How To Spend Your Summer Vacation

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Now that the Indy 500 is under our belts and the kids are getting more rambunctious everyday we know what’s coming: Summer vacation!

What to do? What to do?

Unlike us Plebes, the High and Mighty can do what they what, when they want and where they want. An indoor skiing trip to Dubai? Sounds like a stone groove. Bundle up my overcoat!

There’s always the ever-popular family trek to Wally World. Pack up the kids in the Family Truckster and head out across country to the Happiest Place on Earth. Gas prices being what they are this may no longer be an option for the struggling family.

I suspect a big family excursion in a rented motor home may be out of the question also. Oh well, mom and dad are both working stiffs. Each gets only ten days "personal leave" all year. That has to be saved for that ruptured appendix and the dreaded trip to Grandma’s house for Christmas.

I like the idea of a Ted Nugent Sunrize Safari. Yes sir! Give little Billy the chance to bag a boar barehanded with a bowie knife! Best make sure Dick Cheney isn’t signed up too. Unfortunately, Ted’s camps also cost money. And despite the sage wisdom of the Economic Genius in Chief who has bankrupted the country on an Iraqi Adventure I suggest spending your token refund check from the IRS is not a good idea. They will want it back. Trust me.

So, more affordable R&R is the trend this year.

Here’s a good idea. Orlando, Florida has a really nice family resort with bargain basement prices including discounts to Disney World and Sea World! And what a tranquil name it has too: Shades of Green. There is one teenatchee little hitch though. It is for military personnel only. This means, I haven’t been there and can’t give it a review. If it’s all that the New York Times says it is, well, I’m all for it. Lord knows our fighting cannon fodder pay enough to deserve some quality R&R. But, unless Uncle Scam has already snagged you I don’t recommend signing up just for a stay at Shades of Green. Call me Mister Minus but a couple fifteen-month tours of Iraq, PTSD and/or a nasty case of Traumatic Brain Injury leading to a highly potential suicide just doesn’t make two weeks in the Florida sun seem worth it.

How about a good old-time camping trip! I’ve got just the place and it won’t break your bank account. In fact, if you even have a bank account you’re probably not permitted. I’m talking about Tent City in the fair cesspool of Ontario, California. You’ll get to hang out with all sorts of interesting people just like you… broke! Sounds great! When do we start? Well… there is a hitch to Tent City as well. You are required to be a resident of the City of Ontario to be homeless in Ontario.

That’s right Mr. Steinbeck; the Joads have no-where to go… again. That’s no fun at all! Of course no city wants a ramshackle shantytown next to the freeway. But come on! Be reasonable. They’re soon to be all the rage. One or two hundred more are likely to pop up around the country. That sub-prime lending scam was a doozy.

Anyway, it seems you need to make reservations ahead of time to stay in the Tent City. I wonder if you can do that on-line?

"We’re planning on being homeless and destitute as of July 4th, is it possible to reserve site 176 next to the railroad tracks? Uh… I need proof of residency?" Stated one happy camper: "When my husband gets out of jail he can bring my marriage certificate; will that count?"

Okay… so Tent City is booked solid. What other choices are there?

I’m at a loss. Well, I live on an island. I can bury my head in the sand. The sand should help protect my brain from the "news" if nothing else. How about the rest of you?

Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.

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