My first weekend at the Jersey Shore: Sun, fun and no Snooki to be found anywhere. And Usain Bolt, still the fastest, most amazing man

jerseyshore

Greetings from the land of “The Situation,” where we most certainly did not have a situation this weekend.

Yours truly is wrapping up a wonderful weekend getaway with the family to the Jersey Shore, a place I’ve never truly spent time as an adult (I’ve been to nearby Atlantic City plenty, but those were just for gambling and hotel stays.)

We’re heading back to the city Monday morning after a great family reunion; a patriarch on my wife’s side of the family had a 95th birthday celebration on Saturday, so dozens of cousins and friends gathered to salute him (Ninety-five is amazing to me. Do you realize Warren G. Harding was President when this man was born? I can’t fathom that.) My son got to meet a whole bunch of family members he’s never met, so that was a big thrill.

We had a great time in Chris Christie-ville, and am a little sad to leave. Some thoughts/ruminations from my brain on a weekend in Joisey…

— We spent a lot of time on the beach, of course, and our relative’s house was pretty close to an entrance onto a small strip of sand where we sunbathed Saturday and Sunday.
And one thing I learned is universal: I don’t care how rich or poor you are, what race or creed you are, whether you’re old or young, big or small: Everyone has to endure the 50-100 yards of schlepping beach stuff from the pavement to their favorite spot on the sand.
The look on the faces of all who did it was the same: “Why am I lugging all this crap to the beach? Do I really need all this crap? And are we almost there?

It was reassuring to see that some things in America are still equal for everyone.

— Atlantic City ain’t what it used to be. Or maybe I’m just too old to see its appeal. Probably both. When I was a kid, Atlantic City was an incredibly exciting idea: Driving a few hours meant you were glamorous, dazzlingly bright neighborhood filled with fancy casinos, sparkly showgirls and a boardwalk that teemed with taffy and all kinds of fun.

Now, thanks to so many other states legalizing gambling, and the economy tanking, there are only a handful of casinos left in Atlantic City, and the whole place just felt, when we went to play blackjack Sunday night, like a party everyone had left, only some people didn’t know the party was over yet.

— Did you know you can still smoke in all Atlantic City casinos? Seriously. In 2015. In a completely indoor venue with little air circulation.

We were in one Sunday night and it was like being transported back in time 30 years. Ridiculous.

— Final gambling note: When you push on 20 in blackjack, it really feels like a loss, doesn’t it?

— My kid loves the ocean. Who knew? We took the 11-month-old down to the water for his first-ever experience, expecting that the freezing cold H20 on his toes would make him miserable. Only, he squealed and squealed with delight for 10 good minutes, smiling and giggling as the tiny waves crashed into his little legs.

It’s amazing how you never know how he’ll react to something new. I smell a future surfer in the family.

— Hotel breakfasts have gotten so much better since I was a kid. We had a couple this weekend that were so beyond restaurant quality it was stunning. I remember as a little boy getting stuck with, like, stale English muffins and maybe a crummy croissant.

— Finally, this made me sad. The hotel we’re staying in had a sign at the front desk advertising free access to local newspaper’s websites when you check in. Instead of, you know, actual newspapers in the lobby.

Ah, print papers, oh how I’ll miss you when you’re gone.

**Finally today, just in case you’d forgotten how incredible Usain Bolt is, he was kind enough to show the world again on Sunday at the World Championships.

It’s exceedingly rare for a sprinter to last as long as Bolt has, and stay on top; he first won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games; here we are seven years later, and he’s still the fastest man alive.

This is a hell of a race from American Justin Gatlin, but he fell one-hundredth of a second short; in 9.79 Bolt held onto his crown.

Sensational stuff. So help us all if he’s ever found to have been doping all these years.

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