Honda’s Odyssey

Gas just hit $5 a gallon, so naturally we crammed our family of seven into a Honda Odyssey and went on a weeklong road trip. Another reason we did this is because we are insane.

We came prepared, however, with entertainment. Our Honda Odyssey has a DVD player with a screen slightly larger than that of an iPod Mini, making it perfect for showing movies to insects and small children. My kids have enjoyed such cinematic masterpieces as I Don’t Want To Watch This Movie, This Is The Worst Movie Ever, and Why Did You Bring This Movie, Dad (all of which were carefully handpicked by my children in advance). 

When movies fail to entertain, we have music. With today’s modern digital technology, we were able to download any music from our choice of approximately six thousand different media streaming services. So we made a robust playlist of diverse tunes of a variety of styles, giving us a truly staggering cornucopia of options, including My Wife’s Favorite Musical, My Wife’s Second-Favorite Musical, or even My Wife’s Third-Favorite Musical.

I know what you’re thinking: What about audiobooks? The problem is we couldn’t bear any more drama. It’s difficult for any narrative to compete with a live performance of He Hit Me, a 94-act Shakespearean play complete with violence, betrayal, deceit, foul revenge, and multiple tragic figures. Everyone dies at the end.

As epic as our entertainment has been, our journey itself has been even more epic, largely because of Tennessee. If our Honda Odyssey were Homer’s Odyssey, then Tennessee would be our trip through the Underworld. Tennessee would also be the Cyclops, the sea monster Charybdis, the sea monster Scylla, the evil witch Circe that turns all your companions into pigs, and the hundred-plus suitors that eat all your food and try to steal your wife. Remove the SparkNotes option, and you’ve got Tennessee.

Tennessee, as I’m sure you’re all aware, is shaped like a dropped cannoli. And as irresponsibly long as it is, there are really only two reasonable roads out of it: I-40, and death. Naturally, the I-40 bridge from Tennessee into Arkansas is broken. The part of the bridge that keeps it from plummeting into the river like the CGI set piece of a Michael Bay movie is literally fractured in half. Terrifyingly, local Tennesseeans call this bridge the “New Bridge.”

Could Tennessee really be that bad, you wonder? Is it fair to judge an entire state just because every billboard is for an adult superstore and every roadside restaurant is named “RESTAURANT”?

Yes.

Aside from the existence of Tennessee, we suffered few setbacks. We learned quickly that road signs weren’t always accurate, and as a way of assisting future road-trippers, I’ve included a short list of road signs along with what they actually mean.

SPEED LIMIT ENFORCED BY AIRCRAFT – If you speed, G.I. Joes will paratroop down from stealth helicopters, destroy your vehicle with a bazooka, and leave only after making a public service announcement about online bullying.

END ROAD WORK – A rallying cry to which we can all subscribe.

NEXT REST AREA IN 66 MILES – No one needs to use the bathroom. In 10 miles, three of your children will need to use the bathroom, and at least one other will have had needed to use the bathroom, if you catch my drift.

GAS NEXT RIGHT – The nearest gas station is 12 miles down an unpaved road, and you have to undergo the plot of an entire Stephen King novel before you find a bathroom.

ADULT SUPER STORE – A bulk outlet for replacing small-bladdered children with a selection of adults with fully developed bladders.

WELCOME TO TENNESSEE – We know that you are trying to drive through our terrible state as quickly as possible, so we’ve made it even longer just to spite you.

Hopefully other road-trippers will find this helpful. Now excuse me while I try to get My Wife’s Third-Favorite Musical out of my head; it’s a real earworm.

This article first appeared in the Duzett Gazette, the really official newsletter of Carl Duzett. Sign up here to get more content like this in your inbox, as well as some other content that isn’t quite like it, but is probably also good.

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