At last, no trip is complete without bringing home an armload of trinkets, postcards, and candy. When I was a kid, picking out a souvenir from vacation was a week-long, painstaking decision. I could pick out one thing, maybe two, if I played my cards right. I had to make sure I didn’t blow my pick on something stupid. The good thing about being an adult is getting to waste my money on whatever my little heart desires.
In fact, I can pick out a multitude of souvenirs now, and my first pick here is a winner — a Squirt Jackpot:
I guess this is technically a “squirt slot machine”, but let’s go along with the packaging and call it a “jackpot”. It’s kind of cute that way. What drew me to the the Jackpot is the box. I like this overdramatic illustration of the unsuspecting kid getting supersoaked. I’ve also always loved those packaged practical jokes, like the bug-in-an-ice-cube, or the candy that looks like a mint, but is actually something sinister, like FISH FLAVOR.
This joke is actually a pretty good one, because who can resist pulling the arm on the jackpot? The squirt is a big surprise, but the power of the squirt is not the grenade-explosion of sink water that the box suggests. Still, it is pretty damn good. I’d say it can shoot about a foot.
BONUS: look at this guy who sneaks out when you pull the arm down:
I love his face, his yellow hat! This would be pure comedy gold to a five year old.
The next thing I threw down three dollars for was Hoot Owl coasters —
Motherfuckin’ HOOT OWL coasters! Rock star. Bad ass. These speak to me. These communicate to me on a level of magical hoot owl love. I don’t know what any of this means. I’m just trying to convey the initial level of excitement I had upon seeing plastic coasters with owl faces on them.
Then I opened the box. What was inside was better in some ways, although I’ll always wish for authentic hoot owl coasters —
So what we have here is owl-shaped Atlantic City coasters. And they even have a little perch. What does any of it have to do with owls? Why owls, if you’re just going to replace the owl face anyway? Did the coaster mold at the plastics factory come only in owl?
Bonus Crap Jackpot: The plastic on these things is so crap, that the coasters themselves scratch the table. Forget about protecting the table from a water ring.
Now the postcards. Postcards are the essential beach souvenir, and I really hit the jackpot when one store I stopped in had a great selection of unsold postcards from the 80s. You know the shop owner is oblivious to the fact that these postcards are hilariously outdated.
I kinda wanted to find this exact spot on the Boardwalk and take a present-day photo, but it was just too damn cold to walk that far down on the Boardwalk. Lots of good in this picture though, from the kid’s outfit to the old Burger King and holy crap, even Roy Rogers logos.
Then’s there’s this bevy of beach beauties of 1987:
You’ve got crimped hair, real tans (not that tanning bed shade of orange), neon pink suits, and fake thongs. The lady in orange on the right didn’t have a thong suit; she just pulled that little bottom up her ass. Insta-thong. Look at the tell-tale tan line.
Here’s something for the ladies next:
Beef and Bunns! This one isn’t actually for the ladies though. It’s the Sudden Impact Male Revue. It’s for the boys. And then upon even closer inspection–and no one except me would ever inspect this postcard as closely as I did–you’ll see this treat:
I’m standing there like an asshole in Atlantic City’s Dollar Emporium, or where ever I was, whipping out a magnifying glass on these postcards, and suddenly asking out loud, “wait—isn’t Panama City in Florida?” This postcard is like a layer cake of unexpected joys.
Sadly, a google search for the Male Revue produces this:
‘No results found for “sudden impact male revue”.
Well I have just one souvenir left, but it’s a sweet one. We stopped at a store called IT’SUGAR, a store that specializes in candy and toys and novelty M&M boxer shorts. It’s really just an overpriced candy shop with a giant elephant made of jellybeans at its helm:
I hated the prices of the candy, but felt it necessary to buy something at a store that had a jellybean elephant. You gotta live by a code. I needed to give my money to the elephant. I chose these:
They were a jackpot.