Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Reluctant return

  • May 31, 2013

Vacation is over and I’m already a little bit sad. It didn’t help that I drove back from the beach into a torrential downpour just outside of Breezewood. I wanted to turn around and go back down.

Every time I enter the state of Pennsylvania, it rains; five trips in a row, two trips to Rehoboth, Del., two trips to Washington, D.C., and one trip to Virginia Beach. Rain. Rain. Rain. When I moved up here after spending time in Key West, Fla., it snowed when I hit PA, which was particularly sad because it was 81 degrees in the Keys the day I left. I was in the pool a day before I moved. I guess I’ll take driving home in the rain rather than the snow.

Part of me is glad to be home. I love Pittsburgh. It just needs a beach.

I love hot weather. If NASA wants to send anyone to Mercury, I’d volunteer. Just don’t send me in the other direction. I will complain in any weather below 50 degrees.

I miss the water splashing up on the sand.

I know a lot of people who don’t like the beach. They don’t like getting sand everywhere. And sand does go everywhere. Labor Day weekend last year, I found a few grains of sand in my ear three days after the trip. I had showered a few times between the day on the beach and the day I found sand in my ear.

Also, people don’t like having to schlep four million things to the beach: chairs, umbrellas, coolers full of food, soda and beer. I travel light. I bring a towel, a book and a Frisbee. I do feel sorry for people with babies. They have to lug all sorts of stuff to the beach: buckets, diapers, toys, chairs, umbrellas, sunscreen, etc. The list of items even exhausts me. I think if I were a dad, my kid wouldn’t see the ocean until she/he was potty-trained. I give a lot of credit to parents who instill the love of the ocean early on with their kids, lugging all of that stuff everywhere; not just the beach, but restaurants, movies, airplanes. My children would be indoor kids until they were housebroken.

I’ve been going to the beach from before I can remember words. It wasn’t always some exotic location like Florida, California or Hawaii. Sometimes, Erie did just fine. I am pretty easy to please. Just add sun and water, and I’m happy.

They say sunshine is good for you. You get some Vitamin D. I must have gotten my quota. Though, I didn’t get sunburned. I did see a guy who was tomato-colored. Every time I’m at the beach, I’m grateful for my Mediterranean skin tone; I went from my regular olive complexion to Kalamata-colored.

I don’t know if I’m going to get down to the beach again this summer; unless I win the Big Five, because these scratch-and-wins are more scratching than winning.

I have a tan and some memories. I guess that’s all I need.


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