We are a ritualistic species. We bury our dead, we participate in religions, we invent Ironman drinking games. For example, the annual 4th of July Hermosa Beach Ironman event, a 32 year-old tradition, which consists of a 1 mile beachfront run, a 1 mile surfboard paddle, and then a return to shore for a 6-pack of beer. First one to chug the beer (without vomiting) wins. What better way to celebrate our country's independence without gunfire?
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The city of Hermosa Beach, unsurprisingly, has taken a dim view of this event. (Check out this YouTube clip of last year's festivities, which drew about 500 people.) According to the Los Angeles Times, the city cannot shut down the event, although City Council members have been discussing ways to phase it out, citing excessive drinking, rowdy behavior, and the fact that it's scary for families. (Scary for the rest of us too, really.) Of course booze is not allowed on the beach in Hermosa any more than any other beach, but, says Hermosa Beach Police Chief Greg Savelli, "We can't cite 500 people. We don't have the manpower for that." The upside of budget cuts, I guess. At least if your idea of patriotic fun is throwing up on your surfboard.