Monday, June 20, 2005

Family vacations

Ever been to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky? It's this long, winding path underground with stalagmites and stalagtites and bottomless pits and blind fish swimming in black water and I swear to you there are still bodies in the crevices from tours gone awry.

I went there once, as a kid. We took the 4 hour tour. Four fucking hours of walking underground oohing and ahhing at wet rocks and black dropoffs into never-neverland, which is scarier to an 8 year old boy than the Never-Neverland that comes with butt plugs and a circus freak.

It was one of the many vacations we took as a family. I can only imagine what the fuck my old man was thinking when he planned them.

Then there were the bats at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. And oh my fucking god, Custer's battlefield in, what was it, Wyoming? For the love of christ, does every goddamn Native American left in this country gather in the West to make those stupid, fucking dream catcher hoops and shitloads of turquoise jewelry?

In Montana I desperately wanted to see a bear eat somebody. I sat with my nose to the window as we drove through Glacier Park, praying for bloody fangs. Wouldn't that liven shit up?

Arizona ain't got shit but aired-zonas. That was pretty funny, huh? I just made that shit up. Feel free to lift it. Grand Canyon, my ass. It's a big motherfucking hole. Period. But here's a thought: Let's ride a fucking burro to the bottom of the son of a bitch and make a day of it! Morons.

The sequoias were cool as shit, right there. I enjoyed those. I remember there was a fire near Fresno at the time I was there. I kept hoping it would chase the bears my direction and, again, I'd see one eat somebody. Still no luck.

I watched Old Faithful blow her wad, right on cue. And I'll tell you one place I absolutely hated was Hot Springs...Something-or-Other. Shut up. I'm impressed I remembered the name of the place. The state isn't relevant. You're not gonna go. I hated that place because it was a myriad of plank boardwalks over super-heated water about a foot deep all over. Except, of course, where it was a black hole that went to the core of the Earth and everything burned to death on the way down. That was great. Smelled like ass, too.

Graceland. Oh, Jesus H. Christ. Momma had a thing for young Elvis. I have walked the King's home. I have seen the museums, shops, pearly gates, and 1.3 million flip-flop wearing, big-haired, middle-aged groupees trying to get a piece of their leader. It was not a pretty sight.

I remember Dodge City, Kansas, of all places. They put on a show, outdoors, with a fake shoot-out. I thought it was great. They were standing there shooting at each other right in front of us. I had no idea it was an act. Fuck you, I was a kid. It was almost perfect. All it lacked was a big bear, running from the bushes to eat someone. That would have been the icing on the cake.

The helicopter ride around Mt. Rushmore was the shit. I sat between the pilot and Momma and spent the whole time firing my imaginary machine guns at the ex-presidents.

My old man didn't finish. He wanted to take us to New England, too. I eventually went as an adult, but he still hasn't gone. He hasn't flown since he was discharged 30 years ago. Maybe I'll torture my kids with a 3,000 mile car ride. Or perhaps I'll just throw Jazz on a plane with them and tell them to offer my best to Mickey when they get there. Now there's an idea. It's never too soon to start planning your own family traditions.