You know, Spring Break really has not changed much since I was in college. With a few minor differences, my Spring Break is pretty much the same as when I was tearing it up on South Padre Island (insert increasingly large number) of years ago. You can see, not much has changed.
1. I am still dealing with hangovers. Granted, it used to be because I had spent the night dancing with a $5 fifth of vodka that came in a plastic bottle, but I have to tell you, my current hangover caused by a lethal combination of Peeps and Cadbury Eggs is no joke.
2. Sunrises. I still see them. Of course, I used to see the sun come up as I tried to figure out where my hotel was and how I was going to get back there. This morning’s sunrise was brought to me by James bounding down the stairs and turning on Phineas and Ferb at an unreasonable volume. Same thing.
3. Bracelets. The Spring Break Badge of honor. The plastic bling that shows just how many clubs or bars you could get into. The goal was to have your wrists look like a neon version of Mr. T. I still got it. My boys and I are currently sporting bands from Chuck E. Cheese, Jungle Joe’s and various other hot spots. I pity the fool who could not get into Sky-Zone.
4. Fake IDs. You always let your friends with the fakes try to get by the bouncers first. That way if/when they got busted, you had not already paid the cover charge and have to choose being being cheap or abandoning them. Spring Break still involves lying about age. Hey, your kid who looks like he missed a shave is not 12 years old or under. Quit lying and pay the adult price for the buffet. Quit posing for the MTV cameras that are probably in here somewhere.
5. Diet. Upon arriving at Spring Break I bought a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly, two boxes of Frosted Flakes, a gallon of milk and seven boxes of Mac ‘N Cheese. With very few exceptions, that sustained me. I am solo with the boys today. Not going to lie. Their menu looks a lot like my Spring Break menu. I almost feel guilty about exposing them to such hedonism at such a young age. Maybe we will hit Sam’s Club and cruise for free samples.
6. Free T-Shirts. Tons of booths giving away free shirts and crap if you sign up for credit cards or enlist or something. The problem was, they would quiz you on the information you provided. Being 21, I did not need 40 credit cards and let’s be honest, I was usually drunk and not really clear on what I was signing up for. But I really, really, really wanted T-Shirts, so there was a system. Give your first name. Give the last name of whichever friend was currently standing to your right. Add one to each number from your address, phone number or whatever else they wanted. Hometown was Detroit. Mother’s maiden name = my dog’s name. My dresser was loaded with thread-bare, poorly made T-Shirts with cheap Spring Break graphics. Today, I can not decide if Ben needs to wear his free T-Shirt from the library, summer camp, zoo program, or soccer camp. It is all the same. Spring Break skills put to practical applications. Mad Skillz.
7. Over-crowded car battles over the radio. Five people crammed into a beat-up station wagon for a sixteen hour drive. The battle for control over the radio was live watching wolves battle over a carcass on the Discovery Channel. Brownie, I swear I am going to throw you out of this car if I have to listen to “Cotton-Eye Joe” one more time. I do not care where he came from or where did he go. Turn it off. No change. My pimped-out mini-van is busting at the seams with 10-12 year old boys demanding the same song over and over again. Hey, I like Imagine Dragons, but we need a break. If I have to listen to your crew sing about being radioactive one more time, I just may go nuclear.
8. A commitment to physical fitness. I continue to run with my eye on a late May marathon. When Spring Break was looming, my friends and I went on a pretty strict six month weight lifting program in a desperate attempt to not look pathetic when we hit the beach. We were disciplined, but I am not going to lie. The last time I was on a weight bench was the day before we piled into the car.
9. Finally, the one constant thread that binds a 21-year-old frat rat’s Spring Breaks with the Spring Break of a 41-year-old father of two is that I always imagined it would be easier to get lucky during Spring Break. Just saying.