I believe I left off at the point where we had reached Daytona and made the adult contemporary decision to stay at the illustrious Copacabana in search of potential Lolas-of-the-moment. The above image is apparently the Copa in its heyday, which was 1-2 generations removed from our visit – is that Don Draper in the background? I can only remember a few noteworthy items about the Copacabana:
- Our room had a screen door
- We got MTV, and Beavis and Butt-Head had just hit the airwaves (I ironically found it sophomoric at the time, despite being recently removed from sophomore status myself)
- There was a Texaco nearby, so we could counter the $24/day motel rate with a couple cases of Icehouse from the Star, which presumably my parents would eventually pay for (but most likely they would just say “f*ck it” and not pay the bill anyway; their love of usurious interest rates and late/reconnect fees is legendary)
- There was indeed a pool, but it did not look much like the one above. If memory serves, it was a bring your own chair setup.
We were f*cking pumped to be in Florida, ready to rock the sh*t out of the place. Also, though, we were pretty sleepy. That’s a long drive in a Ford Ranger. So if my memory is correct – and almost certainly it’s tainted by inaccuracy and a bloated sense of self-esteem – we ended up sleeping til like 8:00 PM and then going to some f*cking ridiculous dance club with glow sticks and test tube shooters and stuff. At the time, I certainly needed a little bit of verbal communication to have a shot with the ladies – I hadn’t perfected the “get up in their face and krump your ass off” technique that I have going today. Pos was essentially in the same boat. And we paid a f*cking cover to get in there – I think $10 each. That was a decent chunk of our $400 straight cash homie. We still bailed – it was a sh*tshow in there and not really our scene.
The next day we decided we were gonna let the party come to us – we loaded up the bathtub with a couple cases of sh*tty beer, did some preemptive pushups (gameday pushups always trump months of working out in advance of spring break) and hit the Copacabana pool. Don’t let that postcard image above fool you – we were the only people there. But it was all good, we could see the beach – and, seriously, f*ck sand. Couple of cool guys like us, it was only a matter of time.
Our luck turned better after about the fifth Milwaukee’s Best. Three chicks showed up and pulled up towels (or ottomans or whatever sh*t the Copa had to prevent your skin from coming into direct contact with the pavement) in our general vicinity. I, seasoned from a year of “regular college” might as well have spotted a scarlet letter on their cover-ups – they were Delta Delta Deltas from Southeast Missouri State. (From memory, I came up with SW Missouri State, but my quest for precision led me to do some fact-checking.) As I explained to Pos, Tri-Delts were generally known for being hot of appearance and loose of morals, ie the perfect spring break combination. And there were three of them! We were running a fast break up in the Copa! All we had to do was come up with some clever banter (being from Missouri, we had to make sure that the majority of said banter was monosyllabic, so as not to hurt any feelings or cause headaches) and we had a very great chance of hooking some sh*t up.
Now, I don’t want to brag, but somehow they ended up in our room. It was either our doughy-even-though-at-a-military-academy physiques, our suave demeanors, or the fact that they were at the same sh*tty motel and pretty much nobody else was just hanging out at the sh*tty motel – most other spring breakers preferring loud, redundant thumping and girls in bikinis walking around selling trays of test tube shots. The problem was, neither one of us was particularly suited to “culling the herd” if you will. If memory serves, they were all pleasant enough, in an unenthusiastic way, but there were too many of them – suddenly the numbers were working against us.
At a critical juncture – I think we were trying to get them to go swimming in the ocean with us (not a bad approach to figuring out who was the most interested – unless they were are all tied for least) and I said “f*ck it” and went and called my not-girlfriend on the payphone, just to check into whether she was not-boning someone at the not-moment. It apparently got kind of awkward when I was gone, the girls were like “is he calling his girlfriend?” and Pos – quick thinker that he was* – was like “no, he just had to call his mom”…like being a weird mama’s boy isn’t just as bad as being a not-philanderer. Turns out they could not help ya. Fail.
(*Anecdote within an anecdote (aneception?): Guys at military academies – despite the strict honor code that forbids it – are frequently forced to omit or stretch information when asked questions like “where do you go to school?” by girls who go to colleges that don’t require uniforms. When I was a sophomore, my go-to white lie was that I was a student at Georgetown Law School. This was not a stretch since at the time I was totally planning on going to law school in the future, so it wasn’t really a lie so much as just pro-forma truth. One time in New Orleans, with Pos, we were well into a promising conversation with some Australian nursing students (actually, maybe they were nannies?), who were no doubt impressed by our Georgetown Law pedigree. We were unfortunate to be overheard by an actual Georgetown student, a fine fellow who was also a c*ck-blocking enthusiast. Sensing weakness, he lobbed a grenade toward Pos – who’d never gone to “real school” – by asking what fraternity were in. He responded something like “Frito Pigmy Abacus” and the house of cards began to crumble in embarrassing fashion. We’ll always have Outback Steakhouse, though.)
We woke up and decided that maybe Daytona sucked. Maybe we were old school guys, who needed to rock it really old school, like Fort Lauderdale style. Also, we were baseball fans, and it was spring training time. What better way to conserve money and still have a good time than to catch my team – the successful-at-the-time-but-cursed-in-the-Series Atlanta Braves? We decided to catch a game in West Palm and got to see my boy Tom Glavine warming up (just throwing on the side unfortunately), that was a solid time, cost like $3 and we had progressed very close to Ft. Lauderdale.
And it was only Monday. Since we had been alternating between McDonald’s value meals (Pos preferred the Jordan Meal; I went Double Quarter Pounder), Taco Bell takedowns and loading up on gross food at Texaco when we needed beer or gas, we weren’t wasting too much precious cash on food. This would come back to haunt me though, as Pos hucked the unspeakably disgusting remains of a microwave hamburger in the back of the Ranger. This would lead to me eventually getting pulled over on suspicion of hauling dead bodies around.
We made it to Fort Lauderdale in the late evening, and the first thing that struck me was how clean the place was. There was a street cleaner running like 24/7 and the place looked pristine. And, the only really meaningful stuff that happened on the trip happened in Ft. Lauderdale, so I probably could’ve just started writing at that point, instead of writing a 2,500 word preamble.
Later and Happy Easter,
(Question: Is the font on here really hard to read? Seems like this is user-unfriendly for dense text. Maybe my computer is trying to tell me something?)