What I Did on|My Summer Vacation

     I’m a big fan of Continuing Legal Education.
     Not because I think lawyers should be continually educated, and not because I’m a lawyer – I ain’t.
     I like it because every few years Jane has to score her CLE points, so she signs up for two days of classes somewhere, and the Vermont Bar Association gets us a rate at a slick place in the woods. And I get to go on vacation.
     But vacation ain’t what it used to be. Not for this cowboy.
     I remember the day summer vacation began after fifth grade.
     School let out after half a day and I was riding my two-speed bike home, reveling in the infinity of time.
     I had a bike a step below a Schwinn. It had a gear in the rear hub, so if you backpedalled a little bit it went into the easy gear. Backpedal again and it went into the fast gear.
     I revved it up the only, tiny hill in our neighborhood – Illinois is pretty flat – then dropped it into fast gear as I passed the Slow sign on top, and bent down over the handlebars to speed down the other side.
     Some moron doing yard work in front of his house hollered at me.
     “Hey! Can’t you see it says slow! Are you going slow? No, you’re going fast!”
     I was a shy, ungainly kid. Ten years old. I was scared to death of girls, not to mention grownups. But skinny and timorous as I was, I knew this guy was a moron.
     It was summer vacation, for Pete’s sake. I sped down the hill away from him. It felt great.
     That was damn near 50 years ago, and if you took me back there I could show you just where I was when I dropped my bike into high gear – even if they’ve taken the Slow sign down.
     Since then, I too have become a moron.
     Not that I shout at little kids – no no. It’s because my idea of vacation today is to work – so long as it’s some other kind of work than the stuff I do the other 50 weeks a year.
     You might say: “Well, you’re an adult now, Bob. You have responsibilities. Blah blah blah.”
     Which shows that you’re a moron too.
     These days when I’m on vacation I have to re-shingle something, or rewrite the novel, or pluck out all the dandelions from the yard, one by one, with the evil-looking dandelion-plucker.
     Buy bags of lime and grass seed and cow manure and sprinkle them around.
     Dig holes, move dirt, rub salt out of my eyes and get cowshit in them doing it.
     I have to work. On vacation.
     What a moron I’ve become.
     It takes Continuing Legal Education to get me away from this – to get me into a place where I can’t work. Where I’m not allowed to work. Where they would throw me out of the place if I started digging holes in the lawn.
     I’ve stocked up on books for my vacation. Novels instead of history and journalism. I’ll take my laptop because I have to have access to the Internet, don’t I?
     I’ll take the novel, of course, which I finished rewriting yesterday, and I’ll go over it again with a red pen.
     I’ll pack some good coffee, of course, so I don’t have to drink that crap.
     Then for two days, while Jane goes to her Continuing Legal Education classes, I’ll get to do my version of nothing – to have no responsibilities – and to wonder why I used to enjoy that.

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