Unlike a real normal family,Camping Trip To and From Hell Articles my father — wait, scratch that. I have absolutely no idea what a real normal family is. Those television and radio programs that have a perfect mother and absolutely obedient children, except in those cases where mischevious behavior can be buy pappy van winkle by “boys will be boys” and lusting will be justified by “every girl wants to be liked,” these families are figments of the imaginations of the people who control all media. Back to the story… My father was completely convinced that he could live entirely off of the scraps served at the one fast food restaurant of the town Little Helsinki. It was not a McDonald’s. It was not a Burger King. It was a Lord Valdon’s, complete with a Finnish motief, though I personally though they adopted more from the Norse culture. Don’t try to find a Lord Valdon’s anywhere else either. The manager there seemed very hell bent, no pun intended, on convincing his “customery” that Lord Valdon’s was an international food chain, with thousands of locations in the old country, but that this was the only one on American soil. Being that I have not even endeavored to investigate the matter, I’ve already concluded that he was a liar.
“What do you mean you don’t believe me?”
“I don’t think a Valdon’s Vlesh and Veal Vombination doesn’t have the adequate marketing tactic to make well with populations across the sea,” I explained.
“You see that?” he said, his demeanor immediately changing. He made this look at me like I had committed a crime. I would have to swear to you that his mustache whiskers were actual flesh they were so thick and animated, and that —
“You see that!?”
“Yeah, it’s a sign.”
“Can you read it?”
“Though I do appreciate the fact that you took no effort to have an English sign,” I began, “In fact, I bet you went through extra effort to have it written in Finnish, didn’t you?”
“Can you read the sign, sir?”
“Yeah, it says twenty minute eating period,” I replied.
“Yeah, and you’ve just about spent twice that, telling me that this was not a real place! Now leave!”
“Oh, contrare, my friend,” I said with a thick Finnish accent, all the more to insult his depraved intelligence, “That’s eating period. I never came here with the intention of eating anything, let alone buying anything. According to your own rules, as beautifully as they are written, I have found a loop hole. I am going to stand in line all day and bother your customers.”
“Get out now, before the cops,” he said.
“Okay, I’m leaving,” I surrendered, “But, I really doubt I could hinder someone’s efforts to get a Viking Salad.”
Yes, it was that sort of restaurant that our noble father had depended to live on with our camping trip to Little Helsinki. Needless to say, my mother and I complained. So, as a devoted father, he made a quick stop to a local shopping center. He had actually set his watch to see how fast he could maket he run. It was a sporting event to him. And the race results were: 12 boxes of eggo waffles, 2 bricks of Vegan cheese, one half pound of corn, bread, cake, and 40 packages of cool aid (in Little Helsinki, it is marketed as “cool aid,” and not “kool aid,” on account of someone complaining that it violated Finnish pride). Adequately unsatisfied with the food condition as I was the condition of my family, and life in general,, we drove on.
There is something about the housing of Little Helsinki that needs to be understood. For a long time, I have intensely and deeply held the belief that no human being could be content to live in a building that was literally one room. Little Helsinki had a population of 20,000 inhabitants that violated this rule. These are not “one room apartments,” these are quite literally “one room buildings.” There is something else I should really tell you about this miserable place and its Finnish creatures. Some of the walls of these buildings are completely glass, and people aren’t shy about nudity. Oh, one other thing: I am confident when I say that half of all lawn ornaments produced in third world countries end up here. Mailmen trip on pink flamingos while cars put their pedal to the mettle in crushing gnomes.
Our father, who had boasted so well of his $59,000 “and increasing” yearly salary as a department store manager, had rented us a sort of cottage. It was perhap what I’ll call Hell Housing, Grade Two. It was a bit longer and bigger than the average house of Hell. That’s not to say it was a rather disturbing sight that people might come here to vacation. And, the term cottage is used quite loosely. It was conveniently placed, in the quietness of the suburbs.
Right when I stepped out of the car, I looked across the street to one of those shitty one-room buildings with a screen door and a glass window wall, and an older man was watering his lawn with a hose. There was no attachment to actually make the water flow out of the hose properly, no, no, no, my friend. This is not a sanely constructed place. The lanky motherfucker winked at me and said, “Hey, you rascal! I’m Ungeldorf.” I greeted him with as much fake enthusiasm as I could muster.