Meet Clark Griswold

Meet Clark Griswold

Sometimes life really does imitate art and recently we were provided an excellent example. In this case the lives were ours and the art was the zany flick, “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

The movie became a cult classic because of its clean, well mostly clean, over-the-top humor and non-stop wackiness. It was on that critical assessment that I gave the OK for our kids to watch it a few months ago. They loved it!

Fast forward to our one night Boy Scout camping trip last weekend at Sycamore Canyon in Malibu. At seven A.M. I came bouncing down the stairs wearing a silly hat and doltish grin in true Clark Griswold fashion.

“Hey family! How about some nice big smiles while I think of a few show tunes we can sing!” In the rear view mirror I could see our kids snoozing and from my right my wife she said, “Let’s stop at Starbucks.” So much for enthusiasm.

“Let’s see, we’ve got a full tank of gas, right Mikey! Gotta have gas don’t we buddy boy?! Yeah, I got the high octane this time Dom Dom, sweetie pie. Don’t want any knocks in the old engine on this trip do we guys?!” Not a peep from my “companions”.

I backed our trusty, and heavily loaded, Jeep out of the garage and proceeded to open the main exit of our underground parking structure. I often play chicken with the two ton steel gate, getting as close as I can as it slowly rises and turns above any vehicle that passes beneath it.

“Yep!” I said looking at the dashboard clock. “We’re right on time! YessirEEE, ten minutes to get the Ol’ caffeine fix. Ten minutes to drop off Dom at her friends and 10 minutes to get to…” BANG! RIPPPPPP! THUNNNNKKKK! “Uh, Oh! What was that?”

I looked in the rear view mirror and our carefully packed soft luggage bag, the one holding over half of our camping equipment and other necessary accoutrements, was visible in the rear view mirror hanging behind the rear of the car. I stopped to investigate and found every strap ripped from the bag but still dangling from the roof rack. The bag itself had an irreparable gash across its belly and about half of the camping gear was strewn in various places on the ground. Clark Griswold would have been proud. It’s a good thing we didn’t have a dead Grandma tied to a chair and strapped on top.

My wife was kind enough to only shake her head.

I turned towards our daughter who had exited shortly after I had and was standing besides me with her jaw dropped no doubt thinking, “We’re gonna be late!”

The first words out of her mouth were soft, innocents, somewhat hesitant, but very perceptive. “Daaaad…?”

“Yes?” I knew EXACTLY what was coming.

“This is just like Vacation.”

We all had a good laugh over that one. THE END.

Authored by: Michael Malgeri

Michael lives in Redondo Beach with his wonderful wife and their beautiful children, the stars of "On Dad's Watch." He makes a living in the software industry and pursues writing in between fun family events. Along with "On Dad's Watch," Michael believes there's a need to teach young people about the morality and practicality of Capitalism as well as provide them with an alternative perspective on environmental issues. His books on these topics can be found at

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