Tag Archives: first class

Free vacation

I want to go on a free vacation. I want to get a phone call or an email from a total stranger saying, “Pack up those bags, Rob, you’re going on a free trip!” Where? It doesn’t matter where. I’ll go anywhere. As long as the flight is first class, I’m in. As long I’m not sitting in the very first row, it’s a done deal. Because you can’t really extend your feet all the way in the first row, there’s a wall.


“Hold on there stranger,” I’ll make sure before I accept, “Is this a direct flight?” Because I forgot to add, I’m only going if it’s a direct flight. There’s no way I’m going to spend who knows how many precious vacation hours trapped at a different airport. That’s how they get you, they don’t make you wait by your house, because you’ll just eventually give up and go home. But what are you going to do in Memphis? Or Tulsa?

Did I mention no cruises? I’m not going on a cruise. Actually, it’s funny, half of the phone calls I get are prerecorded messages from this guy, there’s a boat horn sound, and then the guy goes, “Are you ready for your free cruise?” and so I’m wise to that scheme, OK, I want a free vacation, but I want a free vacation that doesn’t involve me getting stuck on some boat, “Don’t worry sir, everything’s all included!” except for drinks, and the casino, and tips.

No, I’ll take a free vacation to a hotel. Or a safari. That would be a cool free trip. Do they do direct first class flights to South Africa? Because I’m not going back on what I said, it has to be one shot across. But man, if it’s a safari, I want it to be like a real safari, not some over glorified zoo. I want to actually befriend a group of rhinos. What do you call that, a herd? A pack? I’ll never guess it, I think each species has its own name. And they’ll accept me, I’ll help them scare off this gaggle of hyenas that’s been making all of these of threatening whooping sounds from beyond the brush.

Or a ski trip in the Alps, that would be one hell of a free trip. I’d come back from Switzerland or wherever the Alps are and everyone at work would be like, “Wow! Rob, you went skiing over in Europe? That’s awesome! Was it expensive? That must have been super expensive.” And I’ll be torn, because obviously I’ll want to brag about my good fortune, “Look at me everybody! Free vacation!” but I really do like this image I’m crafting in my head, me, on a casual European jet-set jaunt. I wonder if you have pay extra to bring your skis on the plane. If there’s a surcharge, I’m really expecting it to be part of the whole package. Because I’m not going to trek all the way over to Europe just to ski the Alpine slopes in a pair of crappy rentals.

You remember how they used to let you into the cockpit of the plane and the captain would give you a pair of pin-on wings? If it’s going to be like a prize vacation, I’d really love it if this could happen. Do you think they’d let me steer for a little bit? Just for like five minutes, tops. And yes, the copilot can still hold his side of the controls, as a backup or whatever. But I’ve got to insist, this a non-negotiable. Just, look, you’re setting up this whole vacation for me, just talk to the airline, wait until we’re over international waters if you’re worried about breaking any laws or anything.

But that’s about it, just, I’d really love a free vacation. The other night I was thinking about it, and I was kind of falling asleep, but I wasn’t quite there yet. I was just starting to have this dream where I got the call, I picked up the phone and on the other end, they were like, “Is this Rob?” and I just knew it was going to be my free vacation. But then I woke up, and my phone actually was ringing, I answered it all excited, “Hello?” but it wasn’t about any trip, it was one of my old friends from college, he was kind of confused too, I guess he must have hit my contact number by mistake, and it was really kind of awkward, I haven’t talked to this guy in years. I’m sure he deleted me after that. I must’ve deleted his a while ago, because the number just showed up as something from out of the area.

I only eat cashews

I just love cashews. They’re definitely my favorite nuts. I’m at the point right now where, if I’m eating nuts, I’m eating cashews exclusively, without any exception. It’s not like I’m trying to be rude, like if I’m over someone’s house, and there’s a bowl of mixed nuts out, it’s not like I’m going to start picking through, sorting out all of the cashews for myself. No way, I wouldn’t touch any cashews that have been contaminated by sharing a bowl with inferior nuts. Besides, just because those particular cashews aren’t up to my exacting cashew standards, I realize that somebody else at the party might eat them, might have their own cashew epiphany. And that’s another person who’s going to be hooked on cashews. It’s good for cashews, it’s good for the industry, it’s good for me and my access to the finest cashews available.


They’re the Rolls Royce of nuts. I’ve actually found it impossible to ingest, let alone enjoy, any other type of nut. Like I said, I only eat cashews. I used to like almonds, sometimes, I’d always enjoy peanut butter. But not anymore. Now it’s only cashew butter. It gets a little difficult sometimes like if I’m at a restaurant, the chefs might try to throw in some other nuts in their recipes. I just tell every waiter or waitress that I’m deathly allergic to every nut except cashews. They might look at me funny, but they have to listen to me. It’s their job. It’s the law. And if I even so much as suspect the presence of a non-cashew nut, I’ll fake a seizure, I’ll throw some Alka-Seltzer in my mouth, make a whole scene, a big dramatic show.

Because, seriously, only cashews. One time I was on an overbooked airplane and, for some reason or another, I got bumped up to first class. “Sir,” the stewardess handed me a glass of champagne while all the other passengers were still fighting their way onto the plane, “Would you like a hot towel? A bowl of warm nuts?”

And I said, “Hot towel, yes. Warm nuts, what kind of nuts?”

She responded, “Why macadamia nuts of course,” this pompous grin, “only the best in first class.”

And I got pissed. “What?” I snapped at her, “You don’t have any cashews?”

“Cashews?” You know how people in the service industry always get immediately defensive when questioned, “No, only the macadamia …”

“Look, I don’t appreciate you not taking my needs seriously. Just get out of my face and don’t disturb me for the rest of the flight.”

Talk about incompetence. And whatever, I’m not totally unreasonable. I mean, if they don’t have cashews, they don’t have cashews. What I did not appreciate was this lady and the way she talked about her precious macadamia nuts. As if they’re even in the same league as the cashew. Please, macadamia nuts are bullshit. It’s these rich people that don’t even have any appreciation for a true nutty taste, they walk into the nut shop and start barking out, “Bring me the most expensive nuts! Now!”

Whatever, it’s actually a blessing in disguise, because that leaves more cashews for me. Do you realize what a jam I’d be in if cashews were as exclusive as the macadamia? Did you know that it takes one cashew tree about thirty-three years to make one cashew? It defies economies of scale. The only thing keeping my cupboards filled with cashews are the fact that there’s not as much demand as there should be.

Which is crazy because, like I said, cashews are an almost perfect food. Scratch the almost part. They are the perfect food. Every time I see a tree that’s not a cashew tree I think, damn, there’s a perfectly good spot where a cashew tree could be growing. Not some stupid oak or pine. I say we cut them all down, get rid of them, start a new ecosystem dominated by the mighty cashew.

I just took a little break and went down to the kitchen for some more cashews, and all of that talk about supply and demand got me a little nervous, like am I really using my day wisely? Isn’t there more I could be doing, going to the grocery store, stocking up on more cashews, just in case eventually prices raise and supplies dwindle? So I went to the grocery store and I was met with every cashew lover’s nightmare, a box of Mr. Peanut cashews.

Forget all about that tired argument, that peanuts are neither peas nor nuts. I don’t care. I find it reprehensible that a can of delicious cashews can be tarnished with the Mr. Peanut label. Who does Mr. Peanut think he is? Like cashews need help from a cartoon peanut to find their way into the hands of the consumer? And what about the processing, the packaging? Are these cashews handled at the same plant as other, lesser quality nuts?

I couldn’t. I can’t. So now I do this thing, every once in a while anyway, I’ll buy like a sheet of labels that I can print out at home. I make these homemade labels that say Mr. Cashew and every time I go to the grocery store I affix them over the Mr. Peanut labels. Not only that, but I copy the barcode for a real cashew-only cashew producer, so that way when anybody buys Mr. Peanut cashews, the store’s register rings it up as just cashews.

Some manager will be doing inventory weeks from now, he’ll be like, jeez, nobody’s buying Mr. Peanut anymore. We might as well stop ordering them altogether. And also, look at this, the independent cashew guy’s cashews are selling like crazy. It’s like, somehow we’re selling more cashews than we’re ordering in. Incredible!

And it’ll reach a tipping point eventually where hopefully Mr. Peanut goes out of business completely, where peanuts won’t even be grown or sold at all, and as the decades pass and peanuts and all other non-cashew nuts fall out of favor, humans will lose all abilities to digest them, we’ll all develop extreme allergies to peanuts, to tree nuts. Just not cashews. And we’ll look back at the history books and say, “People actually ate that poisonous garbage? Gross. Hey, pass me some cashews.”