Happy 278th year of existence, America.
We’ve had a good run thus far. Some great times, some bad times, some times when we weren’t as nice to everyone as we should be. A few times when we were jerkholes, and a lot more times when we did things right.
Then there was that one time we did more than just fine in that 2014 global intergalactic game of kick the ball past the guy into a net.
But now it’s time for your birthday, America, which comes on the heels of Canada Day. I mention this for no other reason than to posit: what the hell exactly is Canada Day?
But I’m not here to talk about traditions as common as buying a 3-gallon jar of mayonnaise from your neighborhood OmniMart. For July is the the time in every man’s life where he embarks on the summer vacation. Or for those of us in the throes of our 30s, the summer family vacation.
Don’t let the word “vacation” deceive you. For this is a time when you decide to take a break from the stresses of home, and stress out about them in a wholly new environment.
A 3-hour road trip to the beach becomes an epic, nightmarish haul of a) kids or b) kids and in-laws or c) kids and your parents or d) kids and your friends and their kids or e) any or all combination of everything I just listed here. God help us all.
My friends, finding the 19th hole in such a stressful clime is damn near impossible. TO say nothing of the unloading, the meals, the early wake-ups, the screwed-up sleep schedules, the close quarters, the kid with explosive bodily functions at 2:37am, the sudden (and constant) disappearance of money from your wallet, and the daily assault upon your nerves and patience from people you thought you knew and loved. And if you’re hoping for fireworks on the 4th, well, simply get into an argument with your wife about who’s held the toddler the most during mealtimes and can-I-please-just-have-3-minutes-to-eat-my-f@#$ing-hamburger. (Sadly, the fireworks on summer family vacation are rarely of the bedroom kind, especially when the travel crib is in your room.)
I am exhausted simply typing it.
I offer no pearls, no tricks o’ the trade, no hidden insight into the travails that await all of us lucky enough to have wonderfully weird groups of people whom we love and who love us and who, for some reason, we annually sequester ourselves with in different, expensive locales.
Sunshine, cheap beer, and the occasional breath of fresh air are your friends. Cherish them, savor their brief and fleeting presences, much like you would a cool breeze on a hot beach.
Happy trails, comrades, may you live to fight another vacation next year. And be the ball.