It seems my entire summer has been nothing but getting barraged by vacation posts on my social media. “Oh, look, so and so is on vacation. Here’s another 30 pictures and five check ins from Tuesday. Oh man, I hope there’s pictures of food in this collection!”
|Be more like her.|
Guys, we need to have some sort of summit, some kind of “code” where we reign in all this “Look social media!1! I’m on vacation!1!” Here’s what I propose as I decide if I should add this to any of my #VoteForKev2020 platforms.
1) No more than 5 pics per day. And all 5 shots have to be different, not just slightly different poses. Exception; unless you’re a hot chick in a bikini. In which case, this is likely the only reason I keep you as a FB friend. We both know the deal here.
2) Only 1 shot of the sunrise or sunset. You can’t have both. What are you doing up so early on vacation anyway?
3) No more than 5 check ins per week. Plan your attention whoring carefully.
4) Absolutely no video. Few care to see pictures of your child on the Teacups, let alone video. In fact, you could post a video of an entirely different child on the Teacups, and most of us wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
5) Absolutely no food porn. Can we just call a halt to this banal practice anyway? I can’t tell you how many bullshit food porn pics have been littering my feed all summer. To be quite honest, no one really fucking cares. Is your ego really that inflated that you think, “I’m am going to post this nondescript picture of what appears to be Michelob Ultra in a glass along side a plate of food that looks like it could be literally from the chicken wing place two blocks away from me.”
Pop quiz, hotshot
The above is a picture of
1) The finest pizza with expensive beer from a villa in Italy
2) The world famous boardwalk pizza and local craft brew
3) The Monday Night Special from the shitty sports bar
Well, what do you think?
Every time I see something like the above pizza picture, I go to your house and pee somewhere. Pool, garden, doorknob, bed (both dog and human), car door handle, mailbox. I feel no guilt, you brought this on yourself.
I myself abide by the same rules. To wit, this is the first year for Theory Pup 2.0 on the beach. As this is a momentous occasion, it’s only a momentous occasion for a small amount of people. I did shoot a video of his first steps on the beach and brush with the ocean, but that really means something to just me. I kept it and didn’t post it. And since we’re all being honest here, I will tell you I took 64 pictures total. Of those, TP2 was in 58 of them. And while most certainly yes, he was rocking the dorbs, you want to know how many pics I posted? None. Zip. Zero. Nada. I value and appreciate my FB friends that much that I don’t want to waste their time on videos they won’t watch or pics they won’t look at, just long ass blogs they won’t read.
Vacations generally cost a lot of money because they are worth it. Hotels and beach houses are generally expensive to rent because part of the deal is the peace of mind. You don’t sit around thinking of what picture to hang where or what color to paint the garage door or any other of the subliminal messages those bastards at Lowes and Home Depot implant. You don’t worry about anything because generally, there is nothing to worry about at the hotel/beach house.Yes, there may not be a monetary return on investment, but what you can get out of them is often worth it if you know what you're doing. And that's why you're here because I know what I'm doing. For the record, give me an old school, “back in the day” beach house any day. No, really, please somebody just give me one of those. HMU @ifyouseekev Until that beach house pops up, let’s get back on point. What’s the point of getting away from it all if you take everything with you? You know what I’m talking about; this wonderful device we all use called “the phone.” You finally get there, and you stare at your phone like you do every other damn day? That makes no sense to me.
|"I wonder what the weather on the beach is supposed to be like today. I better check."|
What is that conversation like when you return to work on Monday?
“Hey, Dick, how was your vacation last week?”
“Hi, Harry, thanks for asking! It was great! We went to the beach and I posted 50 photos a day! Then we went to the boards, and I stared my phone. We ate great dinners while I took pictures and stared at my phone. We ate ice cream and I stared at my phone. I even managed to stare at my phone while we rode roller coasters!”
“Wow, that sounds really awesome! Well, welcome back and enjoy staring at your computer screen for the next 8 hours, dick.”
On vacation, I consciously unplugged, and you know what? It was fucking glorious. I didn’t bring my PC. Left the work phone at home and never checked my work communications once and didn't feel a damn shred of guilt about it. My constituents can go a week without me. I mean, c’mon, when 45 takes his weekly 4-day vacations, you think he has his work phone, or even “the football?” No, he doesn’t, so I see no need for any of us to do any different. I used my phone sparingly. For example; running tracker & music, directions, Yelp to find new places and reviews, weather, tide chart. Maybe FB once a day. I didn’t drunk text anybody. I didn’t check my usual sports sites, besides, what other meaningful sports are in season now beyond NASCAR and UFC? I didn’t check my usual newsites. And you know what I missed? You know what happened?
Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, for the second time this year, I find myself coming back to a Del Amitri song:
And nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all
The needle returns to the start of the song
And we all sing along like before
You know it’s possible to go to the beach and not bring your phone? I know, right, pretty freaking mind-blowing. I’m so old school, I brought these things called books and this ancient technology called an “iPod.” Not “iPad” but “iPod.” King Tut had one. Go Google it. My mind boggles when people stare at their phones all day on the beach. Yet they do, in scary, big numbers. Doesn’t matter the age, everyone is doing it. And it got me wondering, what’s the point here? Why do you pack a bag, towel, umbrella, food and drink, set yourself up, then stare at your phone the whole time? What’s the endgame here? You can just do that shit at home. Your phone is with you all the time, the beach isn’t. What am I missing here? I could have been sitting on that beach, phasing in and out of unconsciousness (naps, not blackouts) with my iPod on. A tsunami warning could go out, I could miss it and wake up to an empty ass beach with a huge wave coming at me all Rogue One style. Whoops, SPOILER ALERT! Damn it. Sorry. Anyway, I’d just look at that wave with Zac Brown playing in my ears and enjoy my last few minutes of peace. And some chicken fried.
OK, I can hear you naysayers out there, asking, “But, Kev, what if they were actually not screwing around on their phones? What if they actually were reading?” That’s a fair question, and here’s my common sense answer; because I can tell. So, let’s see, when they are constantly tap tap tapping on their screen. When they are lying on their back, neck craned to the left, where their hand is holding the phone. Lying on their stomach, creating a mountain around their phone with their t-shirt so they can see the screen, robbing themselves of the beach and ocean. Taking selfies, Twittering or Twattering or whatever it’s called, checking in, everything from the beach but not actually being on the beach.
Every morning, I would watch this family of 3, a mom and two teen aged daughters, walking to the beach. And without fail every time, the mom was eyes ahead on the prize of the beach, while her two kids mindlessly had their necks craned at 45 degrees so they could stare into their phone.
And yes, I know this is Old Man Theory running out into his yard wearing tall white socks, screaming at the clouds and telling those durn kids to turn down their infernal music. I get kids today never not had phones. They’ve probably never bought a physical cd or physical book. Nope, all that stuff today comes magically in the air to your phone. And it stays there. And it gets lost there.
Everyone has their place; their place that heals them, inspires them, soothes them, encourages them. For me, that is the beach. So why would I bring anything to distract me from that? I have a playlist on my iPod called SummerSongs. (Yes, there’s no space in there, and no, I haven’t figured out how to correct it.) And it’s literally hundreds of songs that are about summer, remind me of summer, or were big hit songs in the summers of my current youth.
Some days, I would put my iPod on and just listen to all those songs. Two things would happen. 1) If it was an older song, memories of past summers would come rushing in, much like the tide. Where I was when I heard this song, who I was with, beach visits from the past. 2) Or if it was another song, I would find myself making new memories to it. That kid in the green shorts with matching skim board that always went ass up when he hit the wave. Those 4 girls who were talking about guys they were stalking or “ruin.” The stand up paddle boarders paddling by. Embedding memories in these songs so the next time I heard them, these moments would come back. Pleasant time bombs.
I would venture out into the ocean. Without the books or iPod of course, because that would be stupid. I would wade so far out, the lifeguards wouldn’t whistle me in, because they knew I could fight any shark dumb enough to be coming by. My eyes saw it like this; for 180 degrees, from my left to my right was nothing but me and the ocean. I could see no one else. Just me and the ocean, my ocean. The ocean I can still never make myself pee in. The sun beating a trail down on the waves tracing back to me. A million tiny suns shining back in the waves. Occasionally, dolphins (the fish, not the football players, because that would be kind of weird) would breach way out in front of me. And this was it. I hit my Zen. And
Up to me and what’s left of my brain cells to somehow hit the pause button and remember this scene, this feeling. I didn’t have to post anything about it. I didn’t have to check in about it. It was just me and my ocean. This would have to hold me for another 51 weeks. So, soak it all in. I was able to hit this Zen moment a few more times on the beach. Each time trying to consciously be in the moment. We don’t remember the moments we lifelessly stare into our phones, we remember moments like this.
There were times on that beach where I was just trying to hit the pause button. I don’t think we need the KT Bureau of BS statistics to tell us time flies much faster on vacations. I believe the variant to be at 1.3. So when you get those moments where you have Zen or are able to live in the moment, do it. Don’t take pictures or blab about it on ChatterGram or Friendster or wherever people are jerking off these days. Appreciate where you are and hold onto it for as long as you can. There are actual non KT Bureau of BS Statistics that show people who constantly take pics with their phone remember far less than those who try to be present in the moment.
|Top; Tiger Woods teeing off 2002, bottom Tiger Woods teeing off 2018. Progress?|
|In case you didn't get that joke.|
It doesn’t matter where your Zen is. It could be a golf course in Ireland. Setting up camp in the forest. An iceberg in Alaska. (Yea, I don’t get that one, either.) The point here is, find that place and go to it. With my favorite kind of abandon; reckless abandon. Go to it as often as you can. Unapologetically. And when you get there, be there. Put the phone away. It’s just you and your Zen here, kid. No phone can capture that. Only you can. And while we’re at it, keep an eye out for forest fires, because that’s kinda your responsibility now too, champ. Only you…
I also hit these Zen moments while running, of all things. Yes, longtime readers who haven’t yet got quite tired of my juvenile humor know I absolutely detest running. I am only doing this because I have the stupid Warrior Dash coming. But running at the beach in the morning is a whole different animal. I have a running tracker, and music to help me as I huff and puff like an asthmatic Jabba the Hutt. The music I “use” for such occasions is a mix of aggressive, heavier type music, along with a few from my SummerSongs playlist. And I found as those summer songs hit, I was taking more of the sights in. The umbrellas gently moving on the beach, the hotel that somehow had palm trees on some on the balconies, trying to look studly and unfatigued as I ran past the boardwalk webcam that I often look at. Again, the next time I hear those songs, I will recall those scenes in slow motion. Because that was pretty much the way it felt like I was running.
Music is funny that way, you can hear a song you’ve heard before, but when at the right time and right environment, it can capture a memory you want to hold on to. For example, I heard this Michael Franti song while I was eating breakfast outside on Monday morning with a Crabby Mary. The Crabby Mary of course being the drink and not anybody I may have been with. So, of course, I bought this album (people still do buy music) and put it on my iPod. (OK, I might be alone in that behavior.) It will always remind me of this -and really, who has good memories of any Monday morning?- breakfast and the overwhelming gratitude that I was even able to be in this space and time. And that the Visa gift card miraculously didn’t bounce, or it would have been another morning run.
It was on these runs that this blog started taking form. As I sluggishly made my way, I literally see hundreds of people of all ages actively ignoring the beach and the life on the boardwalk to mindlessly stare into their phones. They didn’t smell the popcorn and cotton candy, nor hear the seagulls or waves. If I had the other half of my mind, I’d recklessly careen into them like I am a movie getaway car driving through boxes in an alley. I just couldn’t get away very fast. Plus, those assholes would quickly post photos of me running away. Lousy social media.
And yes, it’s not lost on me that I use a lot of these very same social medias to pimp this blog. I know, it’s lazy. I know it’s the nature of the beast. But at least I am trying to get some good, sound advice out there. And, trust me, this is all good shit. It’s also not lost on me that as I write this first draft (and let’s face it, I’m just gonna run it 95% the way it is) that I have been staring at a screen for 154 minutes now on a beautiful Sunday when I could be reading, hammocking, walking Pup 2.0. Instead, here I am, spouting sound common sense that will largely be ignored. I have faith that one day my work will be discovered and feted. I see a liberal and forward thinking college naming a wing after me.
Let me end this life lesson. If you must surf the Web while on the beach, reading this blog is acceptable. In fact, you are encouraged to let others read it, too. Afterwards, I am sure they will put their phones down and actually enjoy the waves. And if someone actually is reading this blog while on the beach, send me a picture, and I will donate some money to the charity of your choosing. (See, that’s how you use education and social media for good.)
Now put the phone down.
Bonus scene with commentary
For the most astute of you, you probably notice there has been an unexplained gap from Theory Pup 1 and this New Guy, Theory Pup 2. Theory Pup 1, was lost, so, so suddenly last fall. I thought there was more time. It’s nothing that fits this humor blog, other than I truly miss him every day. Every fucking day. But TP2 is doing a really good job at plugging this dog sized hole in my heart. I mean, not enough to get a tattoo, but you never know. I don’t believe in signs. But the following is true.
As I arrived on the beach on Saturday, the first day of this illustrious vacation, I was rifling through my shorts, hoping for 20s, 50s or something even greater. I fumbled through a few old receipts. And I found a yellow square of paper, a Post it. And on that small yellow square of paper was a series of questions I was going to ask the doctor who evaluated TP1. Ultimately, they were not needed to be asked. TP1 was gone so shortly thereafter. (And yes, this opens me up for how often I wash my clothes, so fire away, fucktards.)
So here I am, at the very same beach TP1 quite possibly had the last, best time of his life. On those shores, in that sand, in front of that ocean, he found his inner pup. Acting, dancing far younger than his 13 years. Squirrel speed. Energy boundless. A part of me, a very big part of me, was dreading this "Yappy Hour." TP2 was proving to be stubborn, but to be fair, he was so much younger, by years, than the first time I brought TP1 down. TP2 was being a very good boy, but still a bit of a dickhead.
The last day of Yappy Hour, Friday, I held that little yellow square tightly in my hand, TP2 in my other hand. I knew what I had to do. In the Grand Scheme of Things, it was full circle. Again, I don’t believe in signs. But it seemed to make all the sense in the world. As I was walking TP2 along the tide- a struggle in itself- I bent down like a Ninja and placed the small yellow paper into the ocean. The tide knew what to do with the rest. I watched it disappear into the ocean, knowing TP1 would never disappear from my heart. Not now, not ever. I miss you Big Guy, you are a great dog.