Last weekend, I took my eldest granddaughter (the one you last saw in England) with me to see Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. I knew she had seen “Shag, the Movie,” and I thought she might want to see the real thing — within limits, of course. She had had a hard day. She had suffered multiple jellyfish stings earlier that day, which was pretty traumatic, but she seemed largely recovered, so we drove up to check it out. (She’s OK.)
I had expected not to find much, since they tore down the Pavilion several years back. But except for that former landmark (and the amusement park across the street) being replaced by a gaping hole in the night, things were pretty much the way they had been back in the day. The people in the cars crawling slowly up and down the strip were full of people who were more like tourists than the Surging Youth of Shag, or American Graffiti, but at least for a block or so there, it all felt about the same. More henna tattoo and piercing stands than I had remembered, but it was all in the tacky spirit of the thing.
Pushing our way through the throngs on the sidewalks, I said, “Kinda like London, huh?” She was too kind to say, “Not a bit, you old fool.”
We stopped on the street to get cotton candy, and there it took awhile, because there was just this one guy working behind the window. One big, hulking guy with a shaved head, a gold chain, and a Fu Manchu mustache. And a T-shirt, which you can see above. A guy standing in line outside made catty remarks about the man in the booth, but was careful to do so outside of his hearing.
I thought that image kind of captured the spirit of the place, so I share it with you.