Rick's List — History of Spring Break, Part One Edition

I'm always amazed by any scholar who has the confidence and skill to write a history book. A history of anything, really, although presumably the tome should have some gravitas. While I'm sure the "The History of Laminate Shelving in Functional Office Décor" and "Stronger Jaws and Fresher Breath — Flavored Bubble Gum Through the Ages" are inciteful and wisdom-packed, they appeal to a decidedly narrow demographic.

No, I'm thinking more along the lines of Edward Gibbons' "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," Barbara Tuchman's "The Guns of August" and William H. MacNeil's "Plagues and People."

It was while perusing the latter — because, really, who doesn't enjoy a companionable exploration of the world's devastating epidemics? — and I had the idea for a fantastic new history book. It will trace the rise and popularity of Collegiate Spring Break, and I'll call it "Plagues OF People" to of course convey the impact of host cities any time thousands of Young Persons arrive mid-semester to party. Here's what I've learned in the early stages of my research:

1. While some anthropologists trace the origins of Spring Break to two things — the construction of the first Olympic-sized pool in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1928 and then the 1958 coming-of-age film "Where the Boys Are" — my research shows the seminal concept happened much earlier, during the Civil War. Specifically, handwritten notes by Union Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman, outlining his vision for the devastating "March to the Sea" campaign.

In his crab-scuttle penmanship, he scrawled, "I want us to rage into Georgia the way I imagine hordes of young people, feeling frisky in the midst of rigorous mid-semester academics, would descend on beach communities of the future in cannon-roar displays of lust, binge-consumption of spirits, and with zero regard for decency or respect for their fellow human beings. In short, anything short of complete annihilation is unacceptable."

2. Through neuroimaging, entomologists have described an instinctual behavioral arc wherein clouds of bees or locusts mimic human behavior in "mob" fashion the insects have processed whilst buzzing around Cancun, Daytona Beach and Key West during the months of March and April.

3. Speaking of hardwiring and consciousness, building architects and circus aerialist safety engineers are working frantically to come up with a high-rise balcony scenario that prohibits Yuengling-powered, "it can't happen to me" frat dudes from toppling from great heights.

4. There is no way that:

a. ... getting a Spring Break tattoo can lead to regret

b. ... flashing your breasts to the cute dude with the video camera will ever backfire down the road

c. ... I won't hit the bestseller lists with this book. Did I mention there will be photos?



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