10 Summer Vacation Survival Tips from ‘The Great Outdoors’

Hey, look at me doing a League post! As some of you know, life just keeps throwing me curve balls covered in dog shit carrying communicable diseases that have kept me from blogging and being social (okay, I admit some of my time away was for gaming, too), but after realizing I’ve been missing out on a slew of awesome assignments–especially this one–today I decided to get back in the saddle.

This week The League celebrates the official arrival of summer with another broad but appropriate topic, “Summer Vacation.” Being a Cult Film Club co-host and movie buff in general, I always like to usher in the changing seasons with ritual viewings of my favorite weather-appropriate films. Around this time of year it’s stuff like Summer School, National Lampoon’s Vacation, One Crazy Summer, and a movie that doesn’t seem to get nearly as much love and attention as it should, The Great Outdoors.

The Ripley Family

Written by John Hughes, this classic summer vacation comedy stars John Candy and Dan Aykroyd as bickering brother-in-laws (or is that brothers-in-law? Eh, guess it doesn’t matter, I’m just pleased I finally learned how to spell “Akyroyd” without having to google it) whose families share a lakeside cabin in the north woods. As you might imagine, personalities clash, nothing goes right and all sorts of wacky hijinks ensue. Lucky for all of us, we learn some valuable life lessons along the way. Quick example: don’t eat hot dogs because they’re made from lips and assholes!

Here are 10 summer vacation survival tips I learned from The Great Outdoors, in order of importance:

#10 – Let go of the goddamn rope!

If you go waterskiing and run into trouble, let go of the rope! Seriously, unless you can waterski while jumping sharks like the Fonz, LET GO OF THE GODDAMN ROPE!  I cannot stress this one enough.

let-go-of-the-rope

John Candy Waterskiing

#9 – It’s not a good idea to eat a steak that’s bigger than your ass.

Don’t be tempted by the promise of a free dinner for you and your entire party if you finish. Ninety-six ounces of steak is TOO MUCH STEAK for anyone, even John Candy.  But if you are foolish enough to try, it’s definitely not a good idea to fill up on something called the “Bucket of Salad” first. It is, however, advisable to call dibs on any bathrooms you happen to be sharing. Like, for the entire evening.

Eating the Old 96er Steak

Nothing but gristle and fat left!

#8 – Don’t drink well water or you’ll get “the shits.”

Better stick to bottled water when you’re roughing it in an old cabin, or boil anything that comes out of the tap. Also, never trust an old innkeeper named Wally who’s service bell is an old hunting horn with a sign attached that says “For prompt service, blow me.”

You could get the shits from the well water...

#7 – Do NOT feed the bears!

Not feeding bears is pretty sound life advice no matter what the circumstances.  In this instance, it was a waste of a good Zagnut, too.

Bears like Zagnuts, apparently!

HOLY SHIT there's a bear on the car!

#6 – When vacationing with family, don’t fool around outside of a locked bedroom.

Especially in this day and age where everyone has an iPhone in their pocket. You just never know what embarrassing life moments your asshole relatives are capturing on video, and where it will end up. Granted, it was a little more obvious back in 1988 when camcorders were the size of small children.

Surprise! I'm filming you make out.

Sex Caught on Camera

 #5 – If you go fishing with leeches, don’t fall asleep in the boat.

I guess it should also be said, don’t leave an open container of leeches laying about either. Never trust a leech, that’s what I always say.

Fell Asleep Fishing

Don't fall asleep around leeches!

#4 – When hunting giant bats, wear proper attire.

Wastebasket helmets and tennis racquets will do, but you may want to consider full body armor. Then again, none of this really applies to me since I think bats are adorable. Seriously, LOOK AT THESE CUTE EFFING BATS, ya’ll.

Proper Bat Hunting Attire

Bat on John Candy's Face

#3 – Never kiss old people who look like they’re asleep.

Because they’re probably dead.  This isn’t so much a tip about summer vacations as it is a tip about how not to ruin them. The takeaway being, of course, don’t go on vacation with old people.

109th Birthday Dead Guy

#2 – Old mineshafts are not good places for your children to play.

Then again, if your children are creepy red-headed twins with rhyming names, you might want to consider leaving them down there. Just sayin’.

Cara & Mara Twins

Twins Stuck in the Old Mineshaft

#1 – Heed your own advice about killer bears.

It could save your life one day.

Bald Headed Killer Bear of Clare County

Big bear chase me!

Big…Bear…Chase…Me!

Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to write something summer vacation-related. Here’s how my fellow bloggers interpreted the topic:

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