Summertime and the Leavin' Ain't Easy
Aahh, summertime! Most of the trade shows are over and the office is as quiet as a ghost town. Tumbleweeds are rolling through the coffee room and those few who are at their desks are surfing the Home Shopping Network for shorts, sandals and some cheap jewelry for the beach. Though things are slow during these lazy days, we here at Odd Parity Headquarters aren't about to take off on vacation without giving you some valuable family vacationing tips. So pull up a towel and get ready for some meaningless reading.
First a little history. The word vacation comes from the Latin "vacatus" which means "to cram the family into the car and get into heated arguments about where to have lunch while looking for the Tennis Ball Museum in Terre Haute." Honest. The Greeks had even worse descriptions involving large wooden horses and wholesale slaughter, but why go into that? Let's look at a few fun options that any family can enjoy.
Many families opt for the "Theme Park Vacation" which promises "Fun for the Whole Family!" "Convenient Parking!" and "The Opportunity to Go Broke in the Company of Huge Grinning Elves!" Unfortunately, this usually means going to Orlando.
Summertime in Orlando is slightly less pleasant than spine surgery. By the time the family has finished its six dollar glasses of OJ (don't they grow oranges just up the road?) the temperature is pushing 90 and a stroll across the parking lot is like walking through a field of boiling sponges. But why worry? It's vacation time! Get the kiddies out early, cough up a few hundred bucks and go stand in lines that are longer than the Great Wall of China. Then hold on! Wheeee...Splash! Then forty seconds later it's back outside to find the line for "The Spleen Shattering Tower of Nausea."
That's major league vacating! And just in case your spirits start to slide, there will be a perky seven-foot cartoon character to cheer you up. As a matter of fact, the thing won't leave you alone until you smile. "Perk, perk, perk," as it chases you and your terrified children into an expensive photo opportunity. Maybe you should pass on the theme park vacation. Maybe you should try the "Let's just get in the car and see where the road goes" vacation.
The first place the road goes is the auto repair shop. Cars secretly plan this. "Family's trying to get away from it all," your car thinks, "time for my fuel pump to explode." And you'll always break down at least six hours into the trip in front of "Grandpa's Willow Rest Cottages." Lodging will cost $200 a night, because, as Grandpa likes to chuckle, "We have to charge extra if you don't have a reservation and there are flames leaping out of your fuel pump." Might as well make the best of a bad situation, right? Buy the local paper and see whats to do in Dozing Falls, Vermont. "Hey kids, look!" you chirp. "There's a ham and bean supper down at the fire station! And, boy oh boy, it's "Pet the Dalmatian night!"
Nah. Forget the "Call of the Road" vacation. Why not try the ever-popular, "Let's stay home and bum-around vacation"?
This, the easiest of all vacations, is where you convince the family that it will be a lot of fun if "we all just stay home and enjoy each other." It's best to promise that no one will have to do chores during the bum-around vacation, and that there will be educational day trips — excursions where you visit an old house to see a famous dead person's bedroom exactly as he left it.
Once you get to one of these historical sites, a college student dressed in an authentic Early Quaker Oats costume will greet you at the door and lead you around the historical digs with a historical commentary that will make you want to take a historical snooze. "Here is Nathaniel's room exactly as he left it," the student whispers. "The coverlet was made by Nathaniel's daughter just before she was found guilty of making potions out of boiled beetles and was burned at the stake." During the lecture, the kids will have questions swirling through their heads such as, "I wonder if there's a snack bar?" or "What do boiling beetles smell like?"
After the educational tour, it's time to go home and bum around. There's only one problem. After three days of bumming around, you might be tempted to suggest, "going outside and doing a little yard work."
A little friendly advice here. Never bring up yard work during the bumming around vacation. The whole family already knows that you're taking the easy way out, so don't push it. Or next year, take my word for it, you'll end up in Orlando, wishing you were at a trade show.
By Mike Donlin.
Mike does technical, marketing and creative writing for The Write Solution, his freelance business. He can help your company wend its way through the vagaries of the English language, and prides himself on his intimate knowledge of gerunds, semicolons and dipthongs. If you'd like Mike to pen a tome on a timely technical topic, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-889-4955.
Editor's Note: Cartoon reprinted from The Funny Times, P.O. Box 18530, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118, 216-371-8600.
Reprinted from SOCcentral.com, your first stop for ASIC, FPGA, EDA, and IP news and design information.