Within the last 10 days, I’ve found myself at three different East Coast beaches: Long Beach, NY; Avalon, NJ; and Newport, Rhode Island. Each was different in terms of the tide, temperature and sand texture. And the crowds varied based on the day. But what I find remarkable is that the exact same cast of characters makes regular appearances at beaches up and down the East Coast, without exception. For those of you looking for your big break, the following roles are now available:
The Leather Granny - Most often a bottled blond woman in her late 60’s, this character has her beach chair facing the sun at all times. Although she is clearly Caucasian her skin is a deep, deep bronze and has the texture of an alligator purse. After years of sun damage, she knows that there is no turning back and the only thing worse than brown leathery skin is white leathery skin. She is also a heavy smoker. Pass the Ban D’Soleil. Try to channel: Phyllis Diller meets George Hamilton.
The Mayor – This elderly gentleman is in his early 70s, and knows everyone and everything. In relatively decent physical shape for his age, he sits in the middle of a semi-circle of buddies not unlike himself. He has shock of white chest hair and some sort of nautical themed baseball cap. The guy recognizes every man and woman over 60 who walks by. They all stop to pay homage and gossip relentlessly. Occasionally, he leaves his beach chair and stands in the water with two or three consigliores to cool off. His name is often Jack. Try to channel: William Shatner.
The Compound Queen – A mother of at least four children, this character re-creates her backyard in a sandy space the size of a postage stamp. She directs her husband where to set up the tent, the three beaches blankets, the kiddie pool, the two coolers full of sandwiches and the large thermos. The Compound Queen’s family always has the best sand toys including a multiple sizes of buckets, shovels, and a large back hoe. Despite her best intentions, the Compound Queen’s family spends a total of 7 minutes at the compound and the rest in the water, at the snack bar, or digging in the sand with a sea shell. Try to channel: Florence Henderson.
The Young Lovers –Not yet 21, this couple is so into each other, they are oblivious to everyone else on the beach. The young man’s hand must be permanently glued to the young lady’s butt cheek for the duration of the beach time. They spend the day lying belly to belly on the blanket, giving the Compound Queen considerable agita as she tries to distract her 8 year old son from their antics. Good looks are not required yet the boy must be able to lift the girl and playfully carry her into the water against her will, as if auditioning for the next Nicholas Sparks motion picture. Try to channel: Miley Cyrus and Michael Cera
Sup-ah Dad – Possibly married to Compound Queen, this Dad works with kids to dig the largest hole, the tallest or most elaborate sand castle, or the strongest fort. Inevitably the children lose interest in his project after 15 minutes but Super Dad continues to earnest until the job is done – and then stands guard for the rest of the afternoon so that he can take credit for the work as bystanders stroll by and wonder who created such a marvelous structure. Try to channel: Ben Stiller
Sand Baby – This part is available for any small child in the age range of 2-5. The only requirement is their ability to carry 8 pounds of sand in the crotch of their swimmie diaper. Male or female – does not matter but must be willing to go topless at some point. Try to channel: Mary Kate or Ashley Olsen – The Full House Years. (Come to think of it, they could probably pull this part off today, dontcha think?)
The list really does go on and on. There are so many roles to be filled including: middle-aged power walker, studly wave diver, creepy European doinker dude, pack of teenage girls (must be willing to pierce belly button), delusional bikini woman, and kid buried in sand number 34.
So MoB readers what characters did I miss? And who should one channel to win the role?