Want a bang-up holiday? Then start getting ready now. There’s a good chance the family will get so sick of you they’ll leave you home
DO YOU always feel knocked out on vacation trips? Do you get tired, tense and trigger-tempered? Do you still see roads unwinding when you go to bed?
Of course you do; everybody does! That’s how silly everybody is. Nobody gets properly into shape for the holiday season.
I’m an exception. I decided to be ready this year. As soon as the road maps began arriving I went into spring training. I didn’t tell my wife because that would spoil the surprise of it. I wanted her to see how fresh and nimble I kept on the trip.
She was, I must say, surprised from the start. So were our neighbors the McGillises and the Stackpoles.
First I practiced making quick stops at our corner when I was coming home from work. Those Boston traffic jams can be nerve-racking if you’re not prepared for them.
Time after time I pretended I saw a big furniture van looming up at the empty intersection and slammed down the brake so hard my head nearly bumped the windshield, then started again swiftly with a screech of gears.
When I got into the house my wife was furious.
“I’ve had calls from Amy Stackpole and Hellen McGillis both,” she said, “and they think it’s disgraceful, at five o’clock in the afternoon, too.”
I didn’t tell her. I wanted her to be surprised.
Next morning when I started for the garage in the rain without my rubbers she was quite upset. She couldn’t seem to grasp that I was preparing myself not to be annoyed by forgetting something on the trip-—you know how you always forget a toothbrush or rubbers and it spoils the whole trip. She ran for the closet to get my rubbers.
“Thanks just the same,” l said, “but I’m pretending I haven’t any rubbers today,” and I walked out. Going down the sidewalk I could see her peering at me from the kitchen window.
She didn’t say very much that evening when I announced I wanted to sleep in a different bed you know how strange mattresses will ache your back unless you’re used to changes. So I slept in each of our kids’ beds the next two nights, as they were away for the week end. In fact, it was about then she stopped speaking to me. All she said when the children asked “Who’s been sleeping in my bed?” was, firm-lipped, “That’s Goldilocks over there reading the paper.”
Nor did she say much the next evening when I turned up the record player to make it play the crash of ocean breakers over and over all night you know the record, the one with the seagulls mewing— so we’d be accustomed to the noise in case we got a cabin by the seashore. The only thing she said, when she woke up with a start at 3 a.m., was: “Lord! I can’t stand much more of living here!”
That encouraged me. It showed she wasn’t in any shape to take a trip either.
Well, you’ve guessed it. My vacation training proved a great success.
The morning we were starting out—the morning after I brought home the three live mosquitoes and let them go in our bedroom (you know how a mosquito singing in a tourist cabin can upset your nerves if you’re not used to them) — I woke up and found the family gone.
They had left without me.
I slept in my own bed for my holidays, had no mosquitoes, heard no breakers, got in no Boston traffic jams.
So if you’re interested in a carefree vacation, kindly line up on the right and for the small sum of two dollars you can have my new Happy Holidays Training Kit, complete with informative leaflet, one phonograph record of ocean waves and seagulls (on the opposite side, truck horns honking and a New Year’s Eve party in full progress) and three live mosquitoes.
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