Vacation — Punch In The FaceMarch 1, 2009
Two types of vacation: the “Go Somewhere” vacation and the “Do Nothing, Go Nowhere” vacation. I’m not down with either type. That’s right, Sports Fans: Vacation, A Punch In The Face.
First, the Go Somewhere vacation. Being from the Northeast, that typically means going somewhere in the Caribbean. Ah, the Caribbean. Nothing like the natural tension between an essential tourism industry and intense poverty. I can hear you now: But C-ROC, the people in the Caribbean are so nice. I’m sure that’s partially true, but let’s not confuse smiling with being nice. I’d grit my face and smile too if making my living depended entirely on whether or not a couple of drunk co-ed’s from Kutztown State decide to have their hair braided. But C-ROC, the weather and the beaches are so beautiful. Yeah, I get it. But every time I’m on a vacation in a tropical setting, I keep thinking: What am I doing here? I feel like there are only three types of people who really deserve a tropical vacation: 1) soldiers just back from the war; 2) celebrities (hey, what else are they going to do other than pose for paparazzi photos while they frolic in the water?); and 3) migrant workers. If you pick lettuce 15 hours a day, you need a week in an ocean view cabana. Me? I’m hunched over a computer in a temperature-controlled office three steps away from a Keurig coffee maker and a drawer full of Power Bars. That’s right K-cups and Triple Threat Bars — a vacation in my mind with each sip and bite. Plus, I like being home — that’s why I live here. I like Chili’s for Dinner, Dunkin’ Donuts for dessert, and Target for after-dinner entertainment — don’t knock shopping for black athletic socks until you tried it. The Go Somewhere vacation isn’t for me.
That leaves me with the Go Nowhere, Do Nothing vacation. I’d get to stay home. It really doesn’t sound that bad — I can already taste the Chili’s Chicken Tenders and feel those thick black athletic socks snug around my calves. But I’ve tried that, and even though it’s okay for a day, I just can’t take it. Having time to actually do the things I enjoy reminds me of how much of my actual life I miss out on every day. I don’t want to have those thoughts — thoughts of being able to spend more time with my family and friends, and exercising without guilt or panic. In fact, these very thoughts are exactly the reason why I keep my nose to the grindstone. As an old cowboy once told me, “No need to be ponderin’ the meanin’ o’ life . . . you’re here now, and, God willin’ you’ll be here tomorrow. Now get back to the herd.” (Okay, an old cowboy never really told me that . . . but I can imagine a Jack Palance-type guy with an Irish brogue telling me that and it’d really make an impression on me and my outlook on life. After all, Palance could do one-arm push-up’s at the age of 87. I could never ignore such a combination of wisdom and brute strength.) So, following that fake advice, I’ll just keep my head down. Buried in the sand. Like an ostrich. Hey, it’s cool and dark down here. Not too shabby.