Gut Rumbles

September 14, 2007

Vacation days

Originally published June 28, 2002

Okay, I got the vacation stuff squared away today. I booked the deep-sea fishing trip for my daughter next Saturday, although I'm not doing the 12-hour ride to the Snapper Banks and back, because I'm taking my son along, too. I picked the four-hour trip to the artificial reef, about five miles off shore, where we can catch mackerel and dolphin and maybe a cobia if we get lucky. That should be plenty of fishing for everybody in this heat. Besides, if anybody gets seasick, it's less torture for them.

I've never been seasick, but I've been around people who were, and that must be sheer, unadulterated misery. I always was very sympathetic to their plight, trying to make them feel better by waving a handfull of raw squid in their faces and asking them if they wanted a nice, cold beer. They chummed the water pretty well at first, then ran out of chum and just hung their heads over the gunnels and talked to invisible friends named "Ralph," "Huey," and "Eric" while occasional tendrils of green liquid, matching the color of their faces, dripped from their lips.

I suspect that my son and daughter both will handle the trip with no problem. They inherited my cast-iron gut, and a true Acidman kid does not suffer from motion sickness, ever. Vertigo, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, egomania, insomnia and a love of boiled peanuts we have in abundance. But no motion sickness. I hope we catch a lot of fish. I told my daughter I would clean them and cook them for her and her roommate, Stacey, if they wished.

I also booked a week at the Jekyll Island Inn for me and my son the week of July 22. The place is a luxury hotel right on a private beach where all the stunted oak trees grow at 45-degree angles from the constant wind off the sea. All the Spanish Moss grows on the downwind side of the oaks for the same reason. It's one mile away from "Summer Waves," one of the biggest water parks in the southeast, and less than five miles away from three of the best golf courses anyone would ever want to play. Needless to say, excellent seafood restaurants are everywhere around.

I may throw my golf clubs in the truck when we leave. July 3rd will mark one year since I last played golf, and I once loved that game with a passion. I want to teach my son to play, but he probably would be happy just to drive the cart while Daddy hacked around the course. I may do that, and work on his chipping and putting while we're on the links together. I once was a pretty good golfer. I wonder if the muscle memory remains so that I can at least go out and break 90 (from the SENIOR TEES-- I QUALIFY NOW!) on a tough course without touching a club for more than a year. I may find out.

I don't know if it was the divorce and the prostate cancer happening at the same time or what, but a lot of what I once liked to do, I DON'T like to do anymore. I haven't even thought about golf in a long time, and the only reason I'm thinking about playing now is because of the "amenities" e-mail confirming my reservation that I received from the resort. I've played all three courses before, and when they brag about how good they are, they're not kidding. I feel a slight itch to try it again.

I was a beer-drinker one year ago. I might have had an occasional bottle of wine with a nice dinner, or a Bloody Mary every now and then, but I mostly drank beer. Now, I like a sip of beer and I'm done. It doesn't taste the way it once did, and if I drink an entire can or bottle, I feel bloated and I don't want any more. I like wine now. I've also learned that I have an affinity for Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum. I drink it on the rocks with a splash of tap water. I have beer that's been in my refrigerator for over a month now, and I offer it to friends when they visit, but I don't drink it any more. That makes no sense to me at all.

Do you suppose these are symptoms of a serious mid-life crisis? I mean, I'm growing a pony tail and I'm starting to look at Harley motorcycles the way I once looked at pretty women. I'm thinking of trading my Chevy pickup for a fancy-ass sports car. I'm going to buy a dick-pump. I may even have a professional dye the gray out of my hair. Hell, I'm 50 years old, single and I don't spend anywhere near the money I make. It's piling up like cordwood in a money-market account in the bank because my once-impressive 401-K is now a 107-F thanks to the stock market. I'm afraid to invest my cash holdings, so I might as well SPEND THEM.

Now is the time of my life when I should have expensive toys, isn't it?

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