The sun shone brightly, like I give a crap. The O’Rourkes possess the Hibernian complexion best suited to sitting in dimly lit pubs – a result of millennia of Darwinian selection among Hibernians sitting in dimly lit pubs. We were coated inch-thick in sunscreen, SPF 100,000.

Posted at the entrance to the beach were the red-circle-diagonal-slash “prohibited” signs that have replaced the spread eagle as the symbol of the American republic. “No littering,” “no smoking,” “no cooking,” “no camping,” “no dogs,” “no glass containers,” “no alcohol,” “no bonfires.” I would have added “no photographs of meditative politicians walking on the shore” with a slash though a silhouette of JFK.

No alcohol or bonfires? I have a fuzzy memory of fondness for the beach when I was young. The fuzziness was from the beer we drank after building bonfires in the dunes in the middle of the night. This beach in Massachusetts closed at 7:30 PM, and beneath the beach prohibitions was another sign reading, “No Dunes.”

This last was simply a lie. There were dunes all around us. I consulted my wife who had spent two weeks Googling “beach” to make sure we had enough beach stuff to carry to the beach from the beach parking lot.