Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where The Aurora Rises Behind Us

If there is a more entertaining yet terrifying laboratory in which to examine countless varieties of human beings than a boardwalk on the Jersey Shore on a summer's Saturday evening, then someone please enlighten me. For my money, it has no peer.

Yesterday after I wrapped up the day's mortgage-paying activities at the office, the Missus and me headed down the Shore. We spent the afternoon just hanging out in 'Squan with Gidg and Chris. He and I compared water skiing war wounds from a week ago. We both agreed that the torn muscles or ruptured blood vessels that has made the upper part of my left leg more closely resemble something Alice would have bought at Sam's as dinner for the Bradys than a human being's appendage was enough for me to be declared the winner. The full dimensions of the prize package have yet to be decided upon but as long as there is a jumbo-sized bottle of Advil, all is right with the world.

After dinner the four of us drove to Point Pleasant to spend a bit of time "on the boards". Truth be told we did it for my benefit. My inner six-year-old has - for more years than I care to admit - absolutely loved playing "Frog Bog" and we trekked to the Point Pleasant boardwalk so that I could play it. For the unitiated, Frog Bog is a boardwalk game that truly tests one's reflexes, hand-eye coordination, ability to reason and nerves to a degree that lesser pursuits such as tightrope walking and piloting a fighter jet in a combat situation only can hope to achieve. One must be certain that one's frog is properly positioned on its launch pad, that the launcher is properly aimed and that a reasonable target has been selected prior to swinging the rubber mallet that sends your frog airborne towards its target: a moving lilypad. It is not a game for the weak of heart, my friends, I assure you.

Last night the gods of Frog Bog smiled down upon us. I dropped one squarely into a lilypad and won Margaret a stuffed animal. When one makes but one trek a year to the mountaintop to test one's marksmanship in this most difficult of shooting galleries, the satisfaction of "bagging" one is significant. Once we scratched my Frog Bog itch with my once-a-year visit to the Bog, the four of us all tuned in our inner six-year-old. We spent the next hour or so people-watching, eating ice cream (or in Chris's case a watermelon Italian ice that was the size of his head......and was a 'small'!) and riding the rides.

We were fortunate to get Margaret onto the bumper cars. The minimum height requirement is 52". My wife is but 57" tall. And I was impressed to see that the kid in charge of the ride enforced the height restriction, which on a hot Saturday night in July in the face of sobbing little kids and their severely pissed off parents took more courage than his minimum wage plus a nickel salary is paying him to display. The four of us had fun on the bumper cars although I found myself wishing that the track had been "old school" - with the median in it and traffic required to go one way around it. This one is shorter than I remember them being and had no divider. A lot of cars ended up spending a lot of time trying to get far enough away from another car that they could actually bump somebody.

After we banged into one another on the bumper cars, the four of us jammed ourselves into a single car on the Tilt-A-Whirl. I am hard pressed to think of when the last time is that I laughed as loud or as long as I did while our car was whirling us around. The looks on the faces of the parents who were waiting next to the ride for either their kids to complete it or - perhaps - for our ride to end so that their child could go as a car with four adults in it went spinning past them with its occupants laughing our fool heads off was, by itself, worth the six ticket per rider cost of the ride.

All in all, a fun way to wrap up what was a terrific day. Now for me this boardwalk life is through.......

......until next year anyway.


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