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When Morons Go on Vacation

Carol Sottili

Just got back from a couple of weeks in Ocean City, Md. Had fun, but came home annoyed and sad about the behavior of a small minority of fellow vacationers. Here are just a few of the sights I witnessed:

*A grown man of about 40 stomping on baby frogs as the rest of his crowd looked on approvingly. His lovely bride told me to "Get a life" when I told him to stop.

*A group of grown younger men, nattily dressed in Polo, yelling, "Show us your ****" from their balcony at teen girls jogging on a running path.

*The same group of young men using the F word as a verb, adjective, noun and adverb in such loud voices that it echoed across the neighborhood. This was going on in front of families with small children as they tried to watch the city's fantastic fireworks display. The guys with the great vocabularies never even looked up at the fireworks.

*A new sign in the general store warning that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Seems the penny candy keeps disappearing.

*Several groups of adults attempting to walk out on the checks during busy times at the restaurant. I heard through the grapevine that seven groups were successful over one weekend.

*Adults flinging lit cigarettes from their balconies onto the sidewalk below them.

*Adult and teen dog walkers pretending they didn't notice when their dogs did what dogs do when they're being walked.

To be fair, I had many more encounters with pleasant, considerate people. But there is no doubt that a small cadre of knuckleheads can poison even the nicest atmosphere. Anyone out there have any ideas on how to deal with the uncivilized, other than fantasizing about their demise (I kept imagining Goliath squashing the man who was stomping the frogs), becoming the town crank or putting the police on speed dial?

And don't tell me to stop going to Ocean City: I've encountered similarly entitled morons in far more upscale environs (a recent favorite: the guy who put his cell phone on speaker in an exclusive restaurant). Like my momma always told me, just because you have a little money doesn't mean you have any class. Finally, I'm also curious: Will anyone out there admit to turning into a werewolf when they're on vacation? Is it possible that usually decent adults can turn into girls and boys gone wild just because they're away from their homes and routines?

By Carol Sottili |  July 19, 2007; 3:50 PM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili , Tales from the Road
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That's why we don't go to Ocean City - because it seems you have a higher ratio of people that don't respect others/property/space/businesses/nature/etc (morons or trash) than in other places.

Posted by: Maryland | July 19, 2007 5:13 PM

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a friend's wedding on Maui. One morning I saw a little trash on the beach along a 1/2-mile stretch and I took a plastic grocery (trash) bag when I started. I needed three more bags. Sigh...

Posted by: I just don't understand litter | July 19, 2007 6:18 PM

Gee OC has only been that way for the last 30years or so which why we always went to Rehobeth and then South Bethany. Restaurnat should take a credit card before hand and charge $200 large to cover run aways.

Posted by: vaherder | July 19, 2007 6:51 PM

What does one do when confronted with morons? Well, this one confronts the morons and shames them into stopping their moronic behavior, instead of just complaining after the fact. Kudos to trying to stop the frog stomper, but a little more cajones might have done the trick.

Posted by: Phillyfilly | July 19, 2007 7:13 PM

Sometimes there's no stopping morons - hence my favorite bumper sticker ever:

Don't you wish stupidity hurt?

For the lit cigarette thing, you can always follow the guidelines set forth by Eddie Izzard in the following - so scream for a lawyer in agony while clutching an eye and pointing at the offenders....


"And some people do those squeezy handshakes; that crusher handshake...A firm handshake is great, but that crusher one where they start to rotate your knuckles, you know?"

"You should react; if someone starts crushing the life out of your hand, just go, 'AAAAAAAAH! @#$%^!&* ...'"

"Either that, or the complete opposite, and just collapse on the floor. 'Oh, you killed him! You killed him dead, man! He suffers from hand-squeezy death...'"

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 20, 2007 12:13 AM

When in Rome...

There are a lot of cranky old bloggers here! Complaining about MD beach trash and loud music by the pool... Does everything have to be tailored specifically to old folks and families?

Posted by: beachgoer | July 20, 2007 7:12 AM

I use foul language occaisionally, but I am appalled at people (usually 15-25) who use the F word without regard for who is around them. I would never say it around my parents or kids, or people I don't know very well. And I've asked a group of young men (ok I'm 28) to stop when my son was around.

Posted by: language | July 20, 2007 10:56 AM

Morons ARE everywhere. There is a complete decline in considerate, couth behavior out there. I was at Arlington National CEMETERY and people are jabbering away on cell phones, talking loudly, and just generally not acting in a respectful manner. It is societal at this point--the culture has gotten so casual that anything goes at any time.

Posted by: Trying to be polite | July 22, 2007 2:35 PM

Morons ARE everywhere. There is a complete decline in considerate, couth behavior out there. I was at Arlington National CEMETERY and people are jabbering away on cell phones, talking loudly, and just generally not acting in a respectful manner. It is societal at this point--the culture has gotten so casual that anything goes at any time.

Posted by: Trying to be polite | July 22, 2007 2:35 PM said show us your *****.

Posted by: Moron | July 24, 2007 12:25 PM

You may not want to hear the advice to go elsewhere beside Ocean City, but that's the true advice. Your encounters were the result of population density. Put more people together, the more chance you have of encountering morons. Further, the morons are far more likely to go to places like Ocean City than they are to quieter beach communities. We abandoned the popular beaches in 1981 for the Outer Banks and haven't left. Even there, we're searching for the more out of the way areas rather than the populated ones. If you're on vacation, you're far better served by "getting away from it all", including crowds gathered around watching some idiot smash frogs, or having cigarette butts and obscenities rain down upon you from the balconies of hotels.

Posted by: John | July 25, 2007 8:34 AM

Beach Rentals all along the NC Coast are nice because you only have to deal with neighbors on either side of you so it's safe to say the odds of avoiding morons are in your favor. We go to quaint Oak Island and have had many quiet and peacful vacations.

Posted by: Gretchen | July 25, 2007 11:23 AM

My husband and I recently went to the Edward Hopper Art exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A woman was loudly yakking away on her cellphone while others were trying to listen to their audio cassettes or just looking appreciatively at the works. A man said to her, "this is no place to use a cell phone" and the woman, who was beautifully dressed, coifed and expensively bejeweled told him to "F-U" and continued to talk on the phone.

Posted by: Sue Bell | July 25, 2007 11:27 AM

Your OC story is upsetting, particularly the frog incident. Morons are everywhere and you just have to learn what you can tolerate and what you absolutely can't and act on those. Some things you just have to let go or you'll be miserable policing everyone. You can try to have compassion for those morons or just pray that their idiocy will come back to hit them in the head...hard.

Posted by: Bell | July 25, 2007 11:45 AM

Jersey shore is the only place for me.

Posted by: Carrie | July 25, 2007 11:48 AM

Even in a civilized society, there will always be uncivilized people. The way you change behavior is with strict consequences. Our judicial system is the laughing stock of the middle east. If one wants behaviors to chang call the police, press charges, because all of these acts are against the law. We must act not react.

Posted by: George | July 25, 2007 1:14 PM

America is a country that privileges the individual over society. You talk incessantly about your individual rights: right to speak, right to live where you want, right to bear arms, right to drive your car, right to choose....

Then you teach your kids that whatever they do is "fine" because they're trying their best, even when it is clear that they are underperforming or misbehaving. You don't teach them to respect society, or the teacher; you teach them to respect and love themselves. Above all others.

So when these people (i.e. you) grow up and don't care how their (your) actions mistreat or infringe upon others, and turn into individuals with no perspective on themselves, you reap what you sow.

Other societies that are less individually oriented and more socially oriented seem to have less of the "crazy" people syndrome. Meanwhile, those societies protect basic rights such as health care, education, housing. You call this socialism and say it's unworthy.

Well, Americans get what they deserve.

Posted by: Living abroad. | July 26, 2007 2:41 AM

Guess it's not just Ocean City. Here's a wire story that I came across today:

Hundreds of local residents on the holiday island of Crete took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the lewd and violent behaviour of young British tourists.

Hotel and business owners, municipal officials and even the mayor of the town of Malia, on the northeastern coast of Crete, closed off the island's main highway, disrupting traffic and handing out leaflets, saying they were fed up.

"They get drunk, they exhibit themselves in front of our eyes. We won't put up with these acts," one of the protesters told Reuters television.

The protesters want the government to crack down on tourist agencies promoting sex and fun for young tourists in Malia, more police to maintain order, and more controls on nightclubs which they say encourage excessive drinking with cheap drinks.

Posted by: Carol Sottili | July 26, 2007 11:07 AM

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