In Wisconsin Dells, I went to the Big Sky Twin Drive- In to see the double feature of The Hangover Part II and Fast Five. To me, Drive-Ins are one of those things that my generation has all over anything that the entertainment-rich youngsters of today have. Back in the day, for a couple of bucks you could see a double-feature in the comfort of your own car – sometimes dusk-to-dawn ‘B’ horror flicks where it was a challenge to stay awake for all the shows. If you got to the Drive-In early, there were teeter-totters and swings for the younger ones to play on and one of those spinning rides that dared you to try to kill everyone by spinning it as hard as you could and throwing them off. As you got older, the chances of you moving a date to the next level increased dramatically at the drive-in (at least in your mind).
At the Big Sky, the crowd had a couple of people like me (including one guy on a blanket next to me who looked just like Steven Wright), the rest being a very young crowd who seemed to enjoy the opportunity to chain-smoke throughout the shows without parental interference. There was one blast-from-the-past as I watched a small car full of kids roll into the front row, then pop the trunk to let two tiny girls out who had avoided the entry fee. Ahh, memories…
The skeeters were in fine form from the beginning. In researching Alaska, I found reports of skeeters the size of small birds, hoards of no-see-um gnats, and other various insects intent on draining you of all fluids. I was armed with some bottles of Avon Skin-So-Soft Insect Repellent that got some pretty good reviews.
Now, this is not the old Skin-So-Soft that people have used for years as a bug guard. As a sports official for over 25 years, I had discovered that the old SSS was great for keeping your sanity when the swarms hit. In Georgia, the no-see-ums were fierce! If you didn’t have protection, you looked forward to a week of scratching those big red welts. But the original SSS didn’t keep the gnats off – the thick liquid actually drowned the little buggers and they became stuck. After a long night of softball, it wasn’t unusual for my arms to look like someone had liberally sprinkled pepper all over them.
The locals in Kings Bay, GA had another way of keeping the sand gnats off. The well water there had a tremendous amount of sulfur content and stunk to high heaven. The good ole boys drank this god-awful stuff and swore that the stink that came out of their sweat pores kept the little biters away. Definitely one instance where the cure might have been worse than the affliction….
Anyway, the new Skin-So-Soft worked very well. Non-greasy, good smelling, I applied it liberally to all exposed areas. Well, almost all. After feeling confident in my protection, I kicked off my sandals and enjoyed the show. When I got back to the motel, I found that the bottoms of my feet looked like cobblestones. After some reflection, I didn’t begrudge the biters – I decided that those bugs must have been desperate. To approach MY feet and drill through that thick hide – they deserved anything they could get!