The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has released videos for the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest weekend.
It includes a stalwart lineup of community leaders, including Myrtle Beach Mayor Pro Tem Mike Chestnut, community activist Krystal Dotson, Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes and businessman Terrance Herriott, among others.
The most noteworthy choice is Violet “Heels” Lucas, an area biker who has attended Bikefest for more than 20 years.
Lucas is one of those dreaded Bikefest participants residents have called a variety of ugly names, from thugs and whores to things that can’t be printed in this space.
All she is, though, is someone who simply enjoys the area like the average local or tourist, which is typical of most Bikefest participants.
“The Myrtle Beach area is my home,” she says in the video. “I live here, I work here and I love my community. ... I enjoy riding just as anyone else. I respect the laws and ask that you do the same.”
She ends the way each of the videos does.
“When you come, be safe, have fun and follow the law.”
The videos are welcoming rather than threatening, though incomplete.
Had the chamber asked me to participate, my message would have been something like this:
Fellas, you’ve seen butts before. Big butts. Little butts. Medium-sized butts. Butts in jeans. Butts in cut-off shorts and bikini bottoms. Butts on the back of bikes.
Butts in twerking videos and in church dresses; butts in yoga pants.
Bikefest butts are nothing new.
Remember when your coach told you to “act like you’ve been there before” when you scored a touchdown, or your teacher when you aced a test?
During Memorial Day weekend, don’t forget that message.
Hormones are hard to tame, particularly in young minds and bodies, I know.
Still, you’ve seen butts before. Act like it.
Ladies, here’s something people don’t say often but should say more:
Dudes are going to be attracted to you no matter what you wear. You could put on a burlap sack and that basic reality won’t change.
You don’t have to try so hard to get attention; you’ll be getting it any way.
But that’s coming from a 42-year-old husband and father of two trying to forget the overwhelming allure of such things when he was your age, and that such behavior is prevalent all summer long — not just during Bikefest — and is mostly harmless.
Here’s something you should keep in mind:
A lot of people in the Myrtle Beach area are hoping you step out of line, wanting you to fail the way Rush Limbaugh said he wanted President Obama to fail.
They will be looking for every mistake you make, will amplify every problem you create.
They will assign to you mishaps that have nothing to do with you, as though local criminals take a break during Memorial Day weekend.
They’ve demanded the National Guard be unleashed to babysit you, or worse. As of now, you’ll be greeted with the largest law enforcement presence the Grand Strand has at anytime of the year.
They believe you are dangerous, a menace.
A person wrote to this newspaper to say that warmly welcoming you to the area is akin to “solving the world’s problems with ISIS with a big handshake.”
You are seen, by many, as an invading army.
The bad actions of a relative few in your midst will be blamed on every one of you in a way it never is for any other event in our area.
Residents say they want real tourists and real families who spend money, as though you don’t fit the description.
I’ve even had a few tell me they plan to greet you with weapons.
Yes, many of those complaining about your behavior spent years coming to Myrtle Beach doing what they are condemning you for.
So, please, be safe, have fun and follow the law.
But understand what you are facing.
Many in this community don’t respect you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect yourself.