Tom Bodett did not leave the light on for me

I’m writing this in a hurry. It’s 9:30 p.m., and I leave at 4 a.m. for California, and I’m not packed.

My dad, daughter, cousins and I are heading out on a whirlwind five-day trip to surprise my Granny, who turned 80 two weeks ago.

I just got back from City Market, where I had to buy Breathe Right strips and earplugs. Nothing says “vacation” like ear plugs and anti-snoring strips, am I right? But I learned my lesson the first time.

The last time my dad and I traveled together was about two years ago to help my Granny move into a new house. It is a 13 1/2-hour drive from Delta to Woodlake, California, and we planned to do it all in one day.

But at 11:30 p.m., driving through acres of lemon and orange trees with nary a road sign in sight, my father, who refused to let me drive even once, finally admitted he was tired and we needed to stop for the night. It was just a few miles later that the exit for Porterville, California, came into view.

I pointed out a Motel 6 just up the road.

Because it’s central California, there were palm trees everywhere, including in Motel 6’s parking lot. Me being the little naive country mouse that I am, immediately equated palm trees with exotic and classy and thought, hell, even the Motel 6s here are spectacular!

My dad went in to pay for a room. He had to slide his credit card through a drawer protected by a pane of bulletproof glass. I was too busy looking at The! Beautiful! Palm Trees! to really notice the shabbiness of the motel.

When we got out of the truck, he made me take every single thing to the room that might possibly be stolen, including the atlas I bought because he left on a cross-country trip without a map, and the loaded handgun he keeps under the seat. That’s my dad. The map-less, gun-toting fool.

When we got to the room, and my dad was all, “Geez, you don’t get much for $32.99, do you?” And I was all, “Did you see those palm trees?!”

We went to bed, and my dad immediately fell asleep. And started snoring.

He snores oh-my-freaking-Lord loud. He does this deep, huge inhale of air, snore, and then lets it all out in a hiss between clenched teeth. Over and over. All night long. Needless to say, I could not sleep.

I put my pillow on top of my head. That didn’t work.

I balled up the comforter and piled it on top of the pillow. That didn’t work.

I tried humming.

Around 2 a.m., frustrated, I got out of bed and went to the bathroom where I pulled a 3—foot-long stream of cheap, rough motel toilet paper from the roll. I ripped it in half, twisted both halves up, and shoved them in my ears. I got back in bed.


So then I piled the pillow and comforter back on top of my head. STILL CRAZY LOUD SNORING.

I threw off the pillow and comforter, viciously pulled the toilet paper from my ears, wadded it all up into a little ball, and chucked it at my father’s snoring head. It jarred him enough that he did this weird snort thing, then went right back to sawing logs.

Eventually, I fell asleep, but I seriously don’t know how.

The next morning as we packed up all our valued possessions (atlas, handgun), my dad says to me, “That Tom Bodett. What a jerk.”


“This room is terrible,” he said. “I woke up with some other idiot’s used toilet paper in my bed. I’m going to write to Tom Bodett and tell him about it. That @#$%^& did not leave the light on for us. He didn’t even give us a clean bed. That’s bad advertising. What a jerk.”

It was funnier to let him assume that he’d slept on top of someone’s used TP. What can I say? I was exhausted.

He complained about Tom Bodett all week long. Out of the blue he’d say, “That Tom Bodett. What an a@#$#%. Sure didn’t leave the light on for us.”

I’d really like to meet Tom and let him know his rep has suffered tremendously at the hands of my dad.

Meanwhile, perhaps I’ll pack some Tylenol PM while I’m thinking of it.

Email Kami Collins at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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