What's All This Then?
What's All This Then?
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Field-Tested by Whitney Pastorek
in St. Lucia, Caribbean
I have never gone in much for the debauchery, especially of the tropical vacation variety, and for a long time I believed this was because I’d been deprived of opportunity as a child. My family was more of a national parks and Civil War battlefields tribe, partially for financial reasons and partially, I think, because my parents honestly enjoyed torturing us. When I was in junior high, there had been a short trip down to Cancun that ended painfully when I fell asleep outside with my feet propped up on a table and couldn’t walk for a couple days from the sunburn. But outside of that, we’d been chained to our pop-up camper for what seemed like an eternity. Imagine my surprise then when, about three years ago, it was announced that over Christmas vacation, the Pastorek Family was going on a cruise. I packed a stack of paperbacks and threw in Fear and Loathing as a last-minute whim. It had never really interested me before, I think, because I had too many friends in college who were obsessed with the movie. Anyway.
The first day of our ride on the friendly seas, I pulled Mr. Thompson out, applied sunscreen liberally to the bottoms of my feet, and settled in to read. And I swear to you, that book did something to my head. Next thing I knew, I had found the only other 20-somethings on board our floating retirement colony, tossed back about 17 gin and tonics, and was watching the sun rise through a haze of pot smoke that I was pretty sure was coming from the joint in my hand. And that was how I spent six days and seven nights (although I remember virtually nothing about the days, except that we went to Chichen Itza and I took a gazillion pictures with no film in the camera and cried for like an hour). I did not read any of the other books I brought with me on the trip, because after five pages of Fear and Loathing, I was back at the bar. When I got home, I set the book on fire and vowed to never touch hard liquor again, and my beer belly is now a testament to the fact that certain people can live certain lives, and other people had better stick to being white trash at the campground.
Read the next Field Test by Dave Reidy