Day 224: You’re dead to me, beach.

I went to the beach today for the last time in my life. I’ve given beaches plenty of chances not to suck and they always fail. After 5 minutes, I’m sweaty, salty, and stingy. That’s not even remotely tolerable when you’re alone, but when you also have 2 genetically unprepared children with you complaining about heat exhaustion and butts full of moist sand, it can result in a psychotic break. You ever try to get wet sand out of a 2 year-old’s ass crack? You have to do it GRAIN BY GRAIN.

Honestly, I’m pissed off because the beach is something I want to like. That’s why I’ve tried so many times. I see people there enjoying it so much and feel like I’m missing out on something great, and become convinced that I must just be a depressed prick. I’m jealous of the people lying there sleeping. How can you sleep when you’re sweating and cooking? I haven’t felt relaxed for even one minute at the beach. I go from “Oh my god, that wave is too big” to “Did I put sunscreen on my neck?” to “I think there’s sand in my dick” to “I wanna go home.” None of the time am I on my back staring up into the sky peacefully as the sun slowly roasts my skin into the color of a perfectly cooked tater tot. No matter what I do, my skin is always somewhere in the spectrum of whoopie cushion pink.

I’m thinking it’s genetic. It’s my brain and body telling me to leave a hostile environment immediately. This DNA has been passed down by generations of Germans and English blooded folk. My genome should be called “70% chance of precipitation.” I’ve passed that along to my kids. They’re always sweaty and pink when in the heat. You get them somewhere that’s 68 degrees and low humidity, and they can dunk a basketball. Anything over 80 degrees and we’re all inside watching cartoons and panting.

My wife is slowly starting to get on board and I have mixed feelings about it. I’m pretty sure she liked the beach before we formed our brood. It’s like I’ve successfully convinced a good person that something awesome sucks. I’ve taken a positive soul with hope and wonder and turned her into a goth teenager, just so I don’t have to suffer through an afternoon trying to get everyone to appreciate watching salt water turn dirt into mud.

I have to be honest here, I guess. There is ONE beach I’ve liked. It’s at Meghan’s Bay in St. Thomas. The water is warm and waveless, the sand is white, and there’s a bar. It’s as close to a pool as you can get and that’s what I like about it. Here are my guidelines if I’m ever to go to the beach again:

  • No more than 75 feet away from air conditioning.
  • A 5 foot radius from anything wet.
  • A VERY comfortable lounge chair visited by a person who offers me drinks of various kinds.
  • At least 7 sets of dry clothes for each family member.
  • A giant umbrella that can block all the sun from my giant body.
  • Never out of eyesight from our deluxe hotel room.
  • We have to be alone. I think it has to be a private beach. I don’t want to be surrounded by people having more fun than me.
  • Only beautiful and colorful fish in the water. Nothing bigger than my arm.

So, something like Club Med could work, I guess. But never again am I driving 2 hours to a public beach in New Jersey. I know there’s some middle ground there, but I’m no longer willing to investigate it for fear of more misery.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

7 comments On Day 224: You’re dead to me, beach.

  • I haven't been to the beaches in Jersey, but I live in Maui, Hawaii & it's nothing like the East coast. Prob more like St Thomas. My 2yr old loves it and so do I. If you make it out here let me know & you can borrow our giant beach tent… Yup a 'tent' that let's the breeze thru but not the sun is the way to go. As well as rashguards that cover most your bodies so you don't get burned. It's what the white folk out here do anyways –

  • You have neglected to even touch on the limitless misery of nude beaches, for some reason. Nudists at the beach tend to look a lot like porpoises; I suppose it is the proximity to the ocean, but don't quote me. The application of sunscreen, additionally, is an issue to the more bashful among us.

  • That's your problem: Jersey beaches. No offense, but no thanks. And I think I can say this as it's really my only option for day-trip-to-the-beach kinda deal…I choose to skip it.

  • Dude, I hear you. I am a combo of German, English, Finish and French. If they are pale, they are me. Also, not a fan of wet sand on ANY PART OF MY BODY. I think I was born an old curmudgeon.

  • Heather McNamara

    Baby powder – or corn starch – dusted generously on a wet sandy 2yo will cause sand to brush off easily. Never do beach w/ children w/out it.

    • That is EXACTLY what I was about to propose. I ALWAYS keep a bottle of baby powder in the beach bag. Works MIRACLES! I have a 3-year-old who LOVES to bury herself and roll around in the sand every time we've gone to the beach. I honestly believe that the baby powder works 15x better than the showers some of the beaches have. Plus, no waiting in line, no getting your feet immediately sandy again after meticulously rinsing yourself off, no fits about the water being too hot/cold.

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