Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Travel Game

The Travel Game

Well... I'm back.

And I'm glad to be back, for I am not a lover of travel. For me, vacationing is a kind of croquet game, where each leg of the trip requires you to pass through escalating wickets of worry. I have an excellent time once I've passed through each wicket, and hit the multi-colored pole of my final destination, but the process of getting there is a bit stressful.

On any vacation, the first wicket for me is the drive to the airport. Then I get on a plane. Then that plane gets in the air. Then it lands someplace I've never been. Then I have to get on another plane, and it leaves my country of origin. Then I land in a foreign country, where English is broken and I can only communicate through mime and crying. Only once I've reached the final destination, can I relax and enjoy myself. Which I did in fact, until the time came for me to finally go horseback-riding.


Normally, I would not choose to ride a horse. But Kim had her heart set on it, and I've been married long enough now to be pretty good at calculating the amount of "doghouse" time I'd receive for begging off, and after weighing that against the amount of relief I'd gain from not going, I saw that if I wanted to pass this particular exam I'd need hitch up a pair of chaps, or spurs, or a combination of both (spaps).

Riding a horse is one of those acts we've seen thousands of times in movies, and perhaps thousands of times in real life if you've got a betting problem. Whenever people are on top of a horse, they don't look too concerned for their safety; but that carefree mien seemed quite misleading to me as a sat astride Dynamite.

( I should note here, that even though I don't know the exact origin of his name, it's a fair guess that the frequency with which gas exploded from his body might have been a factor in Dynamite's noble titling.)

So, anyways... Sitting astride my equine overlord, I felt that the film industry had irresponsibly glamorized the act of horseback-riding. None of these movies seemed to indicate that once on top of the horse, he had complete control over where you went. Should Dynamite choose to take me to some secret horse lair, where horses in aprons await to carve up my body for organs to sell on the horse black-market, leaving me in a bathtub full of hay, I would have no say in the matter.

But, as luck would have it, it turned out Dynamite was not some diabolically unaccommodating horse, and in fact I could give suggestions as to where he took the two of us. I tried to my best to suggest we follow the other horses, and Dynamite seemed agreeable to that, as long as I was willing to let him eat anything that would help him cultivate more regal proclamations of flatulence.

Homeward Bound

As vacations tend to do, mine eventually came to an end, forcing me to continue the croquet game I had started 6 days previously. The wickets were in the same location, and now I had to pass through them backwards. There were a handful of tough spots. The Cornell Family nail clippers were confiscated as we passed through airport security, which was a real shame because the first thing I needed to do when I got home was snip my mole-like fingers. We had a five-hour layover in Miami, which we got through only by sheer joy of being back in the United States, where we could drink tap water, get exact change in financial transactions, and not have a porter harass us for a tip after carrying our bag five feet. On our final flight, Niff took a blanket from first class and shoved it in my hands, causing me to hide it guiltily so the stewardess wouldn't think I was an economy-class passenger who didn't know his place. But eventually we passed the last wicket and arrived home to find nothing had burnt down or flooded. Match over — everyone's a winner.

A Return to Routine

Now I must return to loose ends I abandoned a week ago, along with some new problems. First on the list, the handful of comment spams that have slimed past my filter must be exorcised. Then, hours and hours of inking content for my next book beckon. Now is also the time to try and get a hold of a contractor to put a railing on my front steps, and return to the half-finished chores of repainting the kitchen and mowing the lawn. And last but not least, delivering the airline blanket I had forgotten was hidden in my carry-on back to Niff, so that she will be the one to face the swift justice of the Federal judicial system when the airline discovers their first-class blanket is missing.

So... how was everyone else's week?

Comments on this Article

There are currently 34 comments.

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Russer Butters

Sounds like a great trip, but did you do anything other than traverse airport security and ride horses? Oh, and just so you know you can buy a pair of nail clippers on the other side of the security checkpoint at the gift shop before bording the plane. God bless our national security


ah, the only think i like more than metaphors are pictoral metaphors, moreso pictoral metaphors concerning 'wickets'. well done sir, well done!


Sure! We did plenty of swimming and drinking — and we were there for a most excellent wedding!

So I could get clippers duty-free? I should have bought them instead of that stupid crossbow. I only got five bolts :(


The interesting thing about the nail clippers was that the security out of the country did not confiscsate them. I guess they weren't worried about my clipper-wielding habits abroad.


5 hours in Miami, you should have let me know, I would have gotten you all drunk and into the everglades to look at gators, then back to the airport with hours to spare!


Kim is very lucky that you know how to weigh "doghouse time" against your desires. You could probably save lots of marriages by sharing your calculation methods with other husbands.

My husband was recently in conversation with some of his buddies about how much time they all spend in the doghouse and what usually lands them there. Fortunately he's quickly learning whats worth being in the doghouse for and whats not.

Glad you enjoyed most of your vacation.


The Jones - IS THAT what you do when you're drunk in Miami? No wonder there's so many gator-related fatalities, not to mention hydrofoil crashings!

June - I can't share that kind of information with the general public! I'd go from being an "awesome" husband to a just plan "normal" husband. Besides, when all the other husbands are in the doghouse, that means all the promotional videogame stations at Best Buy are open.


KC - yeah, I guess a "SPAPS "helmet is what you would've needed...I know I'm not helping us "crazy Swedes" get a better reputation posting this, but what the hey... :D


...sorry, THIS is what I meant to link...


This is probably a stupid question, but what scale of havoc can you possibly wreak with nail clippers?

I can't wait to experience the croquet game one month from today! Sounds like an eventful weekend. All I did this weekend was eat chocolate covered bacon and get a tattoo.




Anders - Oh man. That's TOO perfect. I wonder what spAps means in this case?

Jared - Do the two activities relate? Because a tattoo that boasts of bacon conquest is a pretty valid tattoo as well....

The Jones - Very well. I'll be down tonight. I'll bring the chocolate-covered bacon.


I believe I had this to say about the tattoo. The new one, however, is a Tibetan skull. According to Tibetan folklore, they would raid villages after nightfall consuming every last strip of bacon. I guess you can say the two relate.


You are not going to pass off your illegally obtained AA blanket on me! I politely gave back teh blanket I stole from the first plane to the second plane.

I think airline police fly to your house.

be careful!

OH, and you mean to tell me you NEVER USED that blanket? what a waste!!!


I was on vacation last week and Monday. I went to Connecticut to see family. My week, as you can guess, was awful.


I'd imagine the locals would openly embrace a foreign crying mime - so good call on that front.


Oooo! Just thought of something....I see that Kim's stock levels are getting sort of low and you need to get rid of evidence. How about some limited edition Airline Blanket Monkeys??


wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket wicket


...I can't help but try and bring it all back down to my level, sorry.


Don't worry, the feds won't come after you for taking the airplane blanket. I've stolen two! And still have one as evidence. Though those were both from Asian Airlines, and not First Class.

Does First Class get better blankets? A higher thread count, perhaps?


Congratulations on making it back in one piece.

I think you should write travel memoirs... they'd be like the... anti-travel brochures.

Hmmm... and definitely include that horse story. I was cracking up.


Actually I spent the week sick in bed. Kill joy. I know. Would you write a comic about me? You need to include more Australians in your illustrations. Besides, my 21st birthday is on the 11th of July.

Here's a challenge, You can only include the following:

Purple, Cancer (the sign) and me. Ill email you a photograph of me.

Fabulous. Glad to read you again.


Terry Tolleson

It sounds like you had a nice trip, overall, BSR. The part regarding the horse was very amusing. Assuming you weren't downwind of the royal rump, of course.

For this past week, the Tolleson family went to California. We missed our first flight out. Without drawing it out: baggage checks close several minutes (30-40) prior to boarding. Regardless of how soon you arrive at the airport prior to boarding, if you miss the baggage check, they won't let you on the plane. We wait the 3 hours for the next flight to L.A.

We get to LAX, get our rental and head to San Diego for the first leg of the trip. Zoo, beach and seafood. Good times. Then it was back to Anaheim for some Disney fun. Further good times. Then it was time to get back home. Arrived at LAX well over an hour before departure (as is always stated). The line to check baggage took just over 20 minutes to get through. At the end of my wife entering our information, the 40-minute baggage check closed. We literally "missed" our flight by 1 minute. That's right, we still had 39 minutes before the plane would depart, but we were denied the flight because the window closed while finishing up the check-in process.

So, 6 hours later we got on the next flight back to Texas.


Zombiefactory - You should have visited my family. They're a blast. You could have slept in my old bedroom!

BigA - Heh, heh... that WOULD be pretty cool. But they're not in sock form already!

Katie - OOOH! You just fell for my sting! I'm working in conjunction with the FBI to help find blanket stealers! Finally, I can get my extensive cat-poaching record erased!

Martha - Haha - I doubt a travel agency will carry my brochures. Guess I'll have to invent "anti-travel" agencies as well.

Grant - Here's a secret... EVERYONE in my illustrations are Australian. I find they can hold still longer than other models. I'm not sure why...

Terry - Man... I suppose I can't really complain about my layover... at least I KNEW I'd have to do it...


Personally, I find actually playing croquet a far more traumatic experience than travelling. What with conversing with your betters, physical exertion in public and trying to keep your dinner jacket clean for afternoon tea. Quite vexing!

Fortunately, as you say, the rewards are worth it once the game is through: cucumber sandwiches on the lawn and the possibility of a young lady's arm for an afternoon stroll by the lake beckon! I do so enjoy being an English gentleman.

Wait. What were we talking about?


i, for one, welcome our new equine overlords.

once again, we prove to have opposing sensibilities. the wickets are often the best part. i looked forward to my five-hour layover in london almost as much as to my five days on the beach in italy, and i was not disappointed. mmm...prawn cocktail crisps....


Yes, you see here in Australia we leave all of the jumping around to Kangaroos.

There you go, include a kangaroo. Perhaps Mojo makes friends (or enemies) with one? They're pretty stupid though.

I'll stop pestering you now (and possibly do some work).


Grant - Kangaroos stupid!?! Haven't you seen Kangaroo Jack?


BSR - I sense that I'm in danger here... Post something, quick!


Well... you make a valid point. He did outwit the fat kid from "Stand By Me"...


My parents divorced when I was a kid, so my room up north has not changed since 1989. It makes for a very surreal, and creepy, shrine to my childhood.


No, I havent actually seen Kangaroo Jack. Although generally, movies about Australia are so overtly stereotyped they're not really about Australia at all (re: Crocodile dunee).

You see, it turns out we're not actually like Steve Irwin at all.

Should I see Kangaroo Jack?


Well... I never actually saw the movie. But previews today are constructed in such a way, that I was able to garner the movies entire story and plot, AND see the funniest moments. So, I can GUARANTEEEE...

You don't want to go see this movie.


I love that they also give away the twist.


That's really the direction that I was going... I only caught the end of the movie (right before "That's so Raven" on the Disney Channel) and my point was - Hollywood is stupid and I pity the Kangaroos for falling prey...

Australians as well I suppose... and while I'm at it...


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