Ever since my parents found out about the Internet, and, clever elders that they are, realized they could read my contributions to Street online, penning my Spring Break memoirs has risks. But given the fact I will be spending this break at home in Chicago, watching my past two Spring experiences reenacted on MTV, I figure I've got time to smooth things over -- or convince them I was tricked into writing this, which sometimes works.

Stranger things have happened than my consecutive March excursions to cheesy frat infested destinations -- but not quite. I do not believe in a "Spring Break type," because simply put, by the ninth tequila shot, everyone is lifting their hands and shirts over their heads and chanting in swells of Spring Break delirium. Though I will admit my hands were up, it was only in surrender.

Whatever location you choose to celebrate noncelebacy, a standard set of rules applies. As a preemptive, the only way to do this break is never to take your foot off the brake. Otherwise the poolside scenery will make you feel carsick. Pay attention to these rules -- if for no other reason than spring break is crucial training time for Fling.

1. Don't bring any reading material heavier than Us Weekly, because it will make you look dumb .

2. Go ahead and drink the water because you'll probably be puking it up soon enough anyway.

3. Don't bother learning the native tongue, but do polish up on your Spring Break vocabulary and elocution. Popular addendums to spice any philosophical club-hopping debate are a.) "I was so wasted last night." Or alternatively: "b.) I am so hung-over today." The great thing about these two catch phrases is universality and versatility. It doesn't matter how out of context they are because they are both usually true. If you think you're ready, you can move on to the Spring Break mating call, which is: "Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo." There are some pitch related subtleties, but I cannot teach you everything.

4. Learn the metric system so you can check the temperature in the Jacuzzi, to make sure that it is hot enough to blight any lingering bacteria, STD's, bodily fluids, what have you. If this is not possible (damn Centigrade) do a toe-dip and hop in either way -- because bathing in your own shame is always fun and ironic.

5. Go for gonorrhea, because with herpes you'll be like every other blister in the sun. But gonorrhea on the other hand, is a badge of honor that will make you glitter, or maybe just foam at the mouth. Plus, sources in the medical and fashion worlds agree (i.e. my premed friend and I) that herpes is so SB '04.

6. Cornrows are the worst disease you can pick up on Spring Break. The only thing that hurts more than the singed grid on your scalp as a result of these frustratingly small braids, is looking back at the pictures of you in them. Intoxication is temporary, but being ugly is not.

As a Spring Break retiree I lend you this wisdom, but know that it's OK to make mistakes. My mom used to always tell me before I went out anywhere: "No sex, no drugs and hold hands when you cross the street." I say, avoid doing two out of three at the same time. For example, give yourself a gold star for not "having sex while crossing the street," or "doing drugs while holding hands." If nothing else, try not to get your Day-Glo club bracelet stuck on anyone's zipper (in other words, commit yourself to any sort of lasting relationship). Nevertheless, these romances tend to have a temporary visa, which makes Spring Breaking up easy to do. Just make sure to hold hands when you cross the border.


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