My naked toddlers almost got arrested down the Jersey Shore: @jeffedelstein
If you’re a parent of toddlers or babies, do yourself a favor and stay out of Spring Lake. Why? Well, they might end up in jail for 90 days.
That’s the situation my wife and I found ourselves in last week when we decided to rinse off our children — ages 2 and 4 — before we drove home from our day at the beach..
Yep, that’s right: We took off their bathing suits and hosed down their sandy butts under the boardwalk shower. The horror.
“You can’t do that. Spring Lake is not that kind of place,” said a man, later identified to me by a police officer – oh yes, the police were involved – as “the beach supervisor.” (By the way, “the beach supervisor” is best said in a thick, cinematic 1940s German accent.)
So the beach supervisor says this to me, and I, man of a million words, just stared back at him. I was struck dumb by what he was saying.
To be clear: We ripped the bathing suit off my boy, stuck him under the shower, put a towel around him. Same thing with my daughter. The beach supervisor apparently stumbled into the scene at the midway point. If memory serves, my son was singing a happy tune while in the altogether. And that’s when the supervisor told us Spring Lake “is not that kind of place” and that we couldn’t do what we were doing.
So what did we do? What any other decent parent of small children with sand up their respective wazoos would do: Ignored the guy and finished what we started.
Please note the guy did not come up to us, make a little joke, maybe tell us to hurry up. Nope. He just went right into the deep end. And he kept going, as the next thing I hear him say is this: “I’ve got two naked people on the boardwalk.”
He was saying this into his phone. To the police. I know it was the police because a policeman showed up a minute later, with the supervisor screaming “that’s them!” as we started walking down the boardwalk steps.
The policeman stopped us when we got to street level. He surveyed the scene. He looked … perplexed.
“You were naked?” he asked my wife, clearly not quite believing what he was saying.
“No,” my wife said. “They were.” The “they,” again, are our children. Ages 2 and 4.
To his great credit, the police officer saw fit to let us – well, really the kids – off with a verbal warning.
Not to his great credit, the beach supervisor of Spring Lake saw fit to call in the police because a 2-year-old girl was naked for a few moments.
Velcome to Spring Lake, Herr Edelstein!
Of course, being the diligent reporter type, I later called the supervisor (no return call) and I checked out Spring Lake’s borough code, and yep, right there, code number 114-12 reads: “No person or persons shall disrobe or dress or undress on the beachfront or in the water adjacent thereto or on public streets or in public places or motor vehicles or any other vehicles on the streets of the Borough or on or under the boardwalk immediately adjacent to the beachfront.”
Which means, according to the law, a baby can’t even get his diaper changed on the Spring Lake beach. Or the Spring Lake boardwalk. Or a Spring Lake street. Or if the baby’s car happens to be parked in Spring Lake.
To put a finer point on this, the Coppertone baby would be in deep doo-doo should she ever have her dog nip at her bikini bottom in Spring Lake.
Anyway, the fines for this type of infraction? Under “general penalty,” it reads things like: “the maximum penalty … imprisonment in the county jail for any term not exceeding 90 days, or by a fine not exceeding $2,000 …”
Well, whew. Thanks to a police officer exercising his right to not slap the cuffs on my children — because, after all, that’s what the statute reads, makes no mention of “responsible parties” or the like, meaning it was my criminally-minded children (have I mentioned they’re 2 and 4?) who would be on the receiving end of the summons — we were able to get out of town before the wall went up.
You can be sure Spring Lake got their last beach fee out of me.
A quintet of final thoughts …
1) With the beach supervisor repeatedly saying “Spring Lake is not that kind of place,” I finally said back to him, “Not family friendly?” He went right back to his “not that kind of place” statement. Now, I could take that to mean a few things, like socioeconomic code for “if you don’t own a house here, we don’t want you here,” but me, being a more magnanimous sort, will instead believe all he meant was “Spring Lake is not that kind of place, a place where we actively work to prevent diaper rash from sandy bottoms.”
2) There were onlookers to this event, as you might imagine. They cheered when the police officer made his obvious decision.
3) Question: If you don’t rinse your sandy-bottomed kids off before you put them back in the car, and thus expose them to what’s surely going to be a horrible rash, would a call to DYFS be reasonable?
4) Why Spring Lake? We were actually going to Belmar, but on first pass couldn’t find a parking spot right at the beach, so we kept going.
5) I’m thinking about staging a Spring Lake sit-in. Everyone comes with their babies and toddlers, we get them all sandy and naked, and then we march on the boardwalk, screaming things like, “Please don’t bash us, we just don’t want rashes!”
Guess The Coppertone kid would get a summons and the dog would get put in jail for attacking and exposing the kids bottom. “Book em Danno. Exposure of bottom to the PC Police. ”