Spring Break fever: A great and safe time was had by all

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Hey, students of all ages, it’s Spring Break, when you can stop partying on campus and start partying somewhere warm.

Everyone up north deserves to warm up a little. This has a been another relentless winter.

Actually, we also deserve a break from the cold and rain along the Texas Gulf Coast. The 70-degree days are nice, but right behind them comes another cold front to ruin spring.

I’ll never forget the Spring Break when some of my friends and I decided that we’d had enough school and studying for a while, not to mention the cold weather, and headed to Miami.

We flew there with the intention of experiencing the “traditional” Spring Break.

Our flight was delayed because the plane broke down. Back in those days, there wasn’t all that much security at airports. Nobody would have thought that terrorists would be targeting a plane taking a bunch of Spring Breakers to the promised land of non-stop parties, endless beaches and adult beverages. We were still naive. That would change.

We ate lunch courtesy of the airline, and waited patiently. No big deal. There was plenty of sunshine left.
When we went back to the gate area, I could see mechanics carrying some spare parts through the terminal. They said something about the part not fitting and using some duct tape. O.K., they didn’t say anything about duct tape.

A part had to be flown in, so the airline gave us all drink passes. Free booze until the plane got fixed. It kept the complaints down to a minimum.

I doubt they do that anymore. Now, they just let you sit on the tarmac if there is a delay and make you sweat in the plane.

But back when flying was still fun, we were treated well.

The plane was finally ready, and we had a nice flight. The pilot kept the cockpit door open all the time, and when I leaned out of my aisle seat, I could see the sky above through his window.

That would also change.

Again, free drinks on the plane. These guys knew how to keep a bunch of people who were delayed for hours happy.

By the time I got off the plane, I had a huge hangover. It was the airline’s fault.

The beach was good, the temperature was just right. Disney World was interesting, and the partying was decent. Not great, but decent enough.

I didn’t see any girls gone wild. Maybe we were at the wrong beach.

And, I made it back alive, although I really didn’t want to return, but school was calling. It wasn’t really calling, but I had to finish the semester. It would have been better to finish it on the beach, though.

So, all you lucky student types around here, the beach is right around the corner, and Spring Break is still party time. But be careful. Don’t become a Spring Break statistic.

More than 30 fatal accidents occurred during Spring Break last year due to drinking and driving. Don’t make dumb decisions that will cut your life short. Have a good time, but plan ahead. Stay where you are, catch a ride, or don’t drink.

Drinking and driving don’t mix. I wasn’t drinking and driving at the time when I considered myself invincible. I was drinking and flying.

Parents, talk to your kids about this, and help them out with rides, if needed.

Make sure they know that it is not smart to get into a car with an intoxicated driver, and that there is nothing cool about guzzling down so much booze that it makes things get out of control.

And, if they are under 21, obviously, it is against the law to drink, or even be present where there is drinking going on.

In 2014, there were 24,175 impaired-driving traffic crashes in Texas that resulted in 2,292 serious injuries and 969 deaths. Of those crashes, 54 percent involved drivers under the influence of alcohol in the age group of 17-34.

A good time can turn tragic in just a few seconds.

Stay safe and have a good time, so that when you get older, you also can tell your kids a story or two, or maybe even recount your experiences in a newspaper column.

So, dear readers, enjoy these two weeks of Spring Break, or stay away from the beach if you don’t like crowds.

I like the beach all to myself, so I’ll probably stay away, being a little longer in tooth than when I landed in Miami with a huge hangover decided that the beach could wait.

The flight back was routine. no delays, no free food, or adult beverages.

Probably for the best, since I had a full slate of classes the following day, one of the longest days of my life.