Seeing things at the Jersey Shore

If you see things that really are not there – are you crazy? Maybe not. Maybe the ones who put the non-existent things there for you to see are the crazy ones.

If you see things that really are not there – are you crazy? Maybe not. Maybe the ones who put the non-existent things there for you to see are the crazy ones.

Recently, this surrealistic phenomenon of unreal “thereness” appeared in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. This shore town had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy last October, shutting down its boardwalk shops and rides. But in mid-May, England’s Prince Harry came to Jersey for a royal visit, and Gov. Chris Christie led him to the town’s boardwalk to highlight the people’s resilient spirit and determination to rebuild.

Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?

The shops and rides remained closed, yet, bizarrely, the prince saw bustling enterprises and kids having fun. Did his royal eyes deceive him? No, Christie did. The governor staged a business-as-usual visual for the visitor. Spiffed-up clam bars and hot dog stands were staffed with people who appeared to be preparing and serving food, but nothing was actually being cooked. Also, children were brought in to play darts, whiffle-ball, and other games at booths that had been opened, staffed, and stocked with prizes – just for the brief time of Harry’s pass-through.

Even the twisted skeleton of the town’s iconic roller coaster, which had been knocked into the ocean by the raging hurricane still sat in the waves. It was kept there as a prop to give the prince a sense of the fury the town had suffered. As he gazed at it for a few moments, a demolition crew was positioned out of sight, ready to dismantle it as soon as the governor and the prince departed.

A 7-year-old-girl, who got to talk with Harry at a game booth, later asked a reporter an impertinent question: “Is he a real life prince?” She she doubted it, for he had no cape or sword. But, yes, the prince was real – unlike the unreal images he saw on the boardwalk.

“A Governor and a Prince, Down at the Shore,” The New York Times, May 15, 2013.

“The royal arrival” Prince Harry set to tour Jersey Shore with Gov. Christie,” www.nj.com, May 14, 2013.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

Never miss a word from Hightower– sign up today:

Send this to a friend