Confessions of a Panamaniac

Spring Break, woo!

Spring Break, woo!

“Out here in the fields,
I fight for my meals.”
– The Who, Baba O’Riley

Whoosh!  High tide shattered the shores of Panama City, Florida, retreating back into the ocean like a fickle woman. As I breathed in the sights and sounds of the wasteland affectionately known by the Delaware Fighting Blue Hens as “The PCB,” I wondered out loud to my compatriots – How did we end up here?

It was our spring break and we were just looking for fast kicks and a rip-roaring time. We were seniors, after all, on deck to launch headfirst into the real world. This trip was more than a superficial jaunt; indeed, it was an epitaph to the adolescent experience.

“I feel cold,” said Adam, the runt of our group. It appeared we had been sold on Panama City under false pretenses –not knowing the temperature would stay tepid at best. The pools too chilly to prove inviting, the wind gusts blowing sand into our eyes as we squinted helplessly for the path ahead. In such a climate as this, there was only one thing left for us to do.

For our beers, it was always Wal-Mart. I saw the mammoth structure as a landmark of a bankrupt culture, a consumerist nightmare pulled straight from Philip K. Dick. According to lore, this particular Wal-Mart had outsold all others in alcohol sales over the previous three years. The place was, simply put, a madhouse …

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My day at the Faire

To start, let me just explain that I never, ever, ever intended to go to King Richard’s Faire.

These mother@#$%ers have been haunting my nightmares since fall 2009.

Flash back to two weeks earlier, when I was in the midst of prepping an excursion to WaterFire. As a senior I’d still never been, cementing it at the top of my bucket list. This was the last scheduled event of the year. I’d driven downtown, lingered at the mall for a few hours, and upon exiting Looper, I fell subject to the rain that would shut out my hopes of ever actually witnessing the impossible balance between fire and water.

My friends couldn’t understand why I was so upset. As past attendees, they’d assured me it was nothing special, and that the seminal 2009 Brown Noser article “WaterFire” “Enthralls” “Audience” was apropos. But I wasn’t convinced.

So when I was asked if I’d have any interest in checking out King Richard’s Faire, I immediately said yes. There was something instinctive about it. The opportunity was just so out of the ordinary, a complete departure from that comfortable routine I’ve fallen into as a fourth-year Brown student. I’m not sure if I wanted to do it, but I knew I had to. Who knows, maybe I could even find a nice wench maiden to bring home to Mom and Dad.

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