“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra

The Summer vacation season approaches, and if you haven’t made reservations for a place at the shore or a cottage in the pines, well, shame on you. The Idler himself is covered with shame, steeped in shame, positively silly with the stuff because he’s decided to pass on the Summer vacation season and move the whole shootin’ match back to the Fall. See, Summer is when you go on vacation if you have kids because that’s when they’re out of school. And the thing with kids is that when they’re out of school and on vacation they can get into all sorts of perfectly innocent, yet comical, predicaments. Let’s say someone’s dentures get flushed down the toilet, someone’s cigar blows up on ignition or someone’s golden retriever is suddenly sporting a Mohawk. Next thing you know, certain so-called “friends” and “neighbors” and “federal air marshals” are trying to hold you responsible just because of some silly societal construct like “parenthood” or “guardianship.”  So, hey, been there; done that; performed the community service, you know what I’m saying? Also, our rug rats are all grown up


But that doesn’t excuse you, parents of school age children, especially those of little Stevie who’s been writing stuff on my sidewalk. (Tell him “stink” is spelled with an “i”.)  You’ve got to step up and buckle down and most importantly, drive off. To somewhere far away and for at least a few weeks. To shoo, er, help you along, here are some travel tips from the secret Idler vacation archives, opened for the first time since the expiration of certain statutes of limitation:

Take plenty of snacks. The best snacks are Twizzlers, specimens of which you will find, intact, stuffed in your upholstery the day you trade in your car. It is well known among scientists that licorice has a radioactive half-life of 8,000 years. The thing is, Twizzlers don’t stain when they go into the upholstery nor stink (you see how that works, Stevie-boy?) for the seven years they remain there. M&M’s only promise not to melt in your hand, so until they’ve been upholstery tested, I’d leave them in the parking lot. Good & Plenty are also plenty good – see what I did there? – but should be consumed within no more than one month after opening after which they may be used in highway cold-patching compounds.

Forget about fine dining & get used to fast food. If you’ve never taken the kids to an upscale eatery, get ready to be seated next to the kitchen. Or near the bathrooms. Or in the parking lot. It will bother you at first because your offspring are well behaved, but you’ll understand once you get a load of what the other kids are up to. It’s like they say about lawyers, it’s the ninety-nine percent that give the rest a bad name.

Pull the fuse on the CD player.  The kids will be disappointed that they can’t enjoy the musical stylings of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber as they cruise down the interstate, but on the bright side Dad will be far less likely to accelerate into a bridge abutment.

Get a map. GPS isn’t completely useless; it will put you in the general vicinity, but as soon as you really, really need it, the mountains will block the satellite or something and you’ll end up chatting with the banjo boy from “Deliverance.” Hey, maybe he can give Stevie some spelling tips!

Comments – DickVerbo@hotmail.com

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