Spring Break Is Still Decadent and Depraved — and Awesome, Dude!

Try as it might, Fort Lauderdale can't shake some diehard seasonal partiers

Later, Brad said, he asked the guy what had happened, and the guy said, "I was railing this chick in there. We were pounding on the side of the bed there, and we fell off and her foot went out the window... I told the manager and he thought it was so funny he let the chick stay. He was gonna kick her out and still make her pay. Now she still has to pay, but she can stay here for the week."

Kacey drove 16 hours from the University of Kentucky to get blotto on the beach.
C. Stiles
Kacey drove 16 hours from the University of Kentucky to get blotto on the beach.

As the sun sank and the crowds cleared, a group of guys from Ball State lingered on the beach, which was littered with plastic cups and beer cans. One, his brown hair in a Mohawk, chased a seagull as the others laughed. They were drunk.

On A1A, two tipsy girls in black swimsuits tried to cross at Vistamar Street. One girl walked into traffic, and then, confused by her friend calling her name, turned around and walked back. Car horns blasted at her, but they couldn't sober her up. A man in the back of a passing cab yelled, "Suck cock, whore!"

A homeless man with a beard and a beer in a paper bag approached the guys on the beach. "You got a quarter or some change, man? You guys got any change for a donation?"

The Mohawk kid got close to him. "Nah, man, we're on the beach," he said. "We don't have any money at the beach." The homeless man looked down. The kid stepped closer. "You like weed?" he asked. "We could get you some weed."

"What I could really use is a nice big crack rock," the homeless man said with a half-laugh.

"Yeah, OK. We'll get you some crack. You show up right here at this spot tomorrow morning, we'll get you crack. We feel you, man. Right here, tomorrow, after breakfast."

The homeless man seemed skeptical. "Alright, tomorrow."

As night fell and the beach darkened, the other side of A1A lit up. Brett and Paris and the Indiana gang were at Howl at the Moon, the bar with dueling pianos on the third floor of BeachPlace. The two piano players took turns playing the fight songs of Indiana University and Purdue, fierce in-state rivals. They'd play the song of one school until fans from the other put enough cash in the jar of their piano player, going back and forth, IU, Purdue, IU, Purdue. "Is that all you got?" the Indiana player said to the crowd. "Guess the Purdue fans just care more." The IU fans booed. The Purdue song played. And then an IU fan put $400 in the Indiana jar and said "I think Indiana just won."

Downstairs, at Fat Tuesday, a bouncer closely inspected what was supposed to be a South Carolina driver's license. He looked at the young men before him, who were wearing Theta Chi shirts. "Don't you ever, ever come back here with these," he said, handing the ID back to the spring breakers, who quickly headed for the stairs.

"Fuck that," one of them said. "These things work everywhere in Bloomington. It just cost me 40 dollars to get my ID back from down the street."

"This is supposed to be the place where everyone gets drunk and everyone gets laid," another one complained.

In time, the other side of A1A went dark and the sun rose on another day of spring break. The beach slowly filled with tan young people. Girls arranged their towels in groups and discussed life's stresses while wearing $300 sunglasses and $200 bathing suits that can't get wet. Many wore heels to the beach. Toned, tanned guys tossed footballs and waded in the ocean. Banners flown by small airplanes advertised drink specials and car insurance. For a moment, at the right angle, it could have been 1985; put larger hair on the girls and it could have been 1960. But even Where the Boys Are has a dark side — one of the girls, played by Yvette Mimieux, gets date-raped.

The bearded homeless man came back the next morning, wearing the same blue jeans and black shirt. He spotted the Ball State kid with the Mohawk, who was sprawled on a towel on the sand. "Hey, you said to meet you here," the homeless man said.


"You said I should come back in the morning."

"Oh! Oh yeah." He turned to his friends: "This is the guy who wanted crack." A small group gathered by the homeless man.

The Mohawk kid picked up a small white rock. "Here it is!" he said, raising the pebble. His friends cackled.

"You said you had crack, man."

"Yeah, yeah, this is crack... Where's your pipe?"

His friends chimed in: "Smoke that crack rock, we got it for you."

Eventually they got the man to put the pebble in a small glass pipe he had.

"I know it's not crack," the man said. "I've seen a crack cocaine rock. I'm not a crazy idiot."

One of the kids turned his back for a moment. "Fine. Here, we're sorry," he said. "Have a beer, man. We're sorry we tried to get you to smoke a rock that wasn't crack."

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