For many years a large part of the American Dream was a job — or at least the opportunity to land a job. And why was this “right to work” so important? Was it so one could feel imbued with a sense of belonging in an increasingly dehumanizing society? Was it so one could feed, shelter and clothe kith and kin?
Mostly the right to work — the desire and drive to earn a salary – can be summed up in one word – VACATION. Everyone deserves a vacation. But you can’t have a vacation unless you have a job you can take time off from so you can go on one. If you have a job, you can have a vacation and go someplace for a week. If you don’t have a job and you go someplace for a week, you’re just wandering about.
Many high level recruiters use vacations to lure prospective employees: “We’ll give you a gigantic salary, a swell office, a 401K and 3 weeks paid vacation!”
“We’ll give you 4 weeks paid vacation!”
I rarely consider jobs that don’t offer me 4 weeks of work and 48 weeks of vacation.
Vacation is a way to make believe that seeing a sunset or a bunch of unfamiliar streets someplace miles from your comfort zone makes 50 weeks or so of boring hideous repetitive labor somehow worth it. Of course, it isn’t but you can pretend it is while you’re there and later when you bore your friends with your vacation photos.
It still isn’t though.
What happens with vacations is that while you are at work your significant other – well aware that you can only afford a $1000 vacation, starts looking at vacation plans that start at $5000 before “extras” like hotels, food and breathable air. Eventually you are persuaded to compromise on a vacation package that will only require you to retire 6 years later than you had originally planned….unless something amazing happens – like your job as an elevator operator becomes obsolete and you are forced to become a vacation time share salesman.
Vacations are lovely. You leave your house with your TV and your couch and your dogs and you drive or fly somewhere to stay in a small room with a TV and couch and no dogs. So you sit on the couch, see what’s on TV and call the kennel to check on your dogs. You worry about what you forgot to bring. You worry about airport security and whether or not you put your shampoo into a plastic baggie or if you will get strip searched (which you secretly suspect is mildly arousing …and then you remember what you look like naked and change your thoughts of arousal to thoughts of humiliation as you picture uniformed TSA agents giggling at your belly fat). You worry about having enough money and then about being mugged for your money. You worry about the strange food you may have to have in foreign environs (having travelled from Wisconsin to say…Arizona).
This is called “fun.”
The first thing you need to do once you have selected your vacation locale is pack for the trip. I think it best to pack lightly so you have room in your bag for the things you are certain to buy once you get to your destination — things like souvenir tee shirts that mark you as a mope. Things like large hats that you will never ever wear again and won’t even be able to sell at the garage sale you will soon have to have to clear your house of souvenirs from previous vacations.
I also think it best to make sure that your trusty luggage your parents bought you for college 30 years ago is still somewhere in easy reach – – like behind the spider webs in the crawlspace where you once saw a rat bigger than a cat smirking at you. Whatever luggage you decide to bring along, be sure to remember that a zipper will break and your clothes will fall in a puddle of dirty water. If not, the airline will lose your luggage and you won’t get it back until the clothes you packed it with are considered “retro” and you can’t fit in them anymore anyway.
You should probably get a new bag and then burn it on the front lawn to appease the evil Luggage Gods.
It’s very important that you bring along an expensive 35mm camera with a single lens reflex and a stand and a flash apparatus. Then leave the camera in the hotel room because it’s too much to carry around and just take pictures with your smart phone.
Here’s a vacation photo tip. Take pictures of everything on your vacation — you in front of the hotel. You drinking a cocktail filled with Koi fish and umbrellas. You staring at some big ass mountain or lake or house or sculpture or piece of art or anything. Create a folder for these photos and upload the folder to Face Book so that your friends who aren’t on vacation with you (for very many reasons) can ignore all of your photos at one time. It’s much easier to “like” a folder and never be bothered with viewing the contents.
One of the most important parts in planning any vacation is in selecting the airline that will whisk you to your destination after a suitable 3 hour delay. Try to pick an airline that flies from an airport that you would enjoy spending your vacation in. Try to pick an airline that offers direct flights (connecting flights depend on airlines being timely, customer driven and responsible — they aren’t .). Try to pick an airline that offers more leg room seats for something less than what you spent on your last anniversary dinner. Mostly, though, pick an airline that has good movies to watch. I think the best airlines are Jet Blue, Virgin and Southwest. The worst airlines are Spirit, Frontier and US Air. You may have your own peeves about different airlines and they are valid. The best airline is probably Air Force One but it’s hard to get reservations on it. Even if you get picked to fly on it by a majority of the nation, the obstructionist minority in Congress can effectively prevent you from being able to fulfill any of your announced plans. So you need to pick something else.
You can drive to your vacation which is nice because it’s good to get out on the open road where you can see morons texting at 70mph. Based on appearances, it seems very important for every motorist to get to their destination as soon as possible and certainly sooner than you. It’s crucial to see the sunset or the sunrise in your destination right away as it will likely be the only time it happens — except of course for the other 364 days of the year. So drive fast.
If you drive, bring along an audio book so you can avoid conversation with your significant other who is mad at you for not flying in the first place. Also a really top notch audio book can help you forget about the fact that you are lost and that you forgot to make the hotel reservations. My what an adventure is in store for you!
That locals don’t know that you are visiting tourists is a very good thing if typical travelers behaviors are any indication. Many vacationing couples work very hard to pretend that they see the Uffizi Gallery, Buckingham Palace or the Grand Canyon pretty much every day just down the street from their local Walmart. They withhold their “ooohs” and “aaaaahs” in favor of knowing smirks and they shun the gullible traveler with the large cameras, the obvious money belt protrusions and the happy expressions of awe and wonder. Cool, in this case, isn’t. You are one vacation — go ahead and vacate the hell out of the week you have (not counting that 2 days of the holiday are taken up by traveling to the place you want to pretend you don’t care about).
Of course, the most important part about any vacation is making the people back home believe that you had an excellent time. Don’t tell them about the human remains in the bathtub at the luxury hotel you booked on line that turned out to be an RV park. Don’t mention the exciting dinner theater featuring cold KFC and a musical version of Macbeth starring Corey Feldman and Kiki Dee.
Do tell them that your accommodations were simply not to be believed and the show was impossible to describe. Things like that. Then when your friends emulate your vacation when it’s their turn to travel you can sit home on your couch watching your TV with your dogs and you can smile knowingly — content in the happy thought that you don’t have to go on vacation again for another year.
ON KIM KARDASHIAN’S BUTT:
It’s really big.
ON JOSE CANSECO’S FINGER:
One would think that being a 6-time All Star. an Oakland Athletic Bash Brother, an AL MVP, the first ever MLB 40-40 man and a veteran of a 17-year MLB career would be plenty for one life. But no. Jose Canseco – who famously had a fly ball bounce off his head and go over the wall for a home run while playing outfield for the Texas Rangers and who penned a tell all book that opened the door to the MLB steroid investigation scandal is not done being interesting.
On Oct. 28, Canseco shot himself in the hand while cleaning his gun at the kitchen table. He shot a finger off…because of course the gun was loaded while he was cleaning it. That should do it — right? No.
Canseco’s reattached finger was not attached too well it seems. It fell off during a poker tournament.
Fell right off.
According to Canseco’s twitter feed, “….my finger should have been amputated from the beginning. It was very loose with no bone to connect it. It was also smelling really bad.”
Canseco’s poker colleagues were not impressed.
“I’m holding pocket Aces and I got a possible flush with the flop and I’m thinking ‘this is a hand’ and then Canseco, that mook, he goes: ‘ I ain’t got a good hand – I ain’t even got a finger! ‘ and his frickin’ finger falls right into the chips!” said one player. “I still think I got a winner but that is not a good omen right there…a man’s stinky finger all gnarly and green…I can’t cash that in.”
“I never heard him say ‘All In’ but I guess he was headed that way” said another.
“It was disgusting,” said the dealer. “And let’s be honest, Canseco baseball cards are worth about a dime – whaddya gonna get for a Canseco finger? A buck maybe? I can’t see making a play like that.”
“It’s hard to read a guy like that,” said another player. “I see the bet, I raise the bet, I fold, I check — I can read that. But I bet a finger with gangrene — I dunno what he’s holding — could be a flush…could be a bluff. I don’t think people should bet body parts.”
KISSING IS HEALTHY
According to Dutch researchers, a passionate 10-second kiss (tongue slapping and saliva swapping) can result in the transfer of up to 80 million bacteria. Researchers concluded that kissing is very healthy as the more bacteria we are exposed to, the stronger our resistance becomes.
“Hey Babe! So…howdjalike to get healthy?” said drunken salesmen in hotel bars everywhere.
Utah County, Utah – John Valenzuela, 68, was arrested and held for various counts of domestic violence, intoxication, aggravated assault and interrupting electronic communications. A series of 911 calls in which no one spoke led police to follow the GPS signal to a trailer where officers confronted a drunken Valenzuela with a loaded rifle aimed at a teenage girl who had beaten him in the game “Battleship”.
“Why are ye arresting me?” shouted Valenzuela. “She sunk my whole damn Navy!”
The girl, whose name was withheld due to her age was remanded to the custody of the State. “This is nothin’,” she said. ‘”You should see what happens when I conquer Europe in Risk.”
San Jose, CA –TSA agents arrested a passenger who tried to send raw meat on a flight to Alaska. The meat was stuffed with vacuum sealed bags of cocaine.
“I was wondering where I had put my vacuum sealed put my vacuum sealed bags of coke!” said the man. “Thank you TSA!”
Meanwhile a number of diners in an Alaskan restaurant are still waiting for their steak tartar dinners.
Port St. Lucie, FL — A man was arrested for stealing a chain saw from a hardware store. He was seen putting the $600 chain saw down his pants. Store employees chased Anthony Ballard who, one assumes was unable to run all that well – what with a chain saw in his trousers. Ballard ditched the saw and made good his escape. Police arrested him when he returned to search for the saw.
“I like hardware in my trousers,” said Ballard. A more complete search of his pants revealed other stolen items including a winch, a power drill, a back hoe and a welders helmet.