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The beach is a simple place where people go to relax, escape their obligations and have painful, gritty sex under the boardwalk. But bathers are often unprepared for how crowded the beach can be.

Consider the typical beachgoer, whom we'll call "Bill" because his real name is too ethnic. Bill packs his automobile full of supplies and drives to the shore, where he discovers that the lines are too long! In sight of his goal, Bill watches as government officials begin rationing off the sea. Sadly, there is not enough ocean left for him, and a chance for a wonderful memory instead becomes:

On a good day, the zombies preoccupy the sharks

Our friend Bill went home unbeachified because he hadn't planned accordingly. Don't let this happen to you. Use the easy guide below to get the most out of your trip to the shore. Whether you're a veteran beach dude or a lousy tourist, you will learn how to maximize third-quarter fun revenues and reallocate blue-chip pleasures to key happiness areas. By the time you've squeezed the last drop of joy from your experience, it will make you sick to even look at a beach!

NOTE: Bill later killed himself.


What IS the beach exactly? Geographers would have us believe it's any place where a body of water meets the land in an even fashion. Nice try, geographers ... or should I call you science-warlocks? Your hocus-pocus can never pin down the true spirit of the beach. It belongs to a class of undefinable mysteries like true love, the Holy Spirit and where Missouri is.

Wikipedia wants to go to there
The beach is like ... inside all of us, man

The term "beach" comes from the Swedish word "boorkeldumpf," which means "A place where fish pee and it is very cold." If you ever meet a Swedish model, you can use this trivia to impress her with your knowledge of her people, but you will probably never meet a Swedess, unless you go to the really good parties.

Beaches have been used by human beings for dozens upon dozens of years...as far back as the 3rd century, when Roman emperor Balbinus Baggum Hobbicta declared that the ocean was no longer allowed to crash into rocky cliffs. The sea rebelled, but was quickly put down by the Roman Aqua Legion, who stabbed it with sword and spear until ocean yielded to man's will. Hundreds of beaches were created by this brutal method of conquest. Ironically, Italians are no longer allowed at many of the beaches their ancestors forged because Italy's coastline is overrun with private resorts owned by Visigoths.

What Kind of Beach Am I On?

There are seven kinds of beach. (One contains buried treasure! Can you guess which?)

Public beach: This is where you go to step in goose poop and see fat people wearing gold. Expect at least one sleazy teenager taking pictures of girls barely into high school. The great thing about public beaches is that every few seconds you can buy a cold drink to relax and take your mind off of the endless parade of vendors bellowing in your ear about cold drinks.

Private beach: Old people go here to enjoy the view without ever taking a swim.

Yacht club: If your beach gear includes full-length trousers, you are doing it wrong, and no advice can save you, people I grew up with in Connecticut.

But Wikipedia knows that's really New Jersey
Wheee. Look at how much fun we're having?

Yacht clubs are mostly excuses for upper-middle-class types to swig Heineken together in the evening. By day, they stay inside and chart courses or repair the boat. If you do the math, most people's yearly maintenance and storage on a boat costs them about $550 for every time they actually take it out for a sail. That said, you can have the beach to yourself here, since everyone's busy trying to figure out how a tiller works.

Wikipedia keeps changing its mind
For the complete experience, imagine one speaker wearing a Mount Gay cap and the other in a Black Dog T-shirt

Crappy beach: Instead of sand, it has stones. The water's always cold, and the glory hole in the bathroom is almost never manned.

Paradise: A tropical beach where you can drink without leaving your seat, because if you did, the equatorial sun would explode you.

The good beach: This is usually a public beach so remote that the crowds and vendors don't bother with it. The snobs don't like it because anyone can go there. So it's pretty aces.

Symbolic beach: Poets tell us the beach is a metaphor for the unremembered depths of the human journey. But have you considered that it's also a metaphor for sex? Most things are, you know. Especially if your sex life is cold and gray and contains crabs.

Mostly the sea represents the thrilling unpredictability of life itself: the limitless horizon! The chance to make your own path in any direction and die there! To seek your fortune, and watch it be swept away by an unfeeling tide! These are the thrilling dooms promised us by the bounding main! Join us, won't you?

... No? Quite sensible of you, that.

Answer to Puzzler: Every beach has treasure! It was in your heart all along -- for you see, you learned that happy memories are the true wealth.

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Tips for a Fun Summer

To ensure a fun, safe summer, stick to the three Rs: rye whiskey, rampage, Redondo Beach jail. Yeesh, those are some lousy Rs. Let's come up with some better ones.

Wikipedia didn't even try to stop this kid from leaping into his doom

The most important thing is to avoid sunburn: With thy golden arrow, take aim and strike Helios from his chariot! Ha ha ha! Now YOU are the Sun God, Apollo!

If you miss with your arrow, or just don't feel like committing solicide, it's important to protect yourself from the sun, who will surely counterattack. Buy plenty of sunscreen, suntan lotion, sun oil, sunblock, motor oil, salad dressing, lard from a morose pig and the sweat of an Italian.

Mix ingredients in a portable blender for 34 to 57 minutes. When you're done, slather yourself with the gunk to protect yourself from the sun. It will begin to harden in minutes, and you will make lots of money as one of those living statue "performance" artists whose parents are ashamed of them.

You people are the worst. And by "you people" I mean anyone whose skin color is "precious mineral"

Now try to pick up your earnings. Surprise! You can't move! I tricked you. Yours will be a slow death, you uncreative panhandler. You can only watch, helpless, as a guy with a metal detector strolls by and swipes your money. Speaking of which -- if you're looking for a surfside hobby, a metal detector is a great way to turn a day at the beach into a day at work, while making up to $17 a day!

Anyway, for those of you with the decency to not become performance artists, make sure you apply sunscreen in hard-to-reach places, like an attractive woman. Even if you yourself are an attractive woman, find another one, and take turns running your soft, lotion-covered fingers over each other's supple skin. Film it. Now monetize that on the Internet. You just made a million bucks.

Getty knows that's hot
This was my best moneymaking idea since The "American Flag & Jesus" Snuggie

Getty doesn't respect. Getty REBELS!

Slathering a bi-curious coed in creamy sunblock is a considerate act that makes the beach a better place for everybody. Let's think of more ways we can help others enjoy the scene. For example, is your last name Brody? Move to a landlocked state, or great white sharks will attack your fellow beachgoers in a series of increasingly bad movies.

The beach belongs to us all, and we must maintain it for each other. If you're a major corporation enjoying a day on the water, remember that other megaconglomerates need to overfish this bay, too. Only take just enough too much to leave plenty barely any left for your fellow eco-plunderers.

Sadly, not all corporations or bathers will be thoughtful. Don't tolerate their inconsiderate behavior. If a bully kicks sand in your face, gamble a stamp and order Charles Atlas' FREE book! It won't take long to see results, and then you can return confidently to the beach, where the bully's making time with your girl. WHAM! Now it's HIS turn to dry up and blow away! Sucker punch the bully's teeth down his throat. You'll be the hero of the beach, and hardly get arrested at all. Bonus: your faithless girlfriend will return when your violence proves it can move mountains or brutalize a human being. We call that love on this patch of sand, baby.

Charles Atlas Ltd. Inspires us all
Mac really came off as the aggressor in the end there

Finally, a word about alcohol: Drinking at the beach is fine, but know your limits. Switch to a lighter pure grain if you've punched more than three children or police officers.

Wikipedia sheds an iron-eyed tear for the environment

Did you know that turtles often choke on plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish? If you see a bag blowing around, pick it up, and write "SO SORRY TURTLES NOT FOOD!!" on it. Our shelly friends will read the warning and avoid a deadly mistake. Don't fret if they ignore your words and die anyway. It is nature's way of dealing with turtle depression. Turtles are very long-lived, and must endure the cruel joke called life for sometimes hundreds of years. If you come across a turtle nest, stomp all the eggs before they hatch and spare them the agonies of existence. STOMP STOMP STOMPITY STOMP.

Good job! You care for nature enough to do the hard thing. Now if only there were some way to end our own pain!

Taking It to the X-Treme!

For some people, an idle pleasure like destroying nascent turtles isn't enough. These people crave the "totally tubular" or "gnarly rad" rush of activities that can kill, or even embarrass, their daredevils. Here are some invigorating beach activities for you young people who consider yourselves "adventureteers."

Jet ski: An excellent way to get a pretty gal to wrap her arms around you, which is excitement enough for one day!

Parasailing: Most of the excitement is in that first second when you wonder if you're going to get dragged on your face across half a mile of water.

Snorkeling/Scuba diving: You know why Aquaman is lame? Because he's the only hero whose powers we can imitate. That said, this is a really fun way to enjoy the diversity of nature. Coral reefs are like the ocean's Tumblr feed: Every time you think you've seen everything, up pop another 10 beauties you never could have imagined.

Surfboard: This has a motor somewhere, right? No? Wow! To think that we live in an age when even a plank of wood can run on solar power.

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Even Getty paused to ogle this one
Here, enjoy some bikini girls before things go dark again

Many people's happiest memories are of playing at the beach as a child. If you didn't have the experience, it's not too late! Many children would happily describe their fun day to you for a price as low as a candy bar. Simply walk up to any parent at the beach and ask where you can find some children.

Of course they may be suspicious, even after you explain that you're trading candy for their innocence. To avoid an ugly misunderstanding, go to the beach in a clown costume. Everyone loves a clown! Clowns just want to make children laugh and play and would never tell a young man that the things he did in a Dairy Queen bathroom back in 1991 were his fault, so don't tell anyone or you'll get in trouble, Brendan.

... Oh my God.

Packing for the Beach

The great thing about the beach is it's so uncomplicated. Here are some useful items you can bring:

Thank you, God and Getty, for this dame
Tragic, but didja see that knockout blonde? HOTCHA!

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Beach Hazards

-- Stay safe; avoid the ocean an hour after eating. You'll be fine if you don't, but Mother worries so. To be honest, drowning is way overblown. It's just a way for big government to insert itself into our lives with more lifeguards, police helicopters, satellites and listening devices to monitor whale chatter. You're way more likely to be killed if you get into a car that's going to crash, or if you take aspirin for your ulcers.

-- Sharks regularly kill over two people a year, so it's important that we slaughter those bastards first. Cut off the fin for soup and dump the carcass back into the sea as a warning to other sharks. They'll get the message.

Getty is aghast!
People win again! We are the greatest!

-- Lightning can strike anywhere, anytime. Oh man, that would be such a badass way to die.

-- Beneath the South Pacific, the monstrous octopus-dragon Cthulhu slumbers. You will know if you have swum too close to Cthulhu as your skin erupts in boils, your thoughts burn with impossible geometries and the clacking, clattering language of the dead rushes in your ears.

HP Lovecraft was a disturbed man
Many beaches put out yellow flags if dead Cthulhu stirs dreaming

-- Though not a direct hazard, lifeguards are fit, young people who run in sexy slow motion. Fake a drowning to get one to notice you.

-- If you are attacked by Soggies, alert Cap'n Crunch immediately. He is there for your protection, and will provide a hearty breakfast that only slashes your mouth a little bit.

How to Develop a Beach

The allure of the beach is, in some ways, its seediness. The deeper we stride into its inhospitable waves, the less the laws of man can bind us. It was Thoreau who said, "We are all anarchists where the surf meets the sand, bros." Or possibly that was an original quote from Randy, who is a guy we know from the beach.

Either way, this casual lawlessness fosters an easy trust. Before we jump into the waves, we ask strangers to keep an eye on our stuff. While we're in there, we expect teenagers to pay attention to our toddlers' safety in a crowd full of half-naked people. And after we come out, we believe the guy running the clam shack when he says deep frying can make shellfish taste like food.

Or as we called them growing up in New England, water lice and sea-roach

The question any vacationer relaxing on a sunny shore must ask, naturally, is "How can I make money off of these saps?" And the answer is simple: develop, develop, develop! People are in a trusting state against all common sense, so throw up a boardwalk where they can play lots of rigged carnival games for cheap tchotchkes they don't want and can't use. Lure them in the same way you would flies: with loads of sugar. Better add some fried food and old meat for good measure.

Now that you've got them all in one place, trap them on some vomitous carnival rides till they're hungry again. But how are you going to make sure they stick around after sunset? A crappy jazz band, obviously, busking for their dinner. Better add a hotel to that boardwalk, too, so you can fleece the herd again tomorrow. Uh-oh! Some of the guests want a section of the beach to themselves now that you've made it so crowded. Crapburgers! You'd better cordon off a part of it for the hotel's use only.

Is the beach at full capacity? Excellent! Where once there was naught but useless, gentle tides, there is now a thriving mecca of recreation operating at maximum efficiency! The principals of capitalism have triumphed yet again! Until ... say, where's everybody going?

Wikipedia weeps for Dreamland
Behold! The perfect beach

Er ... it seems beach attendance is dropping because we optimized the fun right out of things, and not even the deepest-fried meats can change the public's mind. Where teeming crowds once ... uh, teemed, now nothing remains but a lot of litter and empty buildings. And they slouch, slowly crumbling under the ever-encroaching tide. Foolish man! To think thou couldst tame the sea! In time, all is washed away, save for two trunkless legs of an Ozymandias statue by the ruins of the Watchmen theme ride roller coaster.

And there, over the course of a thousand years, your boardwalk empire will crumble back into a pristine beach ... where human beings may yet again venture to feel surf foaming on their ankles, sun baking their skin anew and sand irritating their genitals as they have sex under the boardwalk.

Brendan recently outlined How Bacon Is the Secret to a Healthy Marriage and Why Mr. T Is a Great Man.

And be sure to check out more of his stuff here in To My Unborn Son: Stuff I Won't Have the Balls to Say and 5 Ways the '90s Made Us Strong .

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