Don’t be Depressed

I have an email here from Todd, in Dallas, who writes:

“I’m super depressed from sheltering in place, I’m not even kidding, Sean, please write something that’s going to make me feel better!”

Todd, believe me, I get it. I can’t make you feel better, I can’t even make my dog sit on command, but I do sympathize with you. I’ve been pretty blue lately, too. I miss going places, doing stuff, seeing people, watching baseball, and shaking hands.

So I understand what you’re going through. Which is why I’d like to tell you a story that was sent to me by a reader from Calgary, Canada, named Harriet. I wasn’t aware that anybody in Canada, read my stuff, so I can only assume that this woman was probably forced to read my words against her will.

But anyway, Harriet wrote a letter detailing a trip she and her husband, Phillip, took for their 40th wedding anniversary last year. I don’t have room for the whole thing, but here are the highlights:

Phillip wanted to get Harriet something very special for their anniversary. He had been secretly asking her friends about it. Harriet had always wanted to take a cruise to Mexico.

So Phillip began researching cruises and trying to find the absolute cheapest tickets on the internet because Phillip is a notorious cheapskate.

“He’s Canadian,” explains Harriet. “Canadian men can be tightwads.”

Phillip found a killer deal on a cruise, but the only drawback was that this ship departed from Tampa, Florida, which—as the crow flies—is about 3 million miles from Alberta.

When Harriet asked about this, Phillip’s answer was, “Well, I thought we’d take a roadtrip across the United States.”

Of course Phillip could have simply admitted that he’d gotten a little carried away looking for hot deals, then cancelled the reservations, and booked something closer. But—and I think I already mentioned this—Phillip is male.

“It’ll be fun,” Phillip insisted.

Still, Harriet was having her doubts about driving for 731,249 straight hours to Florida. She told Phillip that she wanted to take a flight.

So Phillip spent hours comparing flight prices, but they were all way too expensive for an average Canadian male. It didn’t take long for a skinflint like old Phil to realize that he could save some major cash if they took a bus trip instead of flying.

“It’ll be fun,” Phillip kept claiming.

It was about as much fun as gallbladder surgery in a Third-World country. The first day of their journey, after riding for nine hours south, the bus broke down on the interstate.

“And the worst part was,” says Harriet, “Phillp’s bulging discs were killing him.”

The passengers waited all night on a dead bus for a replacement bus, which arrived at 2 a.m. The passengers, who were suffering from sleep deprivation, rode for another four hours to the nearest station, where they waited several MORE hours for a connecting bus.

But this was only a warm up. Because by the time their next bus reached Nebraska, all hell broke loose. Somewhere around Omaha, the bus driver had a diebectic episode while driving and nearly wrecked. An ambulance was called. More delays.

But hey, it all worked out. To make a long story even more boring, Phillip and Harriet finally made it to Tampa seven days later. Oh, sure, they could have just said, “Forget it” back in Omaha and rented a car. But Phillip was going all the way.

By the time they reached Tampa, tensions were high, and Harriet was getting urges to decapitate Phillip with her nail file.

When they stood in the cruise-ship ticket line, something else went wrong. The cruise officials could not seem to find Phillip’s reservations. They wouldn’t let Phillip and his wife onto the boat. Phil and the ticket guy almost got into a fistfight.

Thus, while other passengers were boarding the ship, sipping fruity drinks, listening to steel drum bands play “Hot Hot Hot,” Phillip was in the main office having a nervous breakdown.

“I waited on the sidewalk,” says Harriet, “sitting on our luggage. I could hear people having fun on the boat.”

The office person told Phillip that it was a credit-card mixup. The man apologized and led the couple to their ultra-economy suite, which was located in the bowels of the ship, not far from the ship’s laundromat. A suite that was about the size of a No. 4 Tupperware container.

“I think we were on the same deck with the crew,” says Harriet.

The cruise set sail for Cozumel. When they pulled into port, Phillip lined up some half-price activities he’d found for a great deal on the internet. They swam with dolphins and rode ATV wheelers.

Things were going fine until the ATVs. When Phillip was gunning his rented four-wheeler across a sandy Mexican beach, he took a wrong turn and got thrown from his vehicle. He herniated L4 and L5. He was taken to a local hospital, howling in pain. He and Harriet had to cut their trip short and fly back to Canada so Phillip could get spinal fusion surgery.

When the operation was completed and the anesthesia wore off, Harriet says the first face Phillip saw was hers. She touched his cheek and in honor of their momentous anniversary, she said, “I oughta divorce you, you miserable cheapskate.”

I don’t know what the moral of the story is here. But I’ll bet Phil knows what it is.

Hang in there, friend.


  1. Elizabeth - May 29, 2020 11:16 am

    Lmao, that’s what I needed. Thank you!

  2. Elizabeth - May 29, 2020 11:17 am

    Lmao that’s what I needed. Thank you!

  3. Ala Red Clay Girl - May 29, 2020 12:35 pm

    Oh wow, this was hilarious! Thanks for the early morning belly laugh.

  4. Kathleen Manfredo - May 29, 2020 12:40 pm

    I love your writing so much! I am a born and bred southerner living in NJ….missing home so much. Your writing connects me with home again in a small way….thank you!

  5. Keloth Anne - May 29, 2020 1:05 pm

    Oh my—-what a vacation from 🤬🤬
    Thank you for reminding me that it could be much worse😎😎
    I so enjoy your daily posts….coffee with Sean and Jamie is a wonderful way to start my quarantined days (77) but who’s counting 😷🤔

  6. Phil S. - May 29, 2020 1:16 pm

    Thanks a lot, Sean! Now you’ve exposed and endangered a very large percentage of us “frugal” guys. I don’t live in Canada, but identify with Phil. Heck, my name’s Phil, too. Harriet has to be a saint, as Jamie is. My wife is definitely one, but I’m not letting her read today’s story.

  7. johnallenberry PhDue - May 29, 2020 1:47 pm

    Dang, Sean. I wonder if they made food time? 🤣

  8. johnallenberry PhDude - May 29, 2020 1:48 pm

    * good time. ( stupid I pad)

  9. LindaD. - May 29, 2020 2:07 pm

    Oh my gosh, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time! To me, the moral of the story is, next time, if there ever is one, let the wife make the travel arrangements!

  10. Dianne - May 29, 2020 2:46 pm

    Phillip has learned the old adage of “You get what you pay for.” Bless his little heart.

  11. Sandi - May 29, 2020 4:16 pm

    Uugh, I can sympathize with the wife. I’m also married to a Mr Frugal / tightwad / “only purchase the manager’s special” type. However, he has saved us a ton of money over the years. I finally put myself back in college, got a good paying job, and now help plan / pay for vacations. That’s how I solved that problem.
    My first response was “cheapskates suck.” I still love my cheapskate. But, I figured out a way to solve the problem and stay happily married. It’s working and we’re having fun.

  12. Linda Moon - May 29, 2020 4:37 pm

    Not going places where people are….my friends, family, and sometimes even you, Sean Dietrich, is blues-inducing for sure. I get it. It goes without saying that Phillip is male…that was obvious to any female. I know the moral of the story, and thank God none of my roadtrips with my “Phillip” turned out as disastrous as Harriet’s. We sometimes got lost on long highways and less-traveled roads but we always found our way to the destination, back home again, stayed married, and lived to tell about it. That’s the moral, because just still being on the Planet reading Sean of the South posts, listening to S.O.S. podcasts, spending time on the front porch with two gingerheads is good enough. So thanks, friend, for helping me hang!

  13. Janice - May 29, 2020 6:00 pm

    Thanks for the laugh! Poor Harriet.

  14. Lisa P - May 29, 2020 6:20 pm

    Bahaha! Thanks for the laugh! I hope Harriet made him eat cold liver and onions for a month, haha!

  15. johnallenberry PhDude - May 29, 2020 6:24 pm

    ** GOOD time! Stupid IPad!

  16. Judy - May 29, 2020 10:52 pm

    I was married to a Phil! I lmao over this! Thanks for a respite from being locked up. I don’t know why the Powers that Be decided to shut the whole dang world down…we’ve had pandemics since beginning of time. It’s sad. But life goes on until it doesn’t. That’s the reality of it. We either live through it or not. & better make sure we know which way we’re headed & who we’re depending on to get us there. If it’s not corona virus, old age will get you in the end. We’re all gonna go someday. Thing to do is, Enjoy the journey! You have made mine much more pleasant. Thank you.

  17. Harriet White - May 30, 2020 6:38 am

    Great story Sean!
    Harriet 😁

  18. Jo Buchanan - May 30, 2020 2:58 pm

    The moral is’Things can Always be Worse, look around, there are many others going through the same as you, and many more in far worse circumstances.
    Count your blessings everyone. Some days are better than others! You need to believe it will get better in time.
    Thanks for the Canadian share Sean. Always enjoy your unique perspective.

  19. Aunt Si or Martha Blackn - July 8, 2020 6:11 am

    Yes, but theyvfsiked to, inform him, t
    surgery was extry…………

  20. June - July 8, 2020 4:58 pm

    Another Canadian. And I share your wonderful stories so there are more than 2 Canuks being entertained.

  21. Martha bryan - July 9, 2020 2:45 am

    Absolutely hilarious. I could see that happening to someone I loved!


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