5 Supposedly Fun Activities That Are Actually Terrifying
Unlike my fellow columnist Adam Tod Brown, I am not composed of extremely low pH water and hatred of all things fun. I enjoy fun in all its forms and have often been described by friends and colleagues as "Who?" But those who do remember me seem to remember that I was having a good time when they got stuck near me for a while. The problem with my fun times, however, is that there are outside forces pissing them away from me faster than Adam ruined them all for you. There are things I can't overlook, and therefore I simply can't be having the same fun as other people this summer.
In a technical sense, I get vacation time every year. I'm an adult. I'm allowed to stop working for like a week and just do any damn thing I want. If I want to try to become Aquaman by yelling at fish, that's what I can do for a solid week. I could start an Air Supply cover band, or hunt Randy Quaid for sport. I could go to an exotic beach location, like the Bahamas or Newfoundland. Except not.
I don't know if you know this, but if you want to go on a real tropical vacation, you're basically looking the power of nature right in the eye and saying "Hey, Nature, how's your wife? You know, the one I just disgraced with my seed? How is she? Sticky? Yeah, she's sticky." Nature hates you on vacation and as such is going to throw every awful thing it has at you.
Hepatitis exists in pretty much every country you currently don't live in. Yeah, it exists here, too, but when you go on vacation it'll be in the water, in the food and in all the people and monkeys you run afoul of. Every surface you touch will be oozing hepatitis. You like waffles? The inside of every delicious, foreign waffley square will be brimming with hepatitis. All the hepatitises, too; A, B, C, Epsilon, everything.
This is Hepatitis Omega. Goes right in the ass.
Even if you're wise enough to get vaccinated against your diphtherias and choleras and hepatitties, you're also going to have to get used to the fact that whatever food you eat on vacation is going to rocket through your insides like a greased up eunuch in a laundry chute. If you don't get that simile, please trust that it's terrifyingly accurate. Foods you can safely eat here, when prepared by a chef on an island nation, immediately signal red flags to your insides and evacuate the premises. The last thing any one of us needs in life is a gut full of hepatitis-infused squits, so screw that. No vacation for me.
Going to the Pool
Swimming is extremely relaxing for Internet comedy writers. Once unleashed in the water, we're like majestic manatees, slowly and purposefully dancing our water ballet for the enjoyment of all. Approach us cautiously and offer a handful of granola or white zinfandel. That's right, pet just behind the flippers. Yes, good.
While a dip in the old pool is refreshing and moist, and a good opportunity to see how pale someone who works on the Internet 365 days a year really is, I can't bring myself to do it. Not this summer, not any summer.
To address the elephant in the room -- it's urine. I will not wade about in your waste liquids. I won't. You shouldn't, either. You want to piss in the shower, that's fine. If the Internet is to be believed, a lot of us are peeing on each other for fun. That's fine, too, if you're consenting, and maybe put a tarp down to protect the shag. But I can't see the allure in taking my translucent frame to a local swimming hole, muscling my way through a crowd to find that chunk of space to call my own and then just stewing in chlorinated pee until I get pruny.
Put on the water wings, you dirty shits.
This also brings up the point that you need to control your filthy children and/or you were a filthy child who grew into a rancid adult. How do you function on a daily basis when, given the smallest of windows to wet yourself in a way that is inconspicuous, you leap at it like a starving hobo on a Reuben sandwich? All pools have toilets literally steps away, and if they don't for some reason, no one gives a shit, don't piss in the pool. It's full of people!
I love barbecues. The actual appliances, I mean. I like a compact firebox on wheels with an explosive tank of gas strapped under it. I like the idea that we can cook things with microwave radiation, but I'm still going to light shit on fire. It's going to be fueled by that compressed gas and, if I want to, I will clean the grill when it's all over not by scrubbing it in some nancy Mr. Belvedere way, but by simply increasing the flow of gas and scorching the charred meat residue from existence.
I will never attend a barbecue at someone else's house. If you ever get the opportunity, go look at someone else's grill when they're not around. If your friends are decent humans, then it's probably a decent grill -- maybe a little char on the edges. But no one knows decent people anymore, and there's a good chance that if you open that grill what you're going to find inside is a congealed, globular bacterial turd of meat juices, fat and the odd hair from the family of mice living just under it. A hot dog in its purest state is barely safe for human consumption, so once you ease its phallic little form into the filth sluice gates on some shady person's barbecue, you're basically asking salmonella to accost you like an alien face hugger. Blargh.
Holy fuck, that's adorable!
The other problem with attending a barbecue is basically all you can do is drink, and that, in and of itself, is fine, if drinking is a hobby you enjoy, but look at you. You're in the yard just loitering, drunkening yourself as you wait for meat to cook. It's all the motivation you have. Man, can't wait till that meat cooks. Hey, did you see the new episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians? No? You're not wearing a helmet? Cool, when's that meat done? It's like waiting in line for a public toilet and trying to find something with which to keep yourself busy.
The payoff is standing in a friend's yard with a paper plate, an underdone hamburger and that terrible self-awareness you get when you're in a crowd and shoving cattle into your face, desperately fearful that at any moment everyone will just turn and stare at you in stunned silence because, as you've always suspected, you eat so much weirder than everyone else that they're aghast by what your face hole is doing to that beef on a bun. You guys fear that too, right?
I look like the Montauk Monster's shut-in of a cousin without my shirt on. Arguably this would be a great reason for me to go out and get some sun, maybe try to look like I don't pack my lunch straight out of fresh graves, but I'm more courteous than all that and I respect both myself and you too much to do it. More you than me, I'm low on self-respect.
Tanning is a very piss-poor method of cooking a human being. That's not really hyperbole, it's the head-scratching truth of the matter. You're using radiation to brown yourself to a sweet shade of melanoma chestnut. This is considered attractive by the people who do it, silly by people who are already a dusky hue and a betrayal of one's heritage by racists. Maybe don't concern yourself with that last one.
We're waving at you, why don't you wave back?
It goes without saying that part of the problem with tanning is the cancer. Yeah, you'll get it. It starts as moles, as I understand it, and then festers until your genitals come right off one day or whatever. Skin cancer is bullshit. You might think it inappropriate to joke about a deadly disease, but I counter with the fact that, in this context, the reason you get it is because you wanted to look pretty. You traded a few weeks of looking like Starbucks for dangerously irregular cell growth. That just doesn't seem right at all.
Probably the best reason you have to want to avoid tanning is pseudo celebrity/terrible mother Tan Mom. 'member her? Yeah you do, she looked like a cigar store Indian fucked a crazy cat lady and put it on the news. By virtue of tanning, you immediately have something in common with that loony old bird, and Lord knows you don't need that kind of stress in your life.
Remember when Adam ruined fireworks for you? And then you were like "Up yours, Adam Tod Brown, who spells 'Tod' with one 'D' anyway?" We all do. He was docked a week's pay for that debacle. But never mind that, because fireworks are awesome! They explode in the sky and there's fire! And noises! It's like Michael Bay is jacking off right over the surface of a lake from his secret sky fortress run on jet fuel and titties!
I love titties! Woo!
I love reckless explosions and noise as much as anyone. I have Guns N' Roses CDs, I actually own Uwe Boll's Postal on DVD, who am I to say something is totally lacking in substance? While Adam's argument that fireworks aren't worth watching more than once due to repetitiveness falls apart under what scientists refer to as "the blowjob principle," there is a terrible aspect Mr. Brown has overlooked -- the ethereal and hollow reality of an experience predicated merely on the intangible and short-lived enjoyment of a redox reaction taking place in the lower atmosphere. It's actually quite depressing.
You plan a whole evening, you leave to an open space away from the lights, the hustle and bustle of a world that has no time to revel in the simple joys of the visual display caused by strontium and lithium salts, barium, chlorine and sodium, you sit with friends and strangers in nature and gaze to the sky to watch what in its simplest form is man's bending of science to create beauty and enjoyment. And then the shit ends. And you have nothing but an afterimage thanks to your photoreceptors being as overstimulated as Grandpa after his first dose of Viagra.
Fireworks are the entertainment version of your own mortality, your very life essence displayed in a quick burst of joy that fizzles and is forgotten by all, only referenced again in comedy articles by guys who spell "Tod" with a single "D" who hate them. And you.