Spring broke

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When my three semi-grown daughters were young (and since I work in the lucrative world of public education), we’d spend our spring break holidays riding bikes to the park, making dad-sized pillow forts in the living room, and raiding the gift shop at the zoo.

Now that two of the girls are in college and one is in high school, those days (and our gift-shop cash) are long gone.

This year, I spent most of my spring break competing with my youngest daughter to see who could sleep in the latest without developing bed sores. She usually won (barely), mostly because of the shame I would feel if I still had bed head when my wife came home from work.

My middle daughter also spent a good amount of her spring break in bed, only instead of just sleeping, she allowed the Chinese government to spy on her college laundry pile while she binged on TikTok videos to procrastinate from reading “an entire book” for her cruel and unusual college history class.

I only saw my eldest and most expensive daughter in passing as she spent her spring break going out to have her eyebrows waxed or to purchase “healthy” groceries that are missing the ingredients that make food edible – since, apparently, everything in our pantry is poisonous.

If I wasn’t in REM sleep dreaming of the good old days when my kids still spoke to me without mentioning a credit card, I was nursing my lower back, which currently feels like it’s identifying as a tackling dummy for the Dallas Cowboys defensive line. My doctor has encouraged me to relieve my pre-geriatric lumbar aches by performing several stretches that require me to get on the floor and contort my body into positions that frighten our pets.

These so-called therapeutic stretches have embarrassing names like the “child’s pose,” the “cat-cow” and the “pelvic tilt.” I’m starting to think that having me do these stretches is just a ruse by the doctor to provide entertainment for my family–and to keep me from being able to get up off of the carpet and go bother him again.

But don’t get me wrong. I did have some fun and adventure on my break.

Along with making several trips to Walmart for more toxic foodstuffs, I spent some quality “me” time inhaling microscopic fibers while vacuuming the masses of delinquent lint partying behind our dryer.

I also had the rare opportunity to re-install a toilet-paper holder that an overly-exuberant (and unnamed) potty patron managed to rip out of the sheetrock in my daughters’ bathroom. (While I was on the floor, I did a few pelvic tilts.)

Seriously, though, I know there is no sense in whining about the travails of the present or longing for the spring breaks of old. Instead, I’m determined to savor the time I can still spend with my daughters – even if it mostly involves picking up their dirty laundry, asking them how much it would cost to have my eyebrows waxed or telling them I love them as they walk out the door.

Copyright 2023 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. He is also a frequent contributor to The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop, which named him Writer of the Month for June of 2017, and he has served as a judge in the Erma Bombeck/Anna Lefler Humorist in Residence program.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists says, "Whether he's breaking down the common types of yard sale denizens ('The Lingerer . . .she was here so long, I'll probably be able to claim her on my next tax return') or sharing cautionary tales of mattress shopping, Jason flays suburban life with a sharp wit. Shopping for his daughter's swimsuits, he wonders if he has 'strayed into the first aid section and . . .was looking at a new line of colorful ACE bandages.'"

Other than writing, his hobbies include berating the television when the Texas A&M Aggie football team is playing and sleeping as late as possible.