Entertainment » Vol. 1

When The Lahey Clinic Wasn’t a Vacation Destination

By Jack Neary

What’s a vacation? Oh, I remember! It’s one of those trips I took as a kid to the Cape or to Hampton Beach or to our family cottage in Windham, NH, when Windham NH was called Wind-HAM, NH and was a place where you visited instead of a place where you lived. Haven’t really had one of those…vacation things…as an adult. When you do what I do, which is work in theatre, you have to look at life as either one long vacation or one long work week that never, ever ends. I subscribe to the latter viewpoint. When I’m working, I’m working. When I’m not working, I’m worrying about not working, and that’s a lot of work, let me tell you.

No, my vacations come in little spurts of enjoyment, like sitting out on my front porch as a mammoth thunderstorm approaches and hits. I inherited this love of thunderstorms from my grandfather, Pat ~ wait, BOTH my grandfathers were named Pat ~my grandfather Pat Tarpey, who used to sit out on the porch at the family cottage in WindHAM, NH, and dare the lightning to hit him, which it never did. I enjoy doing this myself. So if you ever read in the paper that I was killed while sitting out on my front porch during a thunderstorm, you’ll know I had nobody to blame but myself. And Pat.

Let’s see, what other spurt vacations do I take? Oh! I like to go to Fenway Park for Red Sox games, although these days, the only way I can get there is if somebody who has access to season tickets takes me. My friend Margo used to get tickets through her company and she’d take me along, but she moved to Australia. Too big a commute. My friend Laura took me once, and she let me sit in the family box seat where she knew I’d get my face on camera when there was a left-handed hitter at the plate. But she’s an actress and she moved to New York. My friend Spiro, who runs a theatre in Boston, took me last year, but then my play opened at his theatre and got trashed by the Globe, so I won’t be getting his seats anymore. Yeah, Fenway is a nice vacation spot for a couple of hours on a summer evening. Once, years ago, I caught a foul ball off the bat of Jim Rice. Well, I didn’t actually catch it. I picked it up off the ground after it whacked a pregnant lady in the back. The pregnant lady’s husband tapped me on the shoulder after I put the ball in my pocket and said, “Can she at least hold it for a minute?” I let her hold it. For a minute. But I took it back. I still have it. I don’t feel guilty about it. She got the better of the deal. I mean, right now, she has a nineteen year old kid who’s probably going to take care of her when she retires and I have a fading yellow baseball. You do the math.

What else? Uh…I go to movies a lot. The other day, I rented “Live Free or Die Hard.” Bruce Willis lived free and a lot of other people died really, really hard. Mowing the lawn! I like to mow the lawn. That’s a little vacation. Except last year, I had to hot top over my lawn so that I could get my car off the street because people leaving the neighborhood saloons kept driving into it at two in the morning. So, the lawn is gone.

Another vacation I take is when I TiVo a show at night and then watch it next day during other people’s work hours! Now, THAT is decadence! OH! I usually have one physical check-up during the summer, and when I do, I always book it for early in the morning so I can go to the Owl Diner afterwards and order real eggs instead of Egg Beaters because after the check-up is the only time I can get away with shooting cholesterol into my veins without getting yelled at my by primary care physician. That’s kind of a vacation. But I guess that’s it. I can’t take real vacations anymore, anyway, because summer vacations usually require spending time in the sun, and the sun and I, well, we just don’t get along. In fact, a lot of my more recent vacation time is spent in the dermatology department at the Lahey Clinic where I and every other fifty-year old Irish guy in New England spend a great deal of time having actinic keratoses removed. When I was nine, at Hampton Beach, nobody told me about actinic keratoses and how they were getting started right then and right there. Most of you probably don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. But if you’re a fifty year old Irish guy, you do.

See you on vacation. At Lahey.

Hear more of Jack’s musings at www.uml.edu/wuml/sunrise

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