Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lousy vacations in literature

The three harbingers of summer are upon us.

Birds keep waking me with their chirping, my lawn is growing faster than I can cut it and my father is finding any excuse he can to barbecue.

Soon, families will be piling into vans (or Priuses, if they’re worried about gas prices) and traveling the country. My wife spent almost every summer of her prepubescent life trapped in a motor home with her family. My mother-in-law insists these jaunts across the country were fun for the whole family.

The pictures suggest otherwise.

My wife’s younger brother spent their vacations perpetually injured. In most photos, he’s wearing an eye patch, a conspicuous Band-Aid or a cast. The frizzy-haired redhead who would one day be my wife and her father never smiled for a single photograph. Except in Vegas.

But it could be worse. Classic literature is filled with lousier trips than a motor home journey to Yellowstone.

Here are some of the faithfully transcribed travel logs of famous literary characters.

Wanted to go sailing. Ended up on Deadliest Catch rerun.
Cabin mate was cannibal who likes to snuggle. Awkward.
Didn’t like my boss. Next year, I stay on land.

Got lost on way home. Jerk with one eye ate half of my crew.
Lived with Circe for a few years. Hope my wife doesn’t notice.
Finally got home. Found 30 guys hitting on my wife. Awkward.
Son and I killed them. Awkwardness dispelled.

Got lost in woods. Dead poet took me to Hell.
Met a lot of Italian politicians (no shock.) Ninth Circle is surprisingly cold. Should have brought thermal.
Next year, plan to go to Purgatory.

Samwise Gamgee:
Went on road trip with friends Frodo, Pippin and Merry. (Pippin ate all food by second day. Hate Pippin.)
Got chased by progressively more ridiculous things, including, but not limited to, riders on black horses, walking Molotov cocktails called Balrogs and some dude on a dragon.
(I was much happier as a gardener.)
Ended with Frodo dropping a ring in a volcano. Apparently, it would have jammed the disposal.

-Jason Lea, JLea@News-Herald.com



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