|Image via The 1948 Time Machine|
Growing up, I spent all of my summers at the Jersey shore. While writing the standard “Have a great summer!” in my yearbook at the end of the school year, most of my peers would vocally portray their jealous hatred of my good fortune to be able to spend a full three months at the beach. I shrugged my shoulders, generally, telling them to make sure they contacted me if they were lucky enough to be able to get down there for a week’s vacation.
Inwardly, though, I was the envious one. I was the outcast – forcibly shipped off in the Station Wagon to spend a summer away from my friends, only to hear whimsical whimperings of what was “the best summer ever” on the first day back at school.
“I got to go to the beach every day,” I contributed. It was a lie. It took entirely too much effort to prepare for a day at the beach, with the getting changed, and the multiple applications of sunscreen, and the preparation of the cooler with all the drinks and food, and the hosing of the sand off of your body afterwards... it was all simply too much. But my classmates didn’t need to know that I despised my summers at the shore and I was content with them envisioning me splish-splashing my glorious summers away.
The fondest memories I have of summertime were my trips to the Cape May County Zoo. It was free to the public, yet my family only went once a summer. By the time I was twelve, we stopped going altogether, but I still fondly remember happily scurrying around the zoo like the monkeys behind the bars.
Darting away from my family, I ran to the first thing I saw: the black and white striped phenomenon known as the zebra. A horse with a design. Big deal. For some reason, though, I sprinted ahead of my family, desperate to see the animal up close. Parting the sea of human observers, I stood, mouth agape, looking at the creature boringly munching on hay. Turning back to my family, I excitedly yelled, “Mom! Look at how big his penis is!”