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How To Spoil A Vacation

( Originally Published 1906 )

SPOILING vacations is a wonderfully popular amusement. It has always seemed to me a pity that folks should go about this matter in such an unmethodical, haphazard way. Everything, in this century, ought to be done in a scientific manner.

I fear I shall appear to be boasting, but I can assure you that a long, varied, and entirely successful course of experiment in vacation-spoiling entitles me to give directions on this subject worthy your implicit confidence. I know just how to do it.

In the first place, you must persuade your-self that vacations are made simply for you,—for your own tasks or amusements. But this qualification is already possessed by so many that it is hardly worth mentioning.

If you own that most efficient notion, you may safely dispense, in this task of vacation-spoiling, with perseverance and industry. When a man with a well-developed bump of selfishness sets out to spoil his vacation, it is wonderful how readily everything and every-body assist him. It's easier than rolling down hill.

I hope that before your vacation began you made very extensive plans for vacation work and play,—so extensive that they could not possibly be carried out, even with all men's acquiescence and aid. The failure of these ambitious designs through your own laziness, and the lack of co-operation on the part of the cruel world, will materially aid in spoiling your vacation.

Then it is absolutely necessary, in vacation, to lie long in bed, to rest. Keep this up conscientiously, especially through the hottest days. The freshness of the early morning is likely to spoil one's vacation-spoiling in spite of one's self.

Decide at the outset that fair skies and cool weather are essential to your happiness. You will thus enlist in your business of vacation-spoiling the winds, rains, clouds, and, in fact, all the forces of the solar system.

Eat and drink what you fancy, and much of it. Unless you are very unfortunate, that will save you all further trouble in the matter.

If, however, the vacation perversely remains unspoiled, do nothing about it. Indeed, do nothing at all. If, in hot weather, you read, or study, or sew, or make garden, you will run serious risk of failing to spoil your vacation. Take warning.

Of course, what is true regarding helping yourself is doubly true of helping other people. I have seen vacations, which were being spoiled in a very perfect and workmanlike manner, suddenly and disastrously renovated by an imprudent act of kindness. To be sure, those who do such things are beginners in the art ; but be on your guard.

Stay indoors. There is something about green leaves and flowers and butterflies, insignificant though they seem, that is able to enliven and cheer even a skilled vacation-spoiler.

Above all, take no exercise, either by work or by play, especially in hot weather. If you did, your food might be well digested, and the energy of your nerves and muscles might be turned aside from those restless, mysterious twitchings which constitute one of the vacation-spoiler's most efficient allies.

The chief danger is that you may become interested in something, and then good-bye to all hope of spoiling your vacation. Maintain with your utmost indifference a state of complete apathy.

I will guarantee that the conscientious following of these simple instructions will never fail to result in a vacation gloriously and systematically spoiled.

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