When you’re on vacation, the temptation is to eat every meal out. You’ve slaved in the kitchen for the last 50 weeks, and dammit, you want someone else to cook your chicken nuggets for you.
But as my wife Melinda and I have discovered, feeding a family of five a dozen times at a restaurant isn’t only be hard on the wallet, it’s also hard on the body.
I never have any self control when it comes to ordering at restaurants. It’s impossible for me to look at a chicken caesar salad and go “oh, that looks good.” Instead, I find the most ridiculous thing on the menu and go for it. Double bacon reuben? Sign me up. Seventh Circle of Hell Jalapeño cheeseburger? I’m your guy. At this point, I’d probably look at a sandwich called You Will Certainly Die From All Of This Salted Meat and Cheese and go “that’s the one for me.”
That type of shit will really wreck a vacation. Pun intended.
So on this year’s trip to Myrtle Beach, Melinda and I decided we’d only go out to dinner once. Rather than searching Yelp or however tourists find restaurants, we took some advice from a sketchy fat dude we met at the pool. “Go to the Boathouse on Fantasy Island Boulevard,” he said. “They have the best wings.”
We’re always suckers for good wings, and honestly, how could we go wrong eating on Fantasy Island Boulevard? That sounds like a street you encounter in your wildest dreams!
The parking lot of the Boathouse was jammed when we got there on Friday night, and I had to wait for a giant white F650 to edge its way out to get a spot.
“That’s a good sign, right?” Melinda said.
It became immediately apparent that the Boathouse was not a tourist destination. Motorcycles lined the front porch, their doo-ragged owners standing in a loose circle drinking Miller Lites and shots of Fireball from tiny plastic cups. The gentleman whom I took to be the host wore a t-shirt that read “Fuck Boy Patrol.” “Y’all drinkin’ with us tonight?” he asked.
I looked at the 2 year old in my arms. “We’re here for dinner,” I said.
“Y’all DRINKIN’ with dinner?”
I said yes, and after we handed him our IDs, he put fluorescent orange bands on our right wrists. The bands read: ATTORNEY AXELROD – DUI – 843.916.9300.
Not only did these wristbands confirm EXACTLY what sort of place the Boathouse was going to be, I was beyond impressed with Attorney Axelrod’s marketing ingenuity. Get popped for a dewey on the way home from the Boathouse? Attorney Axelrod’s got your back, bro.
I have to be honest. I had an absolute BLAST at the Boathouse. It wasn’t dirty or trashy per se, but it was abundantly clear that this was the sort of place where shit went DOWN.
It also seemed like the primary method of communication was through clothing. Our waitress wore a tank top that read “You Ain’t Worth A Whiskey,” and over the course of our meal, I saw one guy wearing a shirt that said “Troll Clothing Co: Working Harder than an Ugly Stripper” and a dude in a camo hat whose shirt had a cartoon of four geese on it that read “Fat Bottom Geese Make the Cluckin’ World Go Round.”
The piece de resistance was a guy with a biker-style goatee and a chain wallet so thick it could’ve been used to dock a tugboat. He wore a backwards hat that had printed on it in block letters: “SHOW ME THAT BUTTHOLE.” Not exactly a subtle pickup strategy, but I bet it was effective for his target audience.
I had a duck BLT for dinner that was fucking DELICIOUS. Fat pool guy was right. This place was incredible.
When the country band in the next room started up, I got the fire. You know the fire: that little flame inside you that makes you want to cut loose and make bad choices. The type of bad choices that make Attorney Axelrod a lot of money.
“I’m going to have one more beer and then we can go,” I told Melinda.
She frowned and looked at the kids. “It’s getting late.”
Fucking A, man. The one time I get to go out to eat, I’ve got a curfew. All I wanted to do was relax and have fun and maybe show some redneck my butthole.
But that’s how it goes when you have kids. I had to remind myself I’m not 25 anymore, that I’m no longer a member of the Fuck Boy Patrol, and that Fireball now gives me terrible heartburn.
“Forget it,” I said. “Let’s go home.”
And so we did.