#3. Working Outdoors
This was a last-second addition to the list, and it's all because I'm as guilty as anyone else of mistakenly believing that working outdoors is an activity I will someday learn to enjoy. In fact, I wrote the first half of this column while sitting on the deck of my apartment. And why? Because today was the first day of actual nice weather I've seen in months. So, for a couple of hours, I pretended that sitting outdoors was conducive to staring at a computer screen. For the record, this is what that computer screen looked like the entire time:
If the people at Asus are reading this, feel free to send me a laptop I don't hate. I'm only using this one because I don't care if it melts in the sun.
Those barely visible black lines are the early outline of this column. You may notice that, compared to the intense reflection of me and my surroundings, they are nearly impossible to see. Nevertheless, I stuck with it for two hours. By the time I finally gave up, I had put on a jacket because the wind was getting unruly and a baseball hat because my barren scalp tends to burst into flames when exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time. Fun!
Now, I can certainly understand why a person working a manual labor gig would prefer to be outdoors on a day like this. But for people who work on computers, which is a percentage that only writers far less lazy than myself should be expected to research and report to you, taking the show on the road and working outdoors seems like a dream come true. As a person who totally has the freedom to do that, let me assure you, it's not. I've already mentioned the near impossibility of seeing a computer screen in those conditions, but the reasons to shy away from hauling your laptop outdoors don't end there.
For one thing, the outdoors are riddled with bugs, which, ideally, your office is not. Nothing breaks the creative thought process like having a wasp land on your keyboard. That's a great way to go from zero to panic in under two seconds.
They also make angry comments.
And if you're one of those really ambitious people who thinks packing up all of your electronics and heading to a park or beach to get some work done is a good idea, I have two words you need to consider: bathroom break. You're going to have to take one at some point. Do you pack up all of your stuff and haul it with you to the restroom, or do you leave it there and hope that everyone in your vicinity works on the honor system and won't steal your shit while you shit? The answer, of course, is neither, because both options suck. Instead, get your work done indoors and then use your time outside as it's meant to be used. Specifically, use it to enjoy the fact that you're not working.
#2. Visiting National Monuments
Family vacation. Who doesn't look forward to that every year? The kids are out of school, the parents are off work and everyone is hopping into the car and going to do something rad. It's important to choose your family vacation destinations wisely. If you have children, go to an amusement park. If you have no children, sit on as many patios as you can while power drinking. But under no circumstances, ever, should you blow a family vacation on visiting a national monument.
I certainly understand the allure of driving hundreds or even thousands of miles to see the Grand Canyon in person. Actually, I'm just joking, I don't get the appeal at all. I've never seen it, but I expect it looks a lot like this ...
... except bigger, hotter and dirtier. Those adjectives are all fine and well if you're talking about a porn sequel, but when you're referring to something you can just as easily look at in pictures, it's far less titillating.
Another good example of this is Mount Rushmore. You probably know it from pictures, where it looks like this ...
But as someone who has seen it, I can vouch for the fact that, in person, it looks a lot more like this ...
Right, those are the exact same picture, because that's exactly what Mount Rushmore looks like in person. What is it that you think you're going to do when your Wally World-like trek to see four presidents' faces carved into the side of a huge rock comes to fruition? It's not like you can climb up there and take a picture of you pretending to put your dick in Lincoln's nose or anything. You're just going to stand there, take a few pictures that will look like the epitome of shittiness when compared to stuff you could just download from the Internet and then spend the rest of your vacation bored to tears because western South Dakota is a desolate hellhole with nothing even sort of fun to do. And it's going to be the exact same story at any of the other remote tourist destinations people flock to every year.
To its credit, though, Mount Rushmore does have fireworks every Fourth of July. Ha! Just joking. They stopped doing that years ago. But it doesn't matter, because the lamest of all lame outdoor activities is ...
There is a very limited window of time when seeing a fireworks display is even remotely interesting. That window spans approximately from the moment you first learn that fireworks are a real thing to the moment you've finally finished watching your first fireworks display. Beyond that, you're literally just watching the same thing over and over and somehow expecting to be entertained by it each time. But fireworks aren't Arrested Development. There aren't going to be extra layers of jokes and interesting shit worked into the minute details that you missed the first time. They're just colors in the sky.
I have it on good authority that there hasn't been a new type of firework developed since the early 1980s. What authority is that? My own eyes, because that's when I saw my first fireworks display, and every one has been the same bullshit since then. And I'm just talking about seeing a fireworks display in person. Some people actually go so far as to watch that nonsense on television. Seriously, you could just stare at the screensaver on your computer if you're that easily entertained. There's just as much variety to be found there.
"Oh, but wait until the finale, that's when it gets good!" No, it doesn't. It's just the same thing the townsfolk have been "oohing" and "aahing" about for the past 30 minutes, except now it's happening in a slightly more rapid succession. Saying the finale makes a fireworks display somehow worth the boredom that leads up to it is like implying that filling out paperwork at the doctor's office would be more exciting if they just gave you a bigger stack of forms and less time to complete them. That's not adding fun, it's increasing the obnoxiousness.
Nevertheless, all the across the country, local governments will be shelling out anywhere from $5,000 all the way up to $6,000,000 to set off a bunch of pretty explosions in the sky.
Good thing the economy is so strong. Otherwise, that would just seem foolish.
Check out more from Adam in The 7 Most Terrifying Corporate Mascots of All-Time and The 5 Most Ill-Advised Dating Sites on the Web.