On the first Thursday of every May is Ocean City's answer to Punxsutawney Phil, the ground hog predictor of Spring. Surrounded by beach, bikinis, and bands--the Ocean City High School Band always plays "Pomp and Circumstance"--Martin Z. Mollusk creeps three feet to the Circle of Truth. If Ocean City's official hermit crab sees his shadow--Big Mama Llama (yes, it's a real llama) shakes her head if there's a shadow--summer comes a week early. Summer always comes a week early in Ocean City--except for 1985 when Martin only saw half of his shadow; summer came only three and a half days early that year.
Soifer gave Ocean City its motto and persona of "the World's Greatest Family Resort." Numerous travel publications agree. A Gallup Poll in 2012 declared Ocean City as the "best performer" in the nation in the category of low levels of anger and depression. After all, how can anyone be angry or depressed being part of some of the silliest contests on the East Coast, and watching an agile, still athletic 81-year-old satirist proudly wearing tights and a cloth trash can, with a trash can lid on his head--he's known as Trashbuster--reminding people to protect the environment, recycle, and clean up their trash?
[Walter Brasch's latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, available at local bookstores, www.greeleyandstone.com, and amazon.com]
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