The older I become, the more I realize that I can now relate to most of the characters in National Lampoon’s Vacation, not just the teens & Uncle Eddie… 😜
What triggered thoughts of the Griswold’s was an incident with my daughter a few weeks ago. My daughter’s friend asked her to go to Fright Fest at Great America, I agreed, assuming the other mom/dad were going. Unfortunately the other mom/dad assumed I was going.
Since we already told them yes and they were so excited; neither of us could say no. So I agreed to drive one way and the other mom agreed to drive the other. Neither one of us were thinking about the round trip time. When I realized I would be in the car for 2.5 hours going nowhere, combined with my daughters additional side text requests for other accommodations; I started to get a tad bit resentful. Hence, my text below to my daughter.😜👇🏻
On my round trip to Gurnee, I got to thinking about how much I will enjoy seeing my daughter sing zip-a-dee-do-dah out of her tiny butt😊😅 like Louis Armstrong. Then I realized I am becoming more and more like Clark Griswold! How did this happen?
Despite our parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles’ best efforts to provide us with social guidance and teach us society’s unspoken rules; there are many instances that do not “come up” in everyday life. Therefore, movies & TV shows assisted in bridging the gap of the absent social cues on how to behave.
Looking back, I now recognize how being exposed to the encounters faced by this family has played a key part in my upbringing. Here are some of the crucial components I might’ve missed if it wasn’t for this family and their interactions with others.
#1. Hand Hygeine is important
Growing up in the 80s, where most of us probably washed our hands once a day, if that, before dinner (after the street lights came on.) It is a damn good thing that Clark Griswold (CG) subtly suggested to cousin Vicki, (a young Jane Krakowski!🤯), to not stir the Kool-Aid with her hand.
As an avid, Kool-Aid stand entrepreneur, I might’ve thought this was behavior was acceptable if I could not find a large spoon. Thankfully, I caught Clark’s subtle hint.
2. Don’t Judge/Be Proud of where you’re from.
Cousin Vicki is uncouth, however, it is not her fault since behaving this way appears to be normal where she resides. Hence, when Audrey confronts Vicky: “That being a farmer isn’t cool” instead of reacting offended, cousin Vicki advocated for herself with an “Oh yea?Well…”. Vicky counters Audrey’s statement with a shoebox full of weed.
#3. Drug use can get you arrested
In the 80’s, we were lucky enough to have those amazing commercials about “This is your brain on drugs 🍳, any questions?” Also, the powerful “I wanted to be a ballerina when I grow up.” (I am being serious rn, it was powerful, it stuck with me;)
Other than 🍳that, there really was no other protocol for not participating in the use of illegal substances. Thankfully, I witnessed Audrey’s attempt to throw Aunt Edna under the bus when the cops pulled them over. I realized, “Holy smokes Audrey could get busted, in front of her parents! Yikes! No drugs for me.”
#4. Don’t get caught, but if you do, indirectly blame the crabby person
I was never able to pull off this one: If you are always happy, nice, kind and sweet-no one will suspect a thing. 😜 I have zero poker face. I kept this default tactic in mind “blame-the crankiest individual, no matter what age, for the “bad” behavior”…
#5. How to shotgun a carbonated beverage
In my family, pop or “soda“ was a rare commodity in the 80’s. A day I could have pop was the best day of my life. 😎
Which usually meant, the next day was the worst! 😩 The sugar & caffeine withdrawal left me tapping my inner-arm veins like an addict for some more high fructose corn syrup & artificial flavors.
For some reason, I also thought that “I better drink as much as I can today because there might not be any tomorrow!” Which made me feel normal when I saw Rusty slam that beer.
#6. The Mom is the Smart One 🤷🏻♀️
Ellen Griswold taught me that I need to be smart! Better go to college!! Also that I need to question the dad just in case ;).
#7.The Dad will rarely admit he’s wrong 😜
Therefore, I don’t waste my time waiting for an apology or acknowledgement. With no expectations, I am never disappointed, but there is always that possibility of being pleasantly surprised.
#8.The Dad always wants to impress the hot women.
Turn a blind eye ladies, they can’t help themselves. 😜 It is in their DNA.
#9. Props are important while dancing.
My family can attest that I use this tip at most functions that involve dancing. Props can include, but are not limited to, (CG) bologna sandwiches (me)trays of cold-cuts, plants etc.
#10. Many unforeseen problems will occur on family vacations
This tip has come in handy over the last few years. Clark planned his vacations meticulously, yet many unfortunate events still occurred. I expect our family vacations to be disasters, and they usually are.😜 Incorporate same mentality as #7.
#11. Find a job with an excellent PTO package 😉
Allow for some extra time during your vacation in case of a setback.
#12. Don’t Shoot the Messenger
The majority of people in this world are doing the best that they can, (even if they are annoying;). Overall, the majority of people are good, unfortunately we only hear about the people with bad & rude behavior. Most annoying people are just doing their job as instructed.
#13. Don’t believe everything you hear, no matter how convincing and like-able someone is…
I was very naive and innocent growing up; still am sometimes. Somehow, I knew that Clark was an example of a dorky parent. (Ya think? Yes I know I’m a genius.:) Anyways, everyone in the family rolled their eyes and sighed at Clark; yet they went along with whatever he suggests or does.
I am aware this is a movie, however, I would like this type of cooperation without the eye-rolls & sighs from my teens. Did Clark know he was a dorky parent? I wish I didn’t. 😉
Fortunately, there is one thing that I partake in that Clark does and I do not care about the sighs or glares… The final way I’m like Clark Griswold. 🥁 roll please…
#14. The more Christmas lights, the better 😜
My tip: Don’t buy 300 light sets. They always burn out in half. Purchase 100 light sets, probably 12-15 boxes. Easier to keep track of the quantity.;) They also seem to last a couple more years without the annoying and impossible fuse changing.
Contrary to popular belief, the holidays actually start a week from tomorrow, ya know, the day AFTER Thanksgiving ;)…Sweet baby Jesus…Hallelujah…Well holy shit, where’s the Tylenol ?🙃