Despite living in D.C. for quite a number of years, I’d never been to the Delaware beaches. Horror stories of traffic and vague childhood memories of Jersey beaches had always extinguished any desires for sand and waves. But yesterday, desperation for a vacation won, and I headed to Dewey Beach with a couple of friends. There was no traffic, the weather was gorgeous, the waves were big enough to send you scraping along the ocean floor, and I had the Atlantic Monthly fiction issue—-nothing to complain about there.

But just as we were cracking open our beers (to be considerate, we even brought cans instead of bottles) and digging out our Frisbee, we watched a devastating scene unfold. Not far away from us, two guys had the same idea; they were throwing a Frisbee while drinking some beers. The lifeguard jumped down from his stand, sprinted across the beach, and made the guy pour out his beer in a trash can. He then returned to his stand, blew his whistle at these same guys, and through crazy arm gestures, indicated that throwing a Frisbee is forbidden. Why he didn’t mention this while he was beside the guys, I don’t know. I wasn’t too surprised about the alcohol, because, well, this is America. But you can’t play with a Frisbee on the BEACH? That is just absurd. In fact, along with many other rules, adults (who have better aim than kids) aren’t allowed to play with most airborne objects during the prime beach hours.

It was still a great day, and I managed to sneak several beers despite the lifeguard spending as much time facing the beach as he did the ocean. And to our great satisfaction, two of our friends managed to toss around a tennis ball in the ocean without getting the whistle. Apparently it’s much safer to play with airborne objects in the ocean than on the sand.