Tuesday, July 19

Tips for the appropriate year-round use of National Lampoon's Chrismas Vacation quotes, Part 3

Part 1: "Are you serious, Clark?"
Part 2: "Fixed the newel post!"

Special Motoring Edition

When National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation opens, we find Clark Griswold and his family en route to selecting their Christmas tree. According to Murphy's Law, when a family is headed out to celebrate a holiday or special event, the lead-up is compromised by either a big argument or some outside force of Evil acting to ensnare one or more family members and thus destroy the happy, slightly reverent atmosphere.

In this case, a couple guys from Deliverance make a cameo in a pickup truck, threatening to ruin the Griswold family Christmas cheer (and possibly kill the entire family) by drawing Clark and his sensible station wagon into a Talladega Nights roadrace scenario. Never one to back down, Clark engages.


It takes some skill to unpack this scene, so many useable quotes are there. First we've got "Hey, kids, look! A deer!" + inappropriate gesture. Clark preserves his kids' image of him as wholesome as wheat bread by diverting their attention from his behavior, the diversion being a pastoral image of a deer. This quote is best used in situations when you either 1) Want to hide your nasty behavior from others, or 2) Want to avoid the inappropriateness altogether by implying the idea of rudeness. I know this is complex, but we'll get into it in the next section.

Second, we've got the "Let's burn some dust here. Eat my rubber!" line. Clark, ever the nerdy father, keeps a bad situation light by throwing in some colloquialisms; his attempt at levity is both betrayed and aided by his malapropisms. This can be used as a throwaway line in almost any driving situation. One can also employ this line ironically. You'll see what I mean in just a moment.

Finally, and one of my favorites, "Let's get around this egg timer." Again going for a light tone, Clark fools no one. However his use of deadpan—almost innocent—sarcasm is redeeming and, ultimately, mimickable.

Real Life Application

"Hey, kids, look! A deer!" — I like to use this quote in place of a rude gesture. When some idiot on a cell phone cuts me off, a hearty "Hey, kids, look! A deer!" relieves the tension without running the risk of a roadside fistfight. I also find this to be a satisfying alternative to inappropriate behavior of all sorts. For instance, instead of beating Cody with a broom handle after several hours of high-pitched, inexplicable dog whining, a resounding "Hey, kids, look! A deer!" shouted into his face helps me feel better without comitting animal abuse.

"Let's burn some dust here. Eat my rubber! — I find this quote comes in handy when emerging from what my driver's ed teacher called a "wolf pack," e.g. a group of cars clogging up the roadway and driving dangerously close to each other. As I mentioned earlier, this line is particularly effective in an ironical sense: say, when you're driving a new friend in your sensible but paltry-cylindered Ford Focus and getting up to speed from a stoplight takes several minutes.

"Let's get around this egg timer." — Also working well in a sarcastic sense—say, when you triumphantly pass a car that was weaving dangerously but got caught several cars back in the next lane at a stoplight—this quote can be used literally and be just as funny. When passing one of our nation's elders going 15 under on the highway, for instance, or when you finally get the opportunity to get around that 45-year-old frat boy on a moped making everyone suffer for his multiple DUIs.

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