Vacations are probably the best part of the year. They trump any holiday mankind has ever created. Even if Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween were all rolled into one; even if I were given fifty presents, a perfect turkey dinner and all the “fun-sized” Milky Ways I could eat, I’d still choose a genuine vacation every time. So it’s important not to waste these precious, extra-curricular moments of life. A trip to Granny’s is great, but no matter how long it lasts, it will never qualify as a vacation. The same is true for one of those “just stay home, sleep in and relax” things. Or a week of day trips. Any time you hear yourself say “we didn’t feel like going anywhere this year,” you’re lying, and it’s not a vacation. It’s blasphemy, and you could maybe possibly be punished.
Ya gotta plan a vacation, and it has to include doing stuff at a place you’ve never been before. I’m sorry. There aren’t many rules to this, but those are non-negotiable, because “vacation” is itself a holy word, and should therefore not be taken in vain. If your phone or computer is in any way an integral part of your plans, you are in danger of a spiritual crisis. In fact, receiving text messages, emails, and checking one’s Facebook status are among the worst infractions of The Vacation Code.
In case you’re thinking this point of view is a bit extreme or at the very least, overly zealous, here are some interesting tips about vacations that may have escaped you.
1. Vacations do not discriminate. For example, murderers and politicians are known to frequently partake. Should you run across one of these in vaca-mode, don’t panic. Move away from the raw bar and order something less ostentatious.
2. If you’ve read more than four books during a seven day period, you are not on vacation. (Guide books do not apply.)
3. Bringing actual work on a vacation is patently irreverent and parts of your body will begin to fall off.
4. You are required to tell everyone you meet where you live. “Hello, my name is Hans and I come from Dusseldorf.” Keep in mind, if you can get away with it, lying is acceptable.
5. There is no such thing as “over-packing.” That is a despicable rumor created by AARP.
6. There are secret, government Vacation Vouchers available. This is very hush-hush, so if you’re uncertain whether or not you qualify, you don’t.
7. Always plan on not being able to drink the local water. Generally, potable deficiency figures are higher for the more beautiful locations. But don’t be discouraged – Coca Cola products are in abundance everywhere, as well as vodka, and many variations of rum.
8. Always exceed the limits for carry-on luggage. The rest of us will take great delight in watching the flight crew force you to check it. After all, spectacle is everything on a plane.
9. Do not try to see the world alphabetically. There are too many A’s.
10. Dress appropriately. Flip flops and cut-off sweats belong at the beach, not the airport. Usually, if you think your appearance is of no consequence, you’re tacky, and even though you’ve just slathered on the Mitchum, others will assume you smell bad.
And there you have it. I hope these observations have been helpful and I wish all of you “happy trails” this year. We’ve just returned from our vacation – it was spectacular. Next up? Fun-sized Milky Ways, of course.
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