'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
VACATIONS CAN BE HARD WORK
We are now in the heart of the vacation season. During this time of year most people set aside a week or two to take a much needed break from the tedious grind of work. Unless, of course, these people happen to be school teachers, in which case they are entering the fifth week of a ten-week break from work. (Now, before all you teachers send me emails insisting that your jobs are so difficult you need ten weeks off each summer, while every other job on earth is so stress-free only one or two weeks are needed, let me just say I don’t begrudge your long summer vacations, it’s simply that— Oh, who am I kidding? I most certainly do begrudge your long summer vacations! I am sooooo jealous.)
Anyway, the problem with vacations is that people have very differing views about the purpose of this much needed break from work. Some people think a vacation is the opportunity to do all the things there is no time to do while working. Things such as: travel to exciting destinations, visit tourist sites and amusement parks, take a million photographs, dine in exotic restaurants, socialize with long-lost relatives and friends, and forego sleep if need be in an attempt to cram as much fun as possible into a one- or two-week period.
Other people, however, think a vacation is the opportunity to do all the things there is no time to do while working. Things such as: sleep late and hang around the house.
For people in the first category, a vacation is considered successful if they are able to visit every possible attraction in every city they visit—and take at least 17 snapshots at each attraction. For people in the second category, a vacation is considered successful if they are still wearing only slippers and boxer shorts at 3 p.m. every afternoon.
There is actually a third category. These are people who think the purpose of a vacation is to do major home improvement projects, such as repave the driveway, put new shingles on the roof, or paint the entire house. I’m not including this group of people in my discussion of vacations because, frankly, they are emotionally disturbed. People who look forward to working harder while on vacation than they do while at work make me nervous.
Problems arise when people in the first category—the “let’s do everything while on vacation” folks—are married to people in the second category—the “it’s time for my third nap of the day” folks.
Let’s just say for discussion’s sake that in a particular family, it is the wife who wants to travel and see all the sites while on vacation, and it is the husband who wants to sleep late and startle the Jehovah Witnesses by answering the door wearing only the aforementioned slippers and boxer shorts. (Not that this represents any particular family of which I am aware—especially mine. Really.)
If this family decides to make the husband happy by staying home doing nothing during the vacation, the wife will become very frustrated and depressed, and for the next 50 weeks the husband will find that certain things he’s taken for granted, such as food and clean boxer shorts, may no longer be forthcoming.
On the other hand, if the family decides to make the wife happy by traveling, site-seeing, and packing more events into the daily schedule than a presidential candidate, the husband will become frustrated and depressed (not to mention exhausted), and start to wish he had done something less strenuous during the vacation week, such as repave the driveway, put new shingles on the roof, and paint the entire house—all at the same time.
There is a solution to this dilemma. The couple can get divorced each July, take separate vacations, and then re-marry each August. If this is not practical, there is another solution. Both spouses can go back to school and get their teaching certificates.
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