It's spring break time again! And you can expect the usual television news and other programs having the usual reports of crowds, drinking, and debauchery as college students avail themselves of the usual Spring migration to warmer parts of the country or the Caribbean. And there's guaranteed shots of lithe bodies, raucous parties, and mandatory censoriousness to put a fig leaf on the pandering to the possible viewers in order to squeeze more ratings for moribund news or feature programming.*
Yes, this is as American as apple pie, or hot pockets that can be warmed in five minutes!
The custom of spring break emerged during the 1950's; and was primarily centered around Fort Lauderdale where, with the book and movie Where the Boys Are (1958 version), it was depicted as a romantic place where husband-hunting Midwestern co-eds could snare an Ivy League mate! Well, the hoi polloi started going; and students from other institutions began to get into the act. Eventually, Fort Lauderdale passed restrictive laws regarding partying and drinking, and Fort Lauderdale declined as a spring festivities locale. **
This simply meant that other coastal areas got into the act: Panama City and South Padre Island became rowdy mainstays with time; and Caribbean beaches such as Cancun, Cozumel, and Jamaica became desirable places to go. Spring break was realized as a profitable occasion, and some communities actually published newspapers extolling the specifics of their place as a locale for a fun spring trip! Al.com recently posted scenes extolling Gulf Shores as a spring break site.
Spring break became so institutionalized that universities would not dare eliminate their mid-spring break in fear of protests. At least they have a grasp of reality sometimes.
Practically speaking, spring break is a godsend for many coastal communities: cheap motels are fully rented, restaurants and bars can jack up their prices, the visitors provide a cheap entertainment for locals, and all it takes is loosening up of certain rules, and hiring a few auxiliary police to look the other way strategically.
Vendors can sell sun block and tanning lotions, skimpy bathing suits, and souvenirs of spring break like work shirts with the stenciled label: "Property of Panama City Beach Jail."
Yes, I'm all for spring break, although I have opted for a less frantic place like Rosemary Beach. Orange Beach is pretty nice too.
Remember: Sex on the beach is a name for an oversweet mixed drink, not an option for an activity.
*This is sometimes referred to as hypocrisy.
**It's now mostly a cruise ship port.
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