There have been times in my life where I’ve been on the precipice of death from laughing too hard. Sometimes, I witness something so funny my body shuts down. It becomes impossible to breathe and I lose control of all my motor functions, collapsing onto the floor into a convulsing mess. My laugh turns into more of a scream, and if it’s really intense, I might pee my pants a tiny bit.
Two things I never forget: the times I’ve laughed the hardest and embarrassing moments from high school. I definitely have a “Top 10” but that article would be way too long and nobody has the attention span for that anymore. So I chose one.
Ocean Shitty, Maryland
This story takes place in Ocean City, Maryland, AKA Ocean Shitty, Maryland AKA the much less famous OC, in the summer of 2004. I was a Junior in high school and my Dad invited me and my best friend on a beach trip with him to Ocean City. Being 17 and excited at the prospect of meeting new girls in a strange place, we jumped at the chance to go.
Being 17 in a place like this is a weird transition. We’re not old enough for bars but not young enough for the usual Boardwalk touristy stuff. Thankfully, we had purchased one of our first bags of weed and were sneaking around all over the place smoking it with soda cans, repacking cigarettes, making shitty bongs out of plastic bottles, no method was out of the question. We had our own hotel room and balcony adjacent to my Dad. Most nights consisted of waiting for him to go to sleep and then smoking and laughing at things on TV. I think the most daring thing we did was go to Dunkin Donuts higher than satellites and struggled to order for 15 minutes, laughing the entire time and irritating the poor bastard making minimum wage.
“Sir, can you please just order?”
We also drank shitty Coors light that we had a stranger buy for us. We met some college girls from the University of Pittsburgh but I let it slip that we were still in high school and they wanted nothing to do with us. I didn’t spit a good game back then. Or now.
After a while, boredom kicked in. Two dudes drinking/smoking together gets old pretty quickly, and the teen club down the street was awful. We needed something to occupy our time. Since smartphones weren’t a thing yet and we weren’t about to channel our boredom into anything productive, we decided to fuck with people.
I’m thinkin’ of a master plan
One day, we’d had our fill of the beach so we go to the next best thing OC had to offer, Burger King. When you’re a bored teenager without a car, you hang out at fast food establishments within walking distance. It’s just what you do. Eat shitty food, loiter outside and make older people feel uncomfortable walking in, and get in fights with other teenagers that are doing the same thing. Fast food parking lots are dumping grounds for misguided teenage angst.
We go to Burger King and get one of those MASSIVE sodas. The kind they don’t sell anymore because America is the fattest country on Earth and selling 96 oz. sodas is a bad PR look. I thought nothing of it at the time. Little did I know, it was about to make me nearly poop my pants. And not from food poisoning.
The soda I purchased
We return to the hotel looking for something we can do to make ourselves laugh. The elevator is temporarily broken so we walk up the stairwell with the rest of the hotel guests. The stairwell is PACKED, we go to our floor and once we open the door, inspiration hits. It’s a standard door that you see in every hotel room stairwell, but something caught out eye this time, the swinging arm mechanism on top.
The door hinge plus the completely full 400 oz. soda that I hadn’t even taken a sip of multiplied by the boredom we were facing at the time created some parallel thinking where we both arrived at the same conclusion.
Make it rain
We went to the 12th floor and set our trap for the next innocent, unlucky bastard who chose to take the healthy route and walk down the stairs. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the 12th-floor hotel guests) the elevator had started working again so the traffic in the stairwell had died down. Most people that go to Ocean City are overweight so the stairs are usually filled with cobwebs.
Nobody is walking through so we start to get discouraged and move down a few floors. People aren’t going to walk 12 flights of stairs but they will definitely walk 3. So we re-set out trap on the third floor, balancing the gargantuan soda atop the door hinge. We then walk up half a flight of stairs to hide from our potential victim and wait patiently for the magic to happen.
Then…nothing. We’ve been sitting in the stairwell like a couple of idiots for 10 minutes and not one person walked through the door. Our anticipation was palpable at first, now we were even more bored than before. Our genius plan had backfired. Our giddiness and excitement were turning into disappointment. You ever have a plan or idea that you’re sure is going to work but then doesn’t? It’s a weird feeling when your intuition is wrong, you wonder if you should ever trust it again.
Then it happened. I hear a Mom faintly yelling at her family on the other side of the stairwell door. Her voice gets louder and less muffled as she approaches the stairwell. Our faces light up, we stare at each other with wide gazes and open mouths, too nervous to move for fear we may ruin the moment. The door cracks open, all I can hear is the rustling of what sounds like 4-5 beach bags packed with gear. And then:
“TELL CALEB TO GRAB HIS SANDALS. MEET ME DOWNSTAIR-”
She doesn’t finish her sentence as an estimated 200 ice cubes and 400 ounces of soda completely destroy whatever good day she was having. I hear the waterfall splatter on her head, bags, and the floor. The empty cup bounces around a few times with that hollow “boop boop” sound followed by 5 seconds of silence. She’s processing what happened and probably wondering what strange liquid she was doused with. We’re sitting a flight of stairs up staring at each other in complete amazement, it was so funny at first that our brains didn’t know how to react.
She finally broke the silence with, “Oh you son of a BITCH“. The emphasis she had on BITCH was a thing of beauty. I’ve never heard such anger and frustration put into a single word in my life.
That’s when the moment hit both of us like a ton of bricks. We start laughing about as hard as human beings can laugh, which is a problem since this woman can hear us and now knows we were responsible for her impromptu shower. We sprint upstairs and through the hotel hallway as fast as our seizing lungs will allow.
I fell down several times on the way back to the room at full speed because my body couldn’t decide which action to focus on, laughing or escaping. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t process thoughts, my brain was just a loop of that moment that got funnier every single time. Tears streamed out of my eyes and I had tunnel vision as my brain struggled to get oxygen.
Throughout the rest of the vacation, that scene played in my head countless times and I would start laughing uncontrollably while we were eating lunch with my Dad or at the beach. I didn’t care. I had never heard something that funny in my entire life and to this day, few things have made me laugh as hard.
I realize in retrospect what a GIANT asshole move. This woman probably had taken an hour to pack everything up, motivate her family and kids to get dressed, made several trips back and forth to pick up things she forgot, just for two bored idiot teenagers to make her do it all again. Her whole day fell apart in an instant, her positive attitude shattered to pieces and her entire schedule rearranged.
There is nothing worse than something ruining your clothes and attitude right as your day starts. I guarantee she still thinks about it to this day, wishing she could have caught us and beat the shit out of us. We definitely deserved it.
Anyway, after that, we saw some guys get pulled over at gunpoint, watched The Village, and my friend got acid reflux disease. That’s how Ocean City usually goes, you have one moment of fun, the rest of it is disappointing, and you leave with a strange disease.