This is despite the ‘reporting’ of a no less reputable news source than the venerable Co-ed.com, which identified Fort Myers Beach – my home – as the Ninth Trashiest Spring Break Destination.
Now I could spend a few words addressing the trustworthiness of the source of this information. After all my first attempt to access this first-class reporting on this critical issue was blocked because the site was identified as pornographic, but I thought addressing the claim might be more my style.
You see the fact that people come into my community to misbehave does not make my community trashy. Families live at Fort Myers Beach. Children are raised here. Good people live their lives here.
I know. I have raised three kids here. We have well-attended churches. We have an elementary school. We have a town-owned rec center with wonderful children’s programs. We have things Spring Breakers seldom see.
It is true that people misbehave here. Folks come here to enjoy our year-round sunshine and first-class beaches. There are bars here. There is a strip club. There is a beach-front hotel that encourages the kind of activity Co-ed.com relies on.
But I want to try to explain something to the people at Co-ed.com.
When you walk your dog in your neighbor’s yard and refuse to clean up after him it’s not because your neighbor’s yard is trashy. It’s because you are.
People come into my community and behave in ways they would never consider behaving in their own community. They flock here from college towns all over the east and the Midwest. They drink to excess and they fornicate with relative strangers. They do drugs and act foolish and sometimes they get arrested. I assume this is the behavior Co-ed.com defines as trashy.
That does not make my community trashy. That makes them trashy.
So when a couple hundred drunks gathers on the beach for a booty-shaking contest, when they swill too much booze and grope strangers and they are here from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and whichever college town has turned them loose that week, it doesn’t mean we’re trashy.
It means they are