What does spring break mean to you?

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Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

You probably crave a break from my patented “sour grapes” routine, but we must face facts: spring break (a.k.a. Easter break, a.k.a. mid-term break, a.k.a. “unwind, rejuvenate, have fun, but don’t forget how oppressed you are, students”) is not the same for every family.

When I was in elementary school, spring break meant making an extra day trip visit to my grandmother, tagging along to another antique shop with my mother or stocking up on books at the library.

High school? My job at the convenience market left little flexibility for long trips.

As a cash-strapped college student, spring break was usually nothing more exotic than helping my parents with their cattle or organizing my comic book collection.

I am writing these words during the much-ballyhooed Spring Break 2024. There’s no shortage of work at my farmers cooperative day job. My wife the college biology teacher is striving to stay ahead on her lesson plans. Our son the engineering student is doing homework, reading a 1950s joke book and taking care of errands. Life is good.

I know, I know. Red-blooded Americans have a time-honored obligation to make Memories That Will Last A Lifetime, or in the case of the rowdier college students, Memories That Will Hopefully Resurface After the Brain Swelling From Tumbling From the Fourth Floor Motel Balcony Subsides.

(Stay-at-home sticks-in-the-mud have the advantage of INSTANT memories. “Remember you promised to rearrange the garage.” “Remember your demonic cousins are coming to spend the week.” “Remember bragging you could clean out the septic tank cheaper and better yourself.”)

Yes, you’re practically a traitor to your species if you don’t load up the family chariot and spend 500 miles of Quality Time with your Loved Ones. And by Quality Time, I mean time spent transfixed by top-of-the-line earbuds, smartphones and video games.

Don’t fall back on retro bonding rituals, as they are now both outdated and dangerous. (“Let’s see how many state license plates we can recognize. Wait – that bozo is from a … red state! Trevor, you watch for the highway patrol. Amber, you watch for the next ravine…”)

I know we’re all supposed to do our part to boost the economy in resort towns, but society sends us such mixed signals. Your neighbors want you to take your Christmas decorations down by New Year’s Day, but their insufferable elitism goads you to keep those January credit card bills overflowing into April and May!

“G’wan – you deserve it!,” blare the travel articles. Sure, reading only two grade levels below “cave drawing” is quite an exhausting task that demands copious amounts of R&R. (“*Grunt.* Remedial Walking and Chewing Gum at the Same Time isn’t leaving much time for beer pong.”)

Since at least the time of the 1960 movie “Where The Boys Are,” it has been an essential Rite of Passage to head for the beach or some other fun-filled destination long before the vernal equinox. Essential Rites of Passage are vastly overrated. Folks, I have missed so many essential Rites of Passage, it’s a wonder my baby teeth haven’t grown back in.

But you do you.

If basking in the sun or making a whirlwind tour of quaint festivals is your late-winter thing, go for it.
Maybe I’ll be more adventurous for summer vacation.

“Never mind wet T-shirt contests. How far away from my septic tank is it???”

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

Controversial author Harlan Ellison once described the work of Danny Tyree as "wonkily extrapolative" and said Tyree's mind "works like a demented cuckoo clock."

Ellison was speaking primarily of Tyree’s 1983-2000 stint on the "Dan T’s Inferno" column for “Comics Buyer’s Guide” hobby magazine, but the description would also fit his weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades" column for mainstream newspapers.

Inspired by Dave Barry, Al "Li'l Abner" Capp, Lewis Grizzard, David Letterman, and "Saturday Night Live," "Tyree's Tyrades" has been taking a humorous look at politics and popular culture since 1998.

Tyree has written on topics as varied as Rent-A-Friend.com, the Lincoln bicentennial, "Woodstock At 40," worm ranching, the Vatican conference on extraterrestrials, violent video games, synthetic meat, the decline of soap operas, robotic soldiers, the nation's first marijuana café, Sen. Joe Wilson’s "You lie!" outburst at President Obama, Internet addiction, "Is marriage obsolete?," electronic cigarettes, 8-minute sermons, early puberty, the Civil War sesquicentennial, Arizona's immigration law, the 50th anniversary of the Andy Griffith Show, armed teachers, "Are women smarter than men?," Archie Andrews' proposal to Veronica, 2012 and the Mayan calendar, ACLU school lawsuits, cutbacks at ABC News, and the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

Tyree generated a particular buzz on the Internet with his column spoofing real-life Christian nudist camps.

Most of the editors carrying "Tyree’s Tyrades" keep it firmly in place on the opinion page, but the column is very versatile. It can also anchor the lifestyles section or float throughout the paper.

Nancy Brewer, assistant editor of the "Lawrence County (TN) Advocate" says she "really appreciates" what Tyree contributes to the paper. Tyree has appeared in Tennesee newspapers continuously since 1998.

Tyree is a lifelong small-town southerner. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. In addition to writing the weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades," he writes freelance articles for MegaBucks Marketing of Elkhart, Indiana.

Tyree wears many hats (but still falls back on that lame comb-over). He is a warehousing and communications specialist for his hometown farmers cooperative, a church deacon, a comic book collector, a husband (wife Melissa is a college biology teacher), and a late-in-life father. (Six-year-old son Gideon frequently pops up in the columns.)

Bringing the formerly self-syndicated "Tyree's Tyrades" to Cagle Cartoons is part of Tyree's mid-life crisis master plan. Look for things to get even crazier if you use his columns.