#2. Fewer Americans Are Going on Vacation
Not-fun fact: Only 15 percent of Americans planned a 2014 summer vacation, with 33 percent of survey respondents saying they can't afford one and another 30 percent saying they're too busy working (which implies they also can't afford one, because the choice between office and poolside is usually not a terribly difficult one). To be fair, another 22 percent do plan to sneak away for a weekend, but since in the summer that usually means driving to a rundown Super 8 Motel to look at a boring landmark, we're not going to count it.
Now you can have the experience of being bored in four states at once!
What you do with your summer is your business, of course, but we'd just like to mention that not taking a summer vacation is objectively unpatriotic. Not only are summer road trips a great American tradition, but the hotel and restaurant industry hired 21,000 fewer employees in 2014 than it did in 2013 in anticipation of a slow season. That's right, Mr. and Ms. "I'm going to take a staycation this year!" All those unemployed, dangerously idle teens are your fault. The least you could do now is make a large donation to Planned Parenthood.
But, getting back on topic, maybe you don't have to go somewhere else on vacation, because there's a nice beach right where you live. In that case, good news: You might not be able to go there either! (We lied about the "good" part.) And the reason for that is ...
#1. American Beaches Are Horribly, Horribly Polluted
You don't need thousands of dollars and a week off work to hit the beach if you live on the coast. What you might need, however, are a ton of antibiotics, because a study has found that 1 out of every 10 beaches in the United States isn't fit for swimming.
Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times
The shopping cart family is content with just sunbathing, though.
The study looked at 3,485 American beaches along both coasts and among the Great Lakes, which means that around 348.5 potential vacation spots are as likely to give you or your loved ones a terrible disease as they are treasured summer memories. The water at these beaches is full of sewage, contaminated runoff, and "urban slobber," and while we're not entirely sure what that last one is, we're absolutely sure that we don't want to know.
"Calling it 'urban diarrhea' raised too many questions."
But hey, 9 in 10 odds isn't that bad, right? So grab your family's unemployed teens and overworked adults and hit the beach. At least if anyone gets sick you'll know exactly what caused it, because there was no ice cream or grilled hamburgers consumed this year. USA! USA!
You can read more from Mark at his website.