Howdy

Like Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, I am a women’s man. Ergo, I have no time to talk. And like Pee Wee Herman, I am a sole practitioner (of the law in my case), and thus, I have no time to take vacations. When a lawyer on his own is away for a week or two, he returns to hundreds of angry phone messages (or so I’m told by lawyers who have clients). “Why aren’t you in?”, “Why aren’t you working on my case?”, “Why don’t your clothes match?”, “Do you want to renew your subscription to “Barely Legal”?”, etc. I’m sure every lawyer knows what I am talking about.

Even when you actually go, there is the inevitable pressure to make your vacation meaningful. How can I justify splaying my ass on a beach when I could be studying the migratory patterns of ancient aquatic birds? When I got two brochures, one that says “Learn the Secrets of the Tundra” and another that says “Learn the Secrets of Underage Asian Hookers,” you wouldn’t believe the pressure I got to head up to ice country.

Once you find the time, and a vacation with sufficient gravitas, there is still the issue of affordability. It doesn’t take long to discover that a month in Greece or a cruise around the world is prohibitively expensive. So you scale back, and go back up to the Lehigh Valley for yet another tour of “Cement Country,” or load the family in the car for your fifth trip to the Dallas, Pennsylvania Prison for Sexual Predators (they do give away cool hats, complete with a picture of your very own sexual predator on the visor).

Even once the cost has been dealt with, there are many other issues to resolve. There is distance: Upper Darby doesn’t really feel like getting away. Neptune is cool, but it’s way far. You also want to avoid areas of major unrest. There is an excellent ska band in Macedonia, and the antiquing is terrific on the Gaza Strip, but is it really worth it? Finally, you want a new experience, but you still want to feel culturally comfortable. If you go to a place with unfamiliar food, or where they will shrink your head and put it on a tiki lamp, you may feel out of your element.

As for me, I think there are 10 things which must be considered essential for a great vacation. These are:

1. Good Accommodations – It may be easy to romanticize sleeping in a teepee, braving the elements and mixing with the dung beetles, but trust me, having a cozy bed and a third-world type who cleans your room and you can call “Consuela” (regardless of her real name) goes a long way towards helping you forget any pending disbarment proceedings back home. If…that’s…ya know…what you’re thinking about.

2. A Fake Name – Daylin Leach didn’t trash his hotel room, Dutch Laroo did. Daylin Leach didn’t try to make out with the mayor, Dutch Laroo did. Daylin Leach didn’t run up Daylin Leach’s credit cards, Dutch Laroo did. I think you see where I’m going with this.

3. A Telescope – You never know who will be undressing in the room next door. It may be sick and psychopathic to watch, but you can worry about that after the shade goes down.

4. Bail Money – ‘Nuff said

5. A Large Vibrating Egg – More than ’nuff said.

6. A Series of Good Excuses – You don’t want to be the local huskow being interrogated about what happened to the goat with nothing to say. You want to have your excuses prearranged and ready to go. A few examples:

– We do that to Goats all the time in my country.

– Oh, I misheard the tour guide when he said “Chuck the Coat.”

– It wasn’t me, it was Dutch Laroo.

7. Your Own Stash of Food – When visiting some local, you never know what bizarre local dish they may serve up. So when they whip out the termite fondue, you can say, “Hey, Mumbowondungolimboboboo, how ’bout microwaving me some Tator Tots?” Mumbowondungolimboboboo will understand.

8. Lots of Air Supply CDs – Foreigners love their Air Supply, particularly the early, “edgy” years. You can trade these CDs for valuable things, like carpets, or the lives of family members.

9. Vocabulary Flash Cards – It’s important to be able to communicate. Learn a few simple phrases and put them on Flash Cards so you can say the essential things in a hurry. Things like: “Where is the Bathroom?” “Is your sister really 12?” and “How many Air Supply CDs for you not to cook my nephew?”

10. A Ticket Home – The most important item. You don’t want to be, say, in London, and gamble away your last Shekel (or whatever the hell it is they call currency there) and be stuck eating bread pudding in the rain the rest of your life. Remember, the point of a vacation is to remind you how much you like your real life.

I hope these little tips have been helpful.

Tomorrow: My 25 most insightful marriage tips.

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