Lately I keep reading how we are all broke, there are no jobs, the government can’t figure out whether or not to let itself borrow more money and even Ben Bernanke wonders if whoever holds the mortgage on the USA is going to foreclose and force us to short sell California — rumors are it’s the only thing we’ve got left that any one will buy — to anyone with cash who can close fast.
Makes me want to turn go on vacation. But things being what things are, that trip to Tahiti or the nude beaches in the south of France isn’t looking too likely.
Then I hear about “staycations.” Go somewhere close by and rent a blow up mattress in a stranger’s home. Like that’s a good idea! Might as well play jump rope with a cobra.
For a vacation to work you’ve gotta go far enough away to out run your demons. Or have them exorcised by at least 5 hours in a coach airline seat.
If you need a vacation as badly as I need a vacation and if you’ve read this far you know I really need a vacation, what you really need is to be able to escape your own head. You don’t have to leave the city-county-state-country-planet … you’ve just got to get to a place where you can quite those worrisome demons in your mind.
When I get in this cranky, only a really good book helps. It’s the cheapest way to escape the insanity of the world. Don’t believe me? Do the math.
Option 1. Dream trip to idyllic vacation spot of your choice. Minimum a couple grand a week with airfare, food … Cost per hour roughly 12 bucks per hour. And a whole bunch of that time you are asleep.
Option 2. A seat in a decent, quiet bar and enough Wild Turkey to quiet your mind. Total cost about $200 including the taxi ride home. More if your trip home requires an ambulance or a police escort. Cost per hour $30 – $50 per hour.
Option 3. Really good book that completely obliterates your worries about the economy, your rising blood pressure and dwindling bank account. Total cost $7 – $27. Unless you are one of those Evelyn Woods speed reader buzz killers, that works out to $2 – $7 per hour. Best hangover free, didn’t break any laws, don’t have to call a lawyer vacation money can buy.
Twice this month I spent my own hard earned cash on a book. The first $27 went for Robert Parker’s last book. The second equally well spent money purchased Stephen Hunter’s newest book, “Dead Zero.”
“Sixkill” by Robert B. Parker (G. P. Putnam’s Sons $26.95, 293 pages, hard cover. www.robertbparker.net).
Thirty-nine times Robert B. Parker has saved my sanity. “Sixkill” is Parker’s 39th and final Spenser novel. Parker passed away in January 2010. His unmatched dialog will never be equaled.
In “Six” Parker introduces a new character, Zebulon Sixkill. A young, inexperienced bodyguard, Sixkill and Spenser form an unlikely alliance with Spenser mentoring the younger man. Even with Hawk out of town, the bad guys’ don’t stand a chance.
“Dead Zero” by Stephen Hunter (Simon & Schuster, $26.00, 406 pages, hard cover). www.simonandschuster.com
Read it in one sitting. Loved it. Going to read it again. Tonight. Twice.
Hunter’s lead character, Bob “The Nailer” Swagger is back. Not as a dashing, never aging, James Bond type, but as an older, retired, physically damaged, reluctant recruit.
Unlike other continuing character series heroes, Bob feels the pain of age. Aching back, damaged bones and savaged reflexes, the only thing that hasn’t changed is his brain. He’s still got the mind of the world’s greatest sniper. Which means the bad guy is going to have less fun than this cobra I’m using for a jump rope.