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Jewish World Review
June 24, 2010
/ 12 Tamuz 5770
The No Roamin' Holiday
Summertime is almost here and that means, as you music fans know, that very soon the time will be right for dancing in the street. The famous song is unclear on why such activity is not appropriate for, say, fall or spring, but who's going to argue with a Motown superstar like Martha Reeves, not to mention all those Vandellas?
Especially when they are open-minded enough to add that:
It doesn't matter what you wear
Just as long as you are there
So go ahead, put on your Spiderman costume, Star Trek uniform, Henry VIII outfit or you can even go naked - just as long as you get busy dancing in the street. Martha's not going to judge. Your mail carrier, your neighbors and the police, maybe, but not Martha.
But there's more to enjoying the summertime than exposing yourself to public ridicule. As we all know from the on-set banter during local news shows' weather reports, we also have to keep trying to "beat the heat." One great way to "beat the heat?" Come up with and persuade the member states of the United Nations to adopt a comprehensive strategy for halting and, if possible, reversing the trend toward cataclysmic global climate change that currently threatens human survival on the planet. Or, failing that, you could join a community pool.
One of the great things about the community pool is that it provides neighborhood kids with a safe place to frolic and play together, untroubled as only children can be about war, poverty, environmental destruction and the purpose of getting out of the pool to go to the bathroom.
For adults, the pool gives us a welcome opportunity to get away from home, bask in the sun's warmth and then complain to one another about the heat. One thing I like to do at the pool is hang out with the lifeguards and "talk shop." I suppose on some level it helps me recapture the fond poolside memories of my youth, back when I was a teenager and also used to bug the lifeguards.
Enjoying the summer also means deciding what to do with your vacation days. Thankfully, this task is relatively easy for Americans, since we typically only receive two weeks of vacation a year, as compared with our sad-sack European cousins, who often must find some way to spend six whole weeks away from work. This is why, during the summer, Paris and other major European cities frequently wind up all but deserted for weeks at a time. In the past, museums like the Louvre were plagued by major heists while security guards were out of town for the summer months - that is, until the French government began cracking down, forcing professional art thieves to take their full six-week vacations as well.
But in these recessionary times, many budget-conscious Americans have been forced to forego the traditional pricey beach holiday. This has led to a phenomenon known as the "staycation," which involves remaining at home to enjoy local parks, museums and other cultural happenings nearby. The staycation puts a refreshingly positive spin on what used to be known as "being broke," allowing people to pretend that they actually prefer to spend their vacation doing the same old same old. It's essentially the vacationing equivalent of renewing one's marriage vows.
One problem with the staycation involves trying to persuade other people that you're sincerely jazzed not to be spending this year's vacation on some white sand beach sipping margaritas as you smile and daydream about your coworkers stuck in a meeting listening to the boss ramble on about some gibberish like "Integrating Cross-Diversified Through-Channels," "Synergizing Revenue Platforms" or, in my case, "Why Deadlines Matter."
As a result, you find yourself telling friends things like, "Oh, we just can't wait to see the local history museum's new exhibit on Civil War-era tea cozies" or "Hey, it's not every day you get the chance to attend the 65th annual Rutabega Festival."
Still, the staycation does offer substantial benefits over typical vacation plans. Besides all the money you save on airfare, hotels, and exorbitant Smarte Carte rentals, you also avoid all the hassles involved in modern air travel, including lengthy security lines, delayed or canceled flights and the likelihood that you will be mistakenly seated in a row that appears to have been reserved exclusively for members of the persistent hacking cough brigade.
Plus, by staying at home, "staycationers" provide much-needed funds to area businesses, which results in more people being put to work. And that, in turn, helps boost the local economy, perhaps even to the point where next year you'll have a little more disposable income. And maybe take a real vacation and forget about this "staycation" nonsense, for crying out loud.
JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.
06/08/10: Parenting On A Cellular Level
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10/21/08: Cyberspace invaders
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08/07/08: My newfound sense of self (promotion)
06/24/08: Getting the brand back together
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05/13/08: Take this job and love it
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04/02/08: Commercial (over)load
02/20/08: An overdose of reality
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11/28/07: Out with the old
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11/06/07: Can't tune it out
10/23/07: Something special in the hair
09/12/07: Can I have your attention, please?
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08/21/07: In the heat of fashion
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05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
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10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
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08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
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02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning
© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner
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