JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The boardwalk: Breeding ground for lemmings

Beach boardwalks are the breeding grounds for lemmings.

This doesn’t sound especially complimentary, which makes me happy. Because it’s not.

Te family returned from four fun-packed days in Ocean City, N.J. Great times, great friends, insanely unhealthy food. Wonderful all around.

However, as I cruised the boardwalk day after day, I kept returning to one thing: Cool Story, Bro.

That’s the phrase inked onto, oh, hundreds upon hundreds of T-shirts and sweatshirts and the like. It’s a line from Jersey Shore (a show I’ve never watched for more than 10 seconds), and the interpretation is: That story sucks, and you’re a loser.

Thinking back to my own young days, I recall everyone in my camp owning T-shirts that read, “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.” That line was delivered by Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, and we youngin’s found it absolutely hilarious. So, when things strike kids as absolutely hilarious, what do they do? Buy clothing with the message screen printed. It’s one of the earliest lessons in lemmingology—when all the other “cool” kids do something, follow. As adults, we adhere to this often, via cars, clothes, houses, schools, etc. We may well mock stupid things like boardwalk T-shirts, but the issue here isn’t substance, but layers.

The lemming who purchases a BMW to impress the guys at work is wealthier than the kid in the Cool Story, Bro T-shirt. But not much different …