You knew this, of course, but June 13 is National "Get Outdoors" Day. We knew this because the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department just sent out the news.
"As a part of the second annual GO Day, more than two dozen Texas state parks are joining federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and recreation industry leaders throughout the nation in hosting a variety of outdoor recreational activities and special events to mark the day," TPWD announced.
How exciting can it get? This exciting:
On the outskirts of San Antonio, for example, Government Canyon State Natural Area is inviting the public to join volunteers for an 8 a.m. guided hike on one of the many canyonland trails. In addition, reservations are being accepted to attend a presentation by an expert in First Aid and CPR on how to hike safely in hot weather with your four-legged companion.
What better way to work off your Friday-night bar-hopping?
The TPWD offers tips on how to get the whole family involved in the Great Outdoors. Many of these, however, seem to skip the crucial first step of somehow getting "the whole family" to agree to do anything together, much less go out to get bitten by bugs and sweat their asses off.
As always, we're here to help.
Tip Number One: Practice saying "Put that goddamn _______ down NOW!!" as often as possible, filling the blank with a rotation of "cell phone," "iPod," "GameBoy" or whatever your kid's gadget de jour is. You will be forced to say this at least 50 times on any one "Great Outdoors" trip, so you need to make sure the relevant mouth muscles are up to the strain.
Tip Number Two: Practice saying it a bit more. Like 500 times more than you think would be necessary when dealing with any even remotely sentient being.
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Tip Number Three: Lock up your kid's cell phone, iPod and GameBoy.
Tip Number Four: Purchase the book How To Deal With The Most Sullen Teen-Ager Ever, then feel dismay when the opening chapter begins, "To be completely honest, you're not going to get anywhere until you give back the cell phone, iPod and GameBoy. We're not miracle workers."
Tip Number Five: Bone up on all the fascinating trivia out there about nature, and bugs and trees and stuff like that. Kids loooove to hear about how the Texas centipede Scolopendra heros can grow to over five inches long!! Or maybe they're just nodding their heads to Kanye on the iPod.
Tip Number Six, the most important of all: Set really, really low expectations. Unless you work for the TPWD. And even then you're safe only if you don't have a teen.