ShoreBilly's Swill on ShoreBread

As I write this Sunday evening, the constant deafening roar of bike week has given way to near silence. At least through the open window above my desk it’s pretty silent save the occasional straggler heading west in a leather vest. And please don’t get me wrong, I have no problem at all with the bikers. I’ll take them once a month year round. They spend money and for the most part are a pleasure to wait on. But I’d be lying if I said I was going to miss the decibel levels. It’s a pretty ironic segway into the “quiet” season. I prefer to call this next phase the “quality not quantity” season. Again, something I’m a huge fan of.

Being a guy whose name is never used in the same sentence as “subtlety”, I’ve repeatedly made it abundantly clear what my thoughts on the summer of 2013 are. So the shift into the second season this year is kind of like finally getting a divorce from a really crappy marriage. It was only really hot and heavy for a couple of weeks, it seemed to go on for way too long for all the wrong reasons, and you’re walking away from it with absolutely nothing to show for it other than relief that it’s over.

I like to think that most people do this, but it could be just me. On occasion to keep me from ritualistically bludgeoning intellectually challenged vacationers with the fat end of a Galliano bottle, my mind will wonder and go to a happy place. I have a few fun little things I fantasize about there to bring me back. Obviously, the first choice is thinking about my wife and kids. If I have time, I’ll look at pictures of them on my phone. I truly believe that the ability to take, have, and save pictures to a pocket cellular device has actually saved lives. Not like millions, or an entire species, just several of my customers.

The next on the list of bizarre thoughts that inhabit my partially vacant skull is what I would do if I won the Powerball. If you’ve never had that fantasy, even if only for a minute, you’re a liar! There is not a living adult in the western hemisphere beneath the tax bracket of an above average professional athlete, a mediocre at best actor, any hip hop artist, or any spineless politician who hasn’t at least once mentally mapped out how they would spend that money if they won. I think everyone pretty much has the same fantasy too. There is the handful of loved ones you’d take care of. The couple of philanthropic things you try to convince your mind that you would do. The made up amount that you think you are going to set aside for your kids’ college tuition and weddings, and perhaps your own retirement. And finally, all of the completely random frivolous purchases you would make. Meanwhile, the odds that you would actually do those things exactly as you imagine them are as slim as the odds of winning. Add in the factor that you never actually purchase a ticket, and it’s nothing more than a brief, fun mental vacation to kill a few moments.

My new favorite fantasy on the nights that I find myself limping noticeably, in excruciating pain in most of my body, and still slinging drinks at an astounding rate, is my “book fantasy”. This one is relatively new, it’s my favorite, and it’s the least likely of all of these to come to fruition. But it tends to reel me back in as quickly as pictures of my kids do. When I find myself about to snap, I’ll imagine that someone who reads this column comes to the bar one night and says,

“Here’s an obscene amount of money in advance. Go and be a stay at home Dad and write a book during your spare time. Maybe tend bar one or two nights here and there for material. Take all the time you need and call me when you’re done so I can publish it.”

How amazing would that be?! Instead, I guess I’ll have to continue to be a full time Dad and work three jobs and just sleep less.

Another brief imaginary departure I’ll sometimes take from myself when I feel my fuse getting short, is thinking about what my power would be if I were a super hero. Now here, I don’t exactly set the bar very high. I’ve always just thought it would be awesome to be able to fart on command. Of course I’d be able to control the pitch, volume, aroma, duration, and direction of the function as well. I genuinely wish I could say that I was deeper than that, but we all know I’d be lying. What I’m about to tell you will put the entire summer of 2013 in perspective for you. If you are a bartender in Ocean City, then you already have it, anyone else, here it comes…

I have genuinely spent the past four months of my life repeatedly, and alarmingly often, fantasizing that I had the abilities of the main character from a 1984 movie based on a Stephen King novel. Yes my friends. That’s right. I want to be Drew Barrymore in Firestarter. If you don’t recall this fun little family cinematic gem, it’s a cute story about a sweet little girl who had the unique gift of being able to telekinetically start fires. Essentially, if someone or something pissed her off in any way, she could cause them to spontaneously combust into flames from a safe distance simply by using her mind. I think I speak on behalf of many of us when I say: FREAKIN’ AWESOME! I am mildly ashamed by just how many times this summer I wished that I had that gift.

I’d like to take a moment now to clear up some potential misnomers regarding a recent somewhat local event. I, like many of you recently witnessed the streak of fire traversing the midnight sky over the Atlantic. Admittedly, it was both beautiful, and fascinating. We were all told that it was a small rocket being launched from Wallops Island on a mission to the moon, or Detroit, or the white house, or somewhere else with no current evidence of intelligent life. There was even an unfortunate frog abruptly awakened from his slumber who is now, not quite as big an internet sensation as whatever the heck ‘twerking’ is, but he’s up there on hits. If that photo with the frog is real, then I like to believe he found it; The rainbow connection, the lover, the dreamer, and meeeeeeee. It’s not easy being green bro, when you get to Mars, say hey to Marvin for me.

I’m sorry, where were we? Oh, that’s right; the geniuses at NASA have set up a satellite kiosk somewhere in the mouth of the Chesapeake, not too far from the food court. Well, if that’s the case; no wonder none of us can afford to eat crabs anymore. Keep launching rockets out of there, and it’s just a matter of time until the crabs start mutating into literally ANY movie title on the SyFy channel. Rockfish will start wearing top hats and twirling a cane while singing “Puttin on the Ritz” as they stroll down the beach. And the oysters will finally get motivated and organized and come ashore, open their own jewelry stores specializing in pearls, and the entire eco system and economy will be altered.

I have a theory on all of this. I believe that what we saw in the sky last week was in fact “The Mother Ship”, and it was here to retrieve approximately 80% of my clientele from the past three weeks. I must admit, it got a lot less weird the next night. The perpetual full moon seemed to have moved on. I genuinely hope that you all made it safely back to your home planets, or Jersey and points north. It looks like we’ll be seeing you again next summer. Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols