The beach vacation

Jan. 4, 2003, midnight | By Stephen Wertheim | 18 years ago

Stand-up comedy by Stephen Wertheim

Every year when I was young, my family would take the obligatory beach vacation. I remember the drive to the beach taking longer and longer as a result of my parents taking more and more stops to the bathroom. When we started, the drive took two hours. Six years later, same traffic, same car, same driver—five hours. I can explain this phenomenon with the simple rule: For every candle on the cake, that's one more bathroom break.

I do not feel safe at the beach. Don't trust the lifeguards. In a crisis, these are the last people who would provide any help.

I mean, do their job duties extend beyond blowing that stupid whistle? Each lifeguard has a half-mile of beach to cover, and for some reason they think making this random noise directed to nobody will communicate the message perfectly.

One person swims out too far, there's the whistle; everybody on the beach turns around. "Me? Me? Do you mean me? Is it me?"

The guy out too far is the only person not to turn around.

I am always afraid that I'll be in the water, ten miles out to sea, a shark attached to my leg. The lifeguard's up there on his stilt-chair, blowing that whistle:

"Hey, hey, come back here, get back here! You, you—not you—you,
no, no, you, you! You, fighting death in the red swimsuit! Fight off the shark and get back here! You get back now! Don't make me put down my whistle."

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Stephen Wertheim. Co-editor-in-chief Stephen Wertheim is deeply committed to reporting, even when it conflicts with such essential life activities as food consumption, sleep and viewership of Seinfeld reruns. In addition to getting carried away with writing and playing violin, Stephen thoroughly enjoys visiting and photographing spots around … More »

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