is heading. I’m not patting myself on the back, and it’s neither an impressive, nor enviable talent.

I’ve written entire articles about each of these groups in their own right, so I won’t belabor you with an afternoon of redundancy. You’ll just have to go back and read some of my older stuff. I will however briefly summarize each of these groups to explain how they are a necessary evil, but not necessarily revered by those who make this their full-time residence. It’s a catch-22 that resort residents encounter each year.

First come the bachelorettes, and despite their thinking, there’s really not much diversity here. They are generally groups of 10 to 18 girls, with all but the bride dressed very similarly. Sometimes it’s all of them in little black dresses, (though there are always 1 or 2 in the group that shouldn’t use the word little to describe anything of theirs), while the plunger wears a little white dress. Sometimes they’re in the custom-made matching tee-shirts describing each of their roles in the coming ceremony. The bride almost always has a sash, and or tiara, and some sort of phallus hanging around her neck. They usually have a checklist with them, either a scavenger hunt, a task list for the bride to be, or all the bars they are supposed to attend. The evening’s outings begin with coming to where I work for dinner. They each get separate checks, order the most complicated drinks, the cheapest items on the food menu, and for the most part, tip horribly. Before the night is over, at least one of them will be in tears, at least one will vomit, at least one will embark on an ill advised and regrettable hook up with a stranger, and one will not stop texting her psycho, jealous idiot boyfriend the entire night. I’m not saying that every single one is exactly like this, but for the most part they’re all pretty similar and predictable.

The hoards of golfers from the northeastern corner of the U.S. come in like they’re invading with vengeance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the golfers and the town desperately needs them, but they’re pretty predictable as well. They’re groups of anywhere from 10 to 50 guys ranging in age from mid-30’s to early 70s, often with that whole range in the same group. They come in with silly, less than attractive accents and seemingly unable to control the tone, volume and inflection of their own voices. They immediately abandon any use of grammar, proper English, and manners. They also seem to forget that they are now in another state, roughly seven hours from home as they demand to have their favorite sports team on the TVs behind the bar. At least one will inevitably ask the questions; “where is the closest strip club?”, and “where are all the girls at?” (Please take note that ending the last sentence with ‘at’ was a quote, not something that you will ever in a million years hear or read coming from me.) Sometimes they tip well, other times its crap. It all depends upon who the treasurer of the group is, or what chosen method of payment they employ. If they use the ‘P.A. Pile, the Jersey Jumble, or the Bronx Bump’, don’t expect much of a gratuity. These are all names that I came up with to describe the same process but with regional identifiers. This is the process by which all of the guys in the group toss money in a heaping pile on the bar when they arrive so as not to start a check. I then rapid fire drinks at them until the pile is nearly gone. When it gets down to the point that there is not ample currency for another round, they leave and tell me to keep what’s left. This is the point that it gets really insulting. Not so much because of the lousy tip, but because they seem to think that due to my chosen field, I’m too stupid to realize that I just served $400 worth of booze, and came away with $12 for myself.

I’ll wrap up this week with the odd ritual that no matter how many times I witness it first hand, I’ll never be able to wrap my head around. This of course is cruiser weekend. It brings tens of thousands of people to town yet only run down motels and gas stations make any money from them. I will now put it in perspective for you. If you come to the beach for the week, or a long weekend and you only pack; 2 outdoor chairs, 2 blankets, a Styrofoam cooler full of beer that you bought at home because it is cheaper, a video camera, and a tripod, you are not exactly stimulating the local economy. If you spend at least 12 hours out of each day that you are in town just sitting on the side of Coastal Highway filming other people’s vehicles and entering the local businesses only to use the restroom, forgive me if I don’t seem very welcoming. I’ve already given friends and loved ones carte blanche to put me down if they ever hear of me planning my vacation around such an event.

I hope you understand that I take jabs at these groups with tongue in cheek. I simply poke fun at the stereotypes that so many can readily relate to. I intend no offense to anyone, and I do appreciate each of these groups for choosing Ocean City. Some of you just make it too easy for me to write about. Truth be told, if I hit the Megamillions tomorrow for an obscene amount, some of my first purchases would be new golf clubs, a ’68 GTO, and a long overdue honeymoon for my lovely bride and I. Enjoy the iron, and thanks for playing along.

Until next week, Syd Nichols