As summer begins, newspapers across the nation invariably pause to remind their accident-prone readers about recurring summertime hazards – sunburn, fireworks and shark-infested waters, among others.
You know how it goes: “Summer’s here and so are the sharks. Remember to put on plenty of sun block before you venture out to the beach. Sharks hate sun block…”
Unfortunately, there’s another particularly nasty variety of Northern California menace that you seldom read about but which can to prove to be just as dangerous as swarming yellow jackets or errant bottle rockets.
Yes, I’m talking about Big Drunk Crazy Guys on Their Way to The Lake.
These 275-pounders emerge from their winter lairs in late May, immediately consume a 12-pack of beer and then, toting an ice chest on each shoulder, hippity-hop out to their three-ton SUVs.
Know them. Fear them. But don’t try to stop them. They’re on their way to “The Lake” and it doesn’t particularly matter which lake as long as it’s wet and will accommodate their fluorescent lime green ski boats.
(Yes, they’re always fluorescent lime green, usually with a name like “Jugs” painted on the stern. That’s just the way it is…)
Big Drunk Crazy Guys on Their Way to The Lake are usually observed in one of three places:
* Driving on your side of the road, listing slightly to port.
* At The Lake.
* Up to their wheel wells in The Lake.
Admittedly, a Big Drunk Crazy Guy en route to his favorite body of water may present a significant threat to other summertime motorists in his immediate vicinity. But things can only get worse once our hardy traveler finally arrives at his destination. That’s where he’s instantly transformed into a Big Drunk Crazy Guy at The Lake.
Enjoy the fishing, campers…
Once at the lake, our hero may metamorphose into a variety of other unique but equally dire summertime hazards.
He may become the Big Drunk Crazy Guy with a Barbecue (“Hey, buddy, toss that gas can over here, willya?”).
Or he may become the Big Drunk Crazy Guy with a Chain Saw (“Gotta find some kindling – wonder if anybody’s using that old dock?”).
Then we have the ubiquitous Big Drunk Crazy Guy with a Flare Pistol.
Trouble usually starts when our Big Drunk Crazy Guy at The Lake begins rummaging through the storage compartment of his ski boat in search of a bottle opener. Instead, he stumbles across the 12-gauge flare pistol that some safety-minded boating companion left behind three or four summers ago.
At best, a nearby tent trailer will be burned to the ground in approximately six minutes. At worst, Plumas County will be burned to the ground in roughly six minutes.
Perhaps the most terrifying of these personalities, though, is the Big Drunk Crazy Guy at The Lake with a Watermelon.
Give one of these bigger-than-life beer fanciers a watermelon and he’s as likely to lob it through your cabin window as he is to drop it on your dachshund or heave it at a fellow Big Drunk Crazy Guy in a passing ski boat – usually prompting return fire from the latter’s flare pistol.
And you were worried about sunburn…
Originally published June 17, 2001