“I’m from where the beef is inevitable, Summertime’s unforgettable…”
Jay-Z “Where I’m From”
I have lived in Newark DE, Blacksburg VA, Raleigh NC and traveled extensively throughout the United States, but when I say “I’m going home” everybody knows I’m going to my parent’s house in Toms River, NJ and I’m probably stopping at Naples Pizza on the way! That being said, I am a “Down The Shore Guy” I grew up about a mile from the ocean, been to more teen nights then I can count and ran along the surf Rocky III-style (however, I have never finished this workout by hugging Apollo Creed). Much like Jay-Z, I’m from where “Summertime’s unforgettable”, the rest of the year is not that hot, you can only go to TGI Fridays’ so many nights in a row, but summer is special, summer is when even the biggest clown in Ocean County can put on his best terry-cloth pants, Air Force Ones and wife-beater and party at the Surf Club like there is no tomorrow, summer is when you can buy a vanilla-orange swirl cone on every other block and summer is when people roam the streets in swimming attire regardless of how physically repulsive they may be.
A good summer is like one continuous night out, and when autumn comes all you remember is a blur of hot songs, crazy nights and days at the beach, and here is how a truly great summer breaks down:’
St. Patrick’s Day: This is one Saturday in March when everybody takes a break from the monotony of winter and goes down the shore for one day of fun…Irish style. This “warning shot” is like the email you get at work on a Friday afternoon that lets you know the plan for the night and stokes your anticipation for what’s to come as you sit in your office and pray that 5:00 comes quickly and painlessly.
This email usually looks something like this:
“Yo! Blah blah blah…pre-game at my house, blah, blah, blah…DJ Kirk Lopez, blah blah, blah…free before 11, blah, blah, blah…parent’s out of town, blah, blah, blah…Let’s get it on!”
Memorial Day: This is when it really gets started, this is the official kick off of summer and when people really get their groove on. Memorial Day is like that feeling of pre-gaming at your friend’s house, riding to the club and waiting in line to get in the club stretched out over 3 full days. This weekend doesn’t even have to be that great, the weather might suck, your friends may ditch you at a rest stop, you might even impregnate a woman you hate, but the feeling of anticipation about the rest of the summer will make everything OK. Much like the early hours of a night out and professional baseball prospects, Memorial Day is all about up-side and potential. The night/summer is young and anything can happen.
Weekends in June: These early summer weekends are like going to the bar, but being there just a little too early for the real shenanigans. You and your crew can have a great time sitting at the bar, throwing back a few Harvey Wallbangers and reminiscing about old times, but the real chaos has not started yet: the headlining DJ is still setting up, nobody has thrown up on their shoes and the carload of girls you invited when you were stuck in Parkway traffic has not shown up yet.
4th of July: Independence Day Weekend is when the summer is at a fever pitch, this is like the point in the night (usually between midnight and closing time) when the place is so off the hook that you know it can’t get any better, the music is hot, drinks are flowing, people are sweating and there is no place else you would rather be.
Labor Day: This weekend is a 3 day version of the lights coming on at the end of the night. It is the last chance to handle any unfinished business, get numbers, find out about late night hotel parties and make stupid plans to keep in touch over the winter, which will end by Columbus Day. While this is a sad time, it provides one last chance to “Blow it Out” before the summer or night is really over.
Mardi Gras and Clown Fest: These two last ditch efforts to keep Seaside alive during the fall are like your two roommates that refuse to go to sleep when you all get back to the apartment after a long night out. You are trying to tell them you are going to sleep because you have to get up early and drive to your grandmother’s house but they are rummaging through the house looking for any kind of alcohol they can get their hands on to keep the night going. They are pretty good guys, but sometimes they have trouble letting it go.