Tuesday, July 29, 2008

24 Hour Vacation -- The Family Night

The titles haven't made sense to this point. Why start now?

The dinner and subsequent night out weren't as eventful. I think we were definitely on the backside of the mountain. I'm pretty sure we peaked when John rolled in the house with coke and pizza, yet no soda. I'm still thinking about that guy, actually. He was like this Dickensian character, if they did mountains of blow. Did I mention this guy does drugs?

We leave the hotel and get back in the car to pick up Grandma. She walks out of the house with John on her arm, shuffling slowly towards the car. It appears that Gram has decided to sport an outrageous old lady hat, complete with a scarf tied around it that hangs to the side. John, on the other hand is a more simple man. He decided to wear an oversized long white shirt--no shoes, no socks, presumably no underwear. Ever a contrast in styles, they approach the car together as he lovingly hands off his treasured little elf to us. He then stands at the top of the driveway waving goodbye to us as we pray that it is not a windy night.

Then we drive over to Aunt Lynn's to meet up with the rest of the group, and they come filing into the second car. Aunt Lynn is first out, and she looks like she has more left to say. I can't wait to hear it. Lauren's earrings state her Staten Island heritage proudly. Oh, look, Ralph is up. Glad to see he woke up for the occasion. And of course he carries the little old man baby with him, who looks like he could be Ed Koch's father. Okay everyone is in the car, but it looks like they forgot that someone has to drive. Cmon, dummies, one of you get in the front seat now.

Out walks a man with a cocksure first step. A man who is distinctly out of place in South Carolina. A man who has never doubted himself. A man whose only weakness in life is a spaghetti strap tank top that allows his musk to flow freely from his masculine pits to your undeserving nose.

Uncle Joey saunters out of the garage and into the car.

Grandma watches keenly as he gets into the driver's seat. She was only going on the condition that he would not go, since Lynn deemed that neither John nor Joey would go, lest there be a very old yet very juvenile fight. Grandma groans and then speaks slowly, gravely, and deliberately. Like Clint Eastwood.

"I thought he wasn't coming. I don't like liars..."

Jesus Christ, that was the most menacing thing I've ever heard. Just how deep does this family beef go? Is one of us going to get shot?

The adults decide on a seemingly harmless steakhouse to go to. The baby makes a face as if to say, "Why aren't we going to Olive Garden? Just kiddin, they don't make gravy like my ma!" Shut up, baby. You want Grandma to shoot you?

The drink order starts with me, and I commit a social faux paus by ordering a pitcher, when no one else at the table was drinking beer. Little do they know, I wasn't planning on sharing. Grandma quickly takes the attention off of me by ordering a daquiri with a scoop of ice cream...in it. Who is this woman?

As soon as the drink order is in, the baby starts yelping. Now listen closely, this baby was not crying, but actually squealing and YELPING every two seconds.. Imagine the most high-pitch "AYP! ACHP! AAGT!" sounds over and over again, and you will know what it's like to want to murder a child. I can only assume it was food he wanted, and not a gold chain or a track suit, but no one seemed to do anything about it. It continues while the parents carry on their conversation about that commune. ...Holy fuck it's still going. If you're reading this and you have kids, how the fuck do you deal with that noise? Oh my god, I'm actually going to stab a baby. SOMEONE GIVE ED KOCH A FUCKING KNISH.

The dinner passes with relatively few incidents, and we say goodnight to our hosts. The four of us with Lauren and Ralph hit a bar in town to have a few drinks. Everyone in the bar was wearing a white visor with a short sleeve button down from Old Navy. It was clear that we had time-traveled back to 1998. I was very surprised I didn't see a South Carolina "COCKS" hat in the crowd.

After a few fun hours of darts and drinks, Zolak drives Ally, Xmas Girl, and myself back to the hotel. As we drive past the large expanse of shopping centers, we notice a similarity in the buildings. They are all named quite literally, and we realize that they have to be to accomodate these simple folk.

Shoe Store


Food Store


The Room Store


CVS? You think these backwoods retards are going to understand what a CVS is? Yeah, good luck with that store name down here. I guarantee they have a hundred people a day walk in and ask for covers.

We all enjoy a good laugh at the poor hicks of South Carolina, and I slump back in my seat in the car and exhale. At that moment I think we all realized that the worst was behind us. We weathered John's drug temptations, a baby's absolute screeching, and Uncle Joey's overbearing body odor. We stuck it out together, and it was clear that we developed a bond from it. Though it may have been hard, we could be sure that some young man would make a mediocre blog out of the whole thing, and that going forward the best was yet to come.

Then a crazy Asian psychopath tried to drive 100 miles per hour into the back of our car.

He took one attempt, which shook us all up, but we all figured he had just lost control. Then he backed up and floored it again towards the back of our car, flashing his brights. We tried to slow down, he slowed down in front of us and tried to box us in. We tried to speed up, and Cho accelerated and made it even more dangerous. What the fuck was this guy's problem? Did he hear the "backwoods retard" comment? Then I'm sorry! Myrtle Beach isn't backwoods at all!

Quickly Zolak realized that we needed help, and Ally called 911. We tried to give landmarks to the operator, but ironically, no plainly named stores surrounded us. Where was The Room Store when you need it? Fuck that. Where was GUNS?!

Zolak channelled the spirit of the South and got his Gordon on by flying through a red light and whipping the car around to the other side of the road. We all thought the kamikaze would continue to follow us, but he just proceeded past us on his way as if it never happened. We breathed a sigh of relief and were thankful that Zolak didn't get his Earnhardt on.

A minute too late, we found a cop at the next light. Zolak pulled up next to him and explained the incident.

"Sir! Sir, thank god you're here. We were just getting chased by some maniac. I think he was Asian. He was gunning it towards us and flashing his lights, driving wildly like an Asian. I heard him yelling at us in another language. It sounded Asian. It was a blue pontiac, maybe a grand prix, and his face looks Asian. I'd say he was definitely Asian. Or Mexican."

The cop nodded, then looked forward towards the light. He couldn't have given a fuck, and at that point, neither did I. I just wanted to go home.

The next day we got to the airport and suffered delay after delay as the backwoods retards highly competent southerners attempted to efficiently run an airport. XG and I went to Friday's to pass the time, and one drink turned into ten. Our flight was so delayed that we actually saw Ally and Zolak again, even though their flight was three hours later than ours. They sat with us at our table, until our flight abruptly called for final boarding. We hurriedly grabbed our bags and went to dart for the plane. But what about the check?

"Don't worry about the check," Zolak said. "We got it. Don't miss your flight."

I ran away before he even said "check." My plan was complete. A 24 hour trip to South Carolina all for a free meal and drinks. It was so worth it!

Haha, so long suckers! I'm never paying you back! Ever! What are you gonna do about it? Sue me!


You know my name?

You know where I live?

And you're both lawyers?


Okay, look. I have about eighty dollars worth of cold cuts, that should cover it.

I just have to make a quick stop to Myrtle Beach first.

Monday, July 14, 2008

24 Hour Vacation -- The Family Day

If you haven't read Travel Day, go back and read it.

I know what you're thinking. "Brown, if it's a 24 Hour Vacation, how is one day a Travel Day?" Well the answer is that since the vacation was so short, it was like we were basically traveling the entire time, thus making it a "travel day."

The real answer is that I'm an idiot and I fucked up. Are you happy now? I shit the bed, okay? Jesus what is the matter with you? You think this blog is up for a Pulitzer? Does it make you feel like a big man to brow-beat a poor young man just trying to get by on a simple blogger's wages? Do you know how much a blogger makes? Nothing! Since 2005 the total compensation I've gotten for this blog amounts to a wooden nickel, three buttons and used dental floss. So guess what. You get what you pay for, fucker.


So there we were, in the car on the way to Aunt Lynn's house. The conversation went like this:

Brown: So what do I need to know before I meet everyone?

Ally: Well, Aunt Lynn is really nice.

Xmas Girl: Nicest woman you'll ever meet.

Zolak: She's cool; you'll like her.

Brown: Aww that's cool. I love meeting the family. I can't wait!

Xmas Girl: Grandma is the best. She is only about 5'1", maybe 4'11", but she's a straight shooter.

Ally: She doesn't pull punches.

Zolak: It's funny to hear such awful language coming out of someone who's only 4'7".

Brown: Heh, that's fine. My family is rough-and-tumble. We all go at each other. I can handle it.

Ally: And then there's our cousin Lauren. She is very, very Staten Island.

Brown: Uhhh, coooolll...

Zolak: And her husband Ralph is even worse.

Brown: God, really?

Xmas Girl: And then there's the baby. He may be the most Italian one.

Brown: How is a baby that Italian already? He's a fucking baby!

Ally: Uncle Joey hates John.

Brown: Why?

Zolak: John is a cokehead.

Brown: Who is John??

Xmas Girl: Grandma's husband.

Brown: Jesus Christ! How is a grandfather a cokehead? What is he 80 years old? Does coke make old people move at normal speed? Where does an 80 year old even find blow? Does he page a 17 year old and then blow rails off a poster of the Rat Pack? Hold on, my head is spinning.

Ally: Well there was an issue of money, and cars, and stealing...you know, coke stuff.

Brown: Stealing off your four foot grandma??

Xmas Girl: Oh and also? Everyone is pretty much racist.

Brown: Right. Can we pull over? I'm gonna throw up.

I guess they thought I was kidding because they did not pull over. We did, however, take several U-turns due to Uncle Joey's explicit directions. "Once you pass the billboard with the sign for the Magic Show on the back, then you know you've passed it."


I guess Uncle Joey doesn't read the blog, because if he did, he'd know that "then you know you've past it" is never a part of directions. And have you ever tried to look at the back of a billboard while driving? That shit is fucking impossible. But thanks Uncle Joey. You turned a ten minute drive into just a shade under an hour. Well done. I haven't even met you and I like you already.

We get to the house and Uncle Joey is sitting in the garage on a stool, which I found an odd place to wait for someone, since it was 107 degrees out. But he did have a tank top with gaping arm holes, so I guess he was good to go. We make small talk as we walk in the house when Aunt Lynn pops up with a giant "SHHH!"

We whisper, "Oh my god, I'm sorry. Is the baby sleeping?"

"No. Ralph is."

Ralph? The baby's father? An adult? Great. Since when do I have to tiptoe around a grown man sleeping? He's not my father. I'm pretty sure I'll talk in normal tones and if he wakes up, then I guess he'll just have to deal with a short nap today. Poor baby adult male parent.

I sit down on the couch and nervously pick up one of the baby's toys to occupy myself, when what looks like a one foot tall Italian stereotype enters the room. This baby gangster turns the corner like he's going to shoot me for touching his toy, or more accurately, like he's going to posture that he will shoot me for touching his toy, then go home and watch his Sopranos DVD box set. Either way, I quickly dropped his oily rattle as I was approached by the ugliest baby ever.

Now when I say that this baby is the ugliest baby ever, I am exaggerating. This baby was merely the ugliest baby I've ever seen. I'm sure there are some uglier babies in Uganda or something, but this was definitely the ugliest baby in America. This baby is First World ugly. Luckily, XG and the gang quickly get us out and on our way to Grandma's, who lives half a block away. Aunt Lynn calls Grandma a "bitch" then insists that she is coming with us. I see no way that this can end badly.

As the door to the house opens, I am greeted by Grandma, who stands at just about 3'5". She is a bit banged up from a recent fall and walks around gingerly, but you can tell her mind is sharp by her impressive array of curses. We sit down on the couch and go through the usual small talk until Aunt Lynn interrupts the conversation to announce her disgust with a loud "UGH." It appears John has arrived.

John is a large, jovial, red-faced old man. I know what you're thinking, and you are absolutely correct. John is exactly like Santa Claus...except John is jovial because he is coked up, red-faced because he's drunk, and looks about two days older than Saint Nick. Also, John smokes a cigar and is racist. Besides that they are exactly alike. But hey, they both love to play with elves.

In talking to John I see that he is a very charming and sociable man. He clearly loves their Grandma and he takes care of her constantly. This doesn't mean much to Aunt Lynn, however, who is treating everyone to an icy stare and silence combo. Apparently, she prefers to focus on the fact that he does copious amounts of blow, has lost and/or stolen the car, and engages in unholy acts with other women.

Now I can't attest to the validity of these claims. I do not know how an 80 year old man gets coke, but I certainly saw him in some sort of altered state. I do not know the car situation, though the grandkids confirm there are police records to prove it. And hey, maybe that makes him a bad husband, I don't know. But one thing is for sure: this guy is absolutely NOT out crushing the singles scene getting pussy thrown to him like frisbees.

He has a giant coke problem. He froths at the mouth. You can't understand him. He is older than dirt. If this guy is out getting ass, then I'm going to kill myself. Because my single sexual life consisted of...well, it was horrible. I don't feel like talking about it. Read the archives. So I'm sure Johnny Boy is out getting fucked up. I'm sure he's even leering at other women, or whatever old men do. But trust me, Lynn, this guy is not getting laid.

We tapdance around the elephant in the room for about an hour or five, until he would be ignored no more. John lights the fuse by asking us if we all want some pizza, that fucking dick. Aunt Lynn flips out, yelling through her teeth at Grandma. "I bought eighty dollars worth of cold cuts, and you're gonna get pizza? Fine, get your fuckin pizza, waste eighty dollars. But you know what, next time tell me you're gonna get pizza so I don't waste eighty dollars on fucking cold cuts!" Hey Aunt Lynn, how much were the cold cuts?

We politely agree to some pizza, and John obliges to pick it up. Aunt Lynn thinks an appropriate reaction is to dart out of the house and storm down the block. Ally sends Zolak to go talk to her. FUCK. That is going to be me in two years, walking with a frantically pacing relative, talking about expensive lunch meats.

Zolak calms her down with a pro bono therapy session, and she returns to exchange a fake pleasantry and goodbye. We wait another hour until John returns with the pizza, considerably more red in the face. The girls surmise that he went out to bang out a few quick shots/rails/hookers before he got the pizza. I don't know why they're so skeptical, I think he just really wanted the best pizza he could find. And his face was red from all that Myrtle Beach heat! No? Are those no good? See. This is why I couldn't be a player like John. I have no game.

Now we are forced to fake smile and eat fake pizza. As I'm looking around for cues, I see XG motion me to keep eating more pizza. Being a skinny guy, you can never make the mistake of not eating a lot around family friends anyone. If I eat anything less than a five-course meal, I always get the requisite, "Pff, no wonder you're so skinny!" When do I get to play the No Wonder You're So Fat game? Huh? When is that gonna happen, God? Still waiting on that one.

So I eat slice after slice of this cardboard until XG tells me it's time to go. Finally, we can leave! Finally, we can go to the hotel! Finally, I can change out of the clothes I wore through the flight!


As I walk back into Aunt Lynn's, I see Uncle Joey at his usual post-up in the garage, and he offers me a greeting in his usual candor.

"Hey. So how's Dickface?"

I don't know, Fart Pants. Is that an actual question? You were here, by yourself, for hours and the best you could come up with was "Dickface?" Are you sure you don't want to just leave that on his MySpace page? I don't care if you guys hate each other, but can you please not turn this into an episode of Saved By The Bell where I'm playing Mr. Belding?

At Aunt Lynn's we are presented with a mountain of meat. I try to make a giant sandwich to appease the family, and end up choking down a horrendous meal. I stare at a spot on the wall as Aunt Lynn bombards me with questions that frankly, I don't think anyone has the answer to. "It's okay if he wants to get coked up and lose the car, but it's also okay for him to call me a fat fuck?" Umm, Lynn, my dear? I really don't know what to tell you about that.

After about 67 hours of family time, we retreat to the hotel for the first time. I stare at the pool from the window, but I don't even feel like moving an inch to go down there. Plus, a lot of the people down there look fat. Instead I lay on the bed and try to regulate my breathing.

It's only 5 PM.

You still have to go to dinner.

And everyone is going to be there...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

24 Hour Vacation -- The Travel Day

The Good News I Don't Have Arm Cancer series is on hold until further notice.

That notice is now.

It is no longer on hold. It is permanently discontinued.

I have to bump those entries because this past weekend needs addressing. I went down to Myrtle Beach, SC to meet Xmas Girl's grandma and some extended family. Obviously this went off without a hitch, and there's virtually nothing to write about. But I told some people that I would TRY to find something to say about it, so I will make good on that promise.

Oh but if you really care about my arm, here's a quick recap: Day 2 -- repacking. Day 3 -- repacking. Day 4 -- self-surgery to remove packing. Day 5 -- wounds close. Day 6 -- abscess returns. Day 7 -- I ignore it. The circle of life.

On to South Carolina we go.

Our trip begins 15 minutes into our ride to the airport, where Xmas Girl turns to me and says, "Oh my god, I forgot to pack any underwear or bathing suits." WHAT. "Well I don't wear underwear so I forgot to pack them." Oh! Lovely. She says, "We'll just go shopping when I get there." Great. We are there for 24 hours and already 3 of it is going to be spent shopping. This is quickly turning into the most expensive trip to Wal-Mart ever.

At the airport I'm walking through the metal detector, when my belt sets it off. I walk back to quickly toss it in a bin, and some other fat fuck walks past me and through the detector. What are you a fucking diplomat? You think you can just cut the line? Then his frog-faced wife does the same thing! Now suddenly I'm way back in line holding my pants up like a mope as these idiots bumble through security causing massive delays.

I finally come through to the other side and see that we were held up because the wife's bag was flagged by security. I dress myself and look on as a guard opens her bag. She blurts out, "I put all of it right on top so you don't have to go through my bag." He unzips and a couple of tiny bottles sit on top of the clothes. "See? That's it, all under 3 ounces." The guard reaches under the clothes and pulls out a couple huge bottles of lotion, holding them up proudly like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. "Aaahhh, what do we have here? 'It's all right on top,' huh?" She throws her hands up in a tizzy.

"Awww come on! Don't throw it out, at least let someone use it. It's good stuff!!"

"What do you want me to do with women's lotion?"

"But it cost 80 dollars!!"

"Well you can check your bag if you want."

"...No, I can't do that."

"Then go to hell, terrorist."

Well, no, he didn't say that last part, but he did throw out the lotion. That's right. Right in your frog face. You thought you were above the law, what with your line-cutting and all, taking advantage of a poor simple boy trying to get home to grandma. Then you got served with instant karma. I finished getting dressed, XG and I high-fived, and then we proceeded to our gate. That actually happened. We must have been auditioning for that Say Anything remake.

We flew "Spirit Airlines." I put that in quotation marks because I am not sure it's a real airline. You may remember them from their wildly unpopular advertising campaign, "Spirit Air: Now with less leg room!" As we got on the plane, a chipper flight attendant greets us. I point out the kneecap-destroying lack of leg room, to which he tap dances,

Flight Attendant Guy: Well hey, what we lack in leg room, we make up in HEAD room! No more pesky overhead bins!

The New Black: How is that an asset?

FAG: And you hear that sound? What you're not hearing is the nasty blaring of a jet engine. Mmmm, the sounds of silence. That's right, who needs two noisy jet engines on the wing when one will do!

TNB: I hardly think that's sa-

FAG: We here at Spirit also provide free travel to all babies. Any babies at all! No need to even have a parent on board, just toss on a crying baby and we'll ship 'em across the country in our other passengers' laps!

TNB: Now you're just getting ri-

FAG: Boy, oh boy. All this conversation is making me thirsty. I think I'm going to help myself to one of our courtesy bottles of water.

TNB: Well, alright. That's more like-

FAG: Only three dollars each!

TNB: ...Do you really even work here?

FAG: Yes! But we haven't been paid in 6 weeks!

So somehow Spirit and their volunteer pilot-of-the-day navigate the skies down to Myrtle Beach and we land safely where we are picked up by Xmas Girl's sister and her husband. Now Xmas Girl has that moniker because I seriously had no idea what her name was when I met her. In retrospect, I wish I would have thought of something more clever, but here we are. Now I have the chance for vindication by bestowing two awesomely perfect nicknames to the sister and brother-in-law.

Drumroll please.

And here we go....





Fuck. I got nothin.

He had requested the name "Myrtle Waves" and she requested "Burro Loco," to both of which I respectfully decline. Both are funny in their own right, but Myrtle sounds like an old woman and Burro Loco, well, for some reason that only reminds me of this mess. For the sake of simplicity, he will be known as Zolak, after the greatest Patriots quarterback of all-time. And she will be known as Pink Hat Hannakuh Girl Ally, after everyone's favorite plucky female Boston-based lawyer.

That's it. Those are your names. Congratulations.

You don't like it? Suck it. Welcome to the blog.