Some years, you just want to stay home

Almost everyone we know has packed up and gone south for the winter. The ones who haven’t left yet will be gone soon. Our friends who live south of us are leaving to go even farther south. I have never been to Belize or Costa Rica or the Cayman Islands, but I constantly hear people say they are going back for the fourth or fifth time because they liked it so much. They also have much more money and time.

Where did I go wrong? Once again, I will probably have to spend the whole winter in my own house in my own town. How is it that Sue and I never spend the winter in Baja California or Montserrat?

This year I am determined to get out of town, if not for the whole winter, at least for a few weeks.

“How about Mexico?” I asked Sue.

“Fine,” she said, “if our beheading is free. I don’t want to pay extra for that. Make sure it’s part of our all-inclusive vacation package. I forget: How do you say, ‘Please, don’t kill me,’ in Spanish? I only took one year of it in high school. Do you use the polite form of ‘you’ or the familiar?”

“If you don’t want to go, you could just say ‘no’ like a normal person,” I said. “I’m sure there are plenty of places in Mexico that are just as safe as it is here. Cancun, Cabo, San Miguel de Allende ...”

“No doubt. Let’s do it. I’ve been meaning to lose some weight, and I hear amoebic dysentery is just the thing for that. The pounds just fall away.”

“The Johnsons go to Oaxaca, and they always have a wonderful time.”

“Yes, they do. She told me they never drink the water.”

“What do they drink?”

“Tequila. It’s why they have such a wonderful time. They’re stewed 24 hours a day.”

“OK, fine,” I said. “We won’t go to Mexico. What about Greece? The islands are nice and warm, full of history.”

“Good idea! Are you sure you can find us a hotel close to a violent anti-government demonstration? I hear they’re very relaxing, like being at a spa where they club you with a thick stick. You book it while I learn the words for ‘tear gas’ and ‘Molotov cocktail.’”

“How about a cruise? You can drink the water, beheadings are pretty rare and the food is great. There’s dancing, live shows, rock climbing ...”

“ ... seasickness, retching, puking, dry heaves,” she finished.

“We could go to one of those towns that hate children.”

Sue perked up. “Don’t toy with me. Is there really such a place?”

“Sure, hundreds of them.”

“What country do we have to go to?”

“This one. They’re all over the U.S.”

“And people say we don’t do anything right in this country,” she said. “Are you telling me there are towns right here in the USA with signs out front that say, ‘You have to be this tall to live here’?”

“No, because some of the residents are actually shrinking. They’re for people like us. No one under age 55 can live there.”

“Is that legal?”

“Sure. As long as they keep out all children of all races, religions and sexual orientations.”

“How’s the beheading situation?”

“Very rare. Most drug kingpins don’t live to be 55.”

“It does sound like a little bit of heaven on Earth. What’s the hitch?”

“You have to like living with a bunch of old people.”

“I do that already. What else you got?”

I was running out of ideas. “We could go to a movie.”

“Didn’t we go to one last year?”

“I think it was two years ago.”

“What’s playing?”

“‘The Beheading’ at 2, 4 and 6 o’clock.”

“Nah, let’s stay home. We’ll do something next year.”

Jim Mullen’s newest book is called “Kill Me, Elmo: The Holiday Depression Fun Book.” You can reach him at

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