6 Supposedly Fun Activities Nobody Actually Enjoys
It's a cold and lonely world we live in. That holds even truer if you live somewhere that actually gets cold during the winter months, when ice, snow and freezing temperatures lead to a massive downturn in time spent in the company of others. Your friend's bullshit might fly when the sun is out and the skies are clear, but driving through life-threatening road conditions to deal with his tomfoolery is out of the question. It's probably best to just stay in and watch TV and counter his invitation to meet for dinner by inviting him to go fuck himself.
Finally, though, the cold weather is starting to subside and people are looking for any and every excuse they can come up with to wrangle up a group of friends and hit the great outdoors. With very few exceptions, the activities these friends will gather to partake in are unspeakably stupid and boring. But, hey, at least it's not snowing. Because we're all so beaten down by the winter months, come spring and summer, we'll pretend to enjoy just about anything as long as it gives us an excuse to not be holed up inside.
For example ...
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying parades are exclusively a warm weather activity. What I am saying, though, is fuck a parade. Maybe the St. Patrick's Day Parade is a good time, but I suspect that's only because people are too hammered to realize how terribly boring it is to watch grown men walk around in skirts while cops and firemen goosestep down Fifth Avenue.
But that's just one example. There are countless cities and towns throughout this great land that use the return of warm weather as an excuse to put on a "parade." I put that word in quotes because what this usually amounts to is watching pimply faced band geeks from the local high school drum and fife corps slaughter whatever 20-year-old pop tune their teacher had stuck in his or her head at the start of the semester. Or, even worse, you just get a bunch of conceited dicks mistakenly believing they're so important that people are lining the streets just to catch a glimpse of them waving from the backseat of a convertible. Rest assured, Captain Fantastic, nobody gives two shits about you or your spot on the board of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Nobody interesting works here.
If you were stuck in traffic behind someone driving 3 mph and waving at everyone on the sidewalk, you'd be on your smartphone Googling the legal ramifications of smashing a person's rear window out with a tire iron. But because your local city council hung up some banners and calls that exact same situation a "parade" you all of a sudden can't get enough? Now watching someone drive at the speed of snail and listening to shitty marching band music merits fighting your way through a crowd just to find a nice spot to stand on the dirty concrete and bake in the scorching hot sun?
No, you still hate it, but all of those months of cold weather have you so desperate for an excuse to be outside that you'll take whatever you can get. That in no way changes the fact that the last time a long line of cars moving slowly through the community was even remotely interesting was when Kennedy was assassinated. Now that was an interesting parade. Unless the parade you're at has a series of strategically placed Lee Harvey Oswalds taking shots at the participants, it's just a bunch of assholes driving slowly, and nobody loves that.
Movies in the Park
People love the word "free." The promise of enjoying something free of charge that you normally have to pay for is a surefire way to get people to leave their homes. After years of searching, that is all I can come up with to explain the appeal of movies in the park.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, scan your local newspaper's "events" section. Without fail, you'll see that some local organization is hosting a series of movies in the park. They're exactly what they sound like. People gather in the park, sit on the dirty and inevitably wet ground and watch a 5-year-old movie on the lowest-definition screen that money can buy.
It should go without saying that any standard rules of movie-going behavior fly out the window when you're watching that movie in the great outdoors. If you talk in a movie theater, you're a pariah, but that dynamic is reversed when you're watching a free movie in the park. If you can even hear a movie above the chaotic din of a park full of people yammering about their pointless concerns, you're blessed with superhuman hearing and should be abducted by the government so they can study your DNA to see if it offers any hope for curing hearing loss in the future and/or can be weaponized to fight terrorism.
It's not like they have anything else to do.
The people talking will only be a minor irritant compared to the throngs of children that irresponsible parents will allow to run roughshod over every inch of the park, though. It's not enough that these children have destroyed their parents' dreams, but now they've been dispatched to ruin your night out as well, and they will stop at nothing to do it.
Look, I get that going to an actual theater is quite possibly the most fiscally irresponsible decision a person can make, but that's what Netflix and the Internet are for. If you're really that desperate to enjoy your cinematic adventures in the company of ants and mosquitoes, just buy a projector and point it at the side of your garage or something. That movies in the park shit is for the birds (who probably also hate it).
I know it seems like I'm coming out of left field with this one. WaveRunners are like baby speedboats -- what could possibly be the problem with that? I guess the answer to that would be "Nothing," provided you put absolutely no value on how enjoyable your weekends are. Granted, if you've never been on a WaveRunner, it probably looks like the best time a person could have until we finally get our jet packs. But shell out the absurd amount of money required to purchase one and then tell me how you feel about that investment.
Think about it for a second -- a WaveRunner is basically a boat stripped of the following things:
- Room for friends
- Room for booze
- The ability to tow shit
- Any hope of looking cool
Yep, I said it. Nobody looks cool on a WaveRunner. You might think you do, but what you really look like is a man in the midst of a midlife crisis. Even you, ladies. You do understand why Kenny Powers is constantly whipping around on a WaveRunner on the HBO series Eastbound & Down, right?
It's not because WaveRunners look awesome. It's because the only people who enjoy them are testosterone-riddled tools who think having a floating Rascal scooter between their legs and a pair of Oakleys around their face will help them score with the ladies. Everyone else sees WaveRunners for what they really are, which is completely and totally boring.
And don't give me any "Hey, man, you're wrong, there's room for friends on a WaveRunner" nonsense. If the other person has to put his arms around your waist while you ride, he isn't enjoying himself. It's called "riding bitch" for a reason.
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.
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.
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
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.