The Best Damn Thing

1 Mar

The other day, the best damn thing happened to me.





No. Christian Bale did not appear on my doorstep wrapped in a bow. Which. Is. Too. Bad.

I’m not going to tell you what it is yet cause suspense is driving the narrative of this post (stop reading. stop reading right now. I dare you to stop reading right now, I already got your page view, motha fuckaaaa).  *ahem* But I WILL say that this awesome thing involved my parents. It is basically the most amazing thing I could ever tell my parents, and in particular my mother, in the history of the world ever.

By a quirk of luck, the day after Best Damn Thing Day was my mother’s birthday, so in the interests of maximum impact (telling her the good news on her birthday), I kept the secret quiet overnight.  I’m not so good at keeping secrets though (When attempting—and failing—to keep them I usually jump around in my chair like I have to pee) so I was sitting at my desk feeling like my little heart was going to explode. For relief, I posted an extremely vague note that something good had happened to me on facebook. And because it seems I have friends (You like me! You really like me!), it rapidly got something like 30 comments that can be roughly paraphrased as:


But now! To your great relief, I will tell you what the best thing was.

My company, a small publishing company that publishes in-flight magazines, including the illustrious travel magazine that I edit, has launched this new “happiness initiative.” They’re doing it to make the “corporate culture” better for the people who work here, which is a laudable aim. However, I have been pooh poohing this initiative for months because:

A. They put a pun in the title of the initiative and that makes me want to punt a baby

B. No one can tell me I HAVE to be happy. *wears Doc Martins for a month*

D. Did someone say “corporate culture”? *shoots self in eye with rubber band and claims Worker’s Comp*

As part of this happiness initiative, they had everyone in the office send their top three life dreams to the CEOs. They were going to select a few employees and grant them their dreams Make-A-Wish style. I didn’t want to participate because I am an incorrigible curmudgeon, but was finally convinced to stop being a grinch about it and send in a couple of ideas by a coworker. On Friday, I got a call from one of the company executives saying that they had chosen me as the dream-receiver of the New York office, and they were going to make one of my top three dreams come true.

Here is my dream:

My parents don’t have passports. They have never been outside of the continental US and Mexico, but they reminisce dreamily of the few, brief vacations they have taken to the beaches of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Every year when I was in high school, my mom would get gorgeous travel calendars in the mail from aunts and uncles for Christmas, and we would sit at the bar in the kitchen and look at all the pictures. I remember us being particularly enamored of one calendar that showed shots of the Greek islands. We flipped through it until we got to a picture of the post-volcanic, possibly-Atlantis island of Santorini.


“One day, I’ll go there,” I said.

My mom smiled a tight-lipped smile and turned from stir frying something inexpensive. “Me too,” she sighed.

In college, on account of a saintly lawyer and a bastard of a family member I shall decline to describe here, I came into a sum of about $4,000. I used it to take a summer course in Thessaloniki, Greece. The course ended with a week-long cruise through the Greek islands, including Santorini. I sent my mom a ton of pictures, and she was as excited to look at them as if she’d gone herself.

Six years later, I became a travel writer.

My parents have still never been outside the US and Mexico, and every time I fly somewhere exotic and stay in some 5-star hotel I’m not paying for, I can’t help but wish that I could let them just once have the same experience. My long-suffering, one-time single mother clearly deserves it more than I. And so does my super-awesome stepdad.

And so, my company is sending my parents and I on an all-expense paid trip to Santorini, Greece. And giving me an extra week off to go.

I told my mom on the phone while she was in a J.C. Penny.

She cried.


Thanks company. Sorry I’m such a grinch. 🙂


One Response to “The Best Damn Thing”

  1. Luisa May 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm #


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