Mancations aren’t for babies – are they? |

Mancations aren’t for babies – are they?

Jarid Shipley

For the last five days, I have been on my annual “pilgrimage,” a journey of spiritual enlightenment that involves reconnecting with my college friends, copious amounts of alcohol and razor-thin justifications for consuming large amounts of food and cigarettes.

In short, it’s mancation time.

For this trip, four friends gathered in Nashville, Tenn., to see another buddy, his pregnant wife and his 1-year-old twin boys.

Yes, I am aware that it is weird for four grown men to plan a vacation around seeing babies, but really, babies was the best we could come up with. It was either that or “to experience intoxication in another time zone” and the first one doesn’t make people give you such a pitiful look.

My goals on this mancation were limited to 1) Trying to determine just how much is “all I can eat (of) buffet” and 2) Figure out what can’t be found on YouTube. Answer: nothing.

But despite my best attempts, I couldn’t help but notice a pattern that seems to be present during every mancation. It was succinctly put to me by a tripmate.

Basically, mancation decisions can be broken down into “good decision” or “bad decision.”

Drinking until 4 in the morning after a 14-hour day, most of it spent in an airport?

Bad decision.

Why? Because I did most of said drinking in a hot tub, with little sleep and very poorly hydrated. But really, drink 64 ounces of water while traveling through two airports over the course of five hours, are you freaking nuts? I truly believe those airplane bathrooms were designed to make fat kids like me get stuck, beg for help and cry into a Snickers bar while the pretty stewardess (Or steward in my case) comforts you.

Ordering an Italian pasta dish designed for two people and finishing it yourself?

Bad decision.

In my defense, I don’t know who these “two” people are, but my guess is Muppets or members of the Lollypop Guild in the “Wizard of Oz.” This dish arrived, and I thought there was no way these whimpy little shells and a tiny bit of cheese were going to take down the reigning marshmallow-eating champion.

Funny thing though, these shells were packed with sausage so hot it was like each bite made me want to simultaneously orgasm and cry. Despite what many of you are thinking, that is an entirely new feeling.

But, not one to let something hot enough to make John Wayne cry get me down, I ate them. All of them.

What happened several hours later was unspeakable, horrible, a revenge on the scale of throwing a taser into the shower with your roommate. I vowed never again to eat as a show of manliness or because it’s there. “Only for nutrition,” I told myself.

Then I had cookies.

As the days went on and our group fell back into the comfortable groove of being around each other, we began to see the changes in our lives. We are all on the verge of new jobs or new relationships, and it became very clear our schedules will only get worse from here.

One of us is headed to Tampa, again, after not having seen his house for 11 days. One of us will start classes for the bar exam, having no idea what kind of law he wants to practice. One of us will interview for a teaching position that means he can quit working as a food expediter.

We probably won’t see each other for more than a year, but for some reason we all decided we had to see a pair of twins in Nashville.

Good decision.

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• Jarid Shipley is a reporter for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at or 881-1217.