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RAMON PRESSON: Give me Music City over Tinsel Town

Not too long ago I enjoyed an extended vacation weekend with my wife in Southern California.

Not only was the weather perfect but we managed to be there during a rare 4-day period when there were no earthquakes, mudslides, wild fires, or major celebrity
scandal in Los Angeles.

I have to admit it’s fun to casually say, “Yes, I was in LA this weekend…”  It makes you sound important, like you must be in the entertainment business in some capacity. Now say out loud, “Yeah, I was in Goodlettsville on Saturday night …” See what I mean?

It just doesn’t have the same effect.

I had a few experiences while I was in LA I’d like to tell you about… (Notice how cool that sounded?)

We made a reservation with Budget Rental for a sporty Nissan Altima coupe and we got a VW Jetta sedan because Budget says they are “comparable automobiles.” Yeah, if comparable means both cars have four tires and a steering wheel.  I believe the counter clerk made the sneaky change after seeing my driver’s license and concluded that anyone from Tennessee would be thrilled with anything not pulled by a mule.

A Jetta is reliable transportation, but I ordered sleek and sexy. Now I know what the Old Testament’s Jacob felt like when he was tricked into thinking he’d married Rachel and woke up with her homely sister Leah. My apologies to any readers named Leah.

How does anyone in Los Angeles get a speeding ticket? I was there for four days and with the constant traffic I never even got close to the speed limit. A retired state trooper with two bad knees riding a Schwinn could have passed me.

Cop: Can I see your license and registration, please?
Ramon: What did I do?
Cop: You were doing 20 in a 65 mph zone.
Ramon: But, officer, I was going as fast as I could.
Cop: Yea, well, I saw you get passed by a light blue Prius.
Ramon: Yes, and I am embarrassed by that.
Cop: You should be. I’m writing you a ticket …
Ramon: Wait! Would it help if I said I was drinking and texting when it happened?
Cop: No.
Ramon: Dang, I can’t believe you caught up to me wearing those orthopedic
Velcro sneakers.

Cop: The hip replacement has made all the difference. Sign here please …

Folks warned me that upon entering Venice Beach I would be stepping onto another
planet: a cross between Mardi Gras, a circus freak show, and Spring Break in Ft.
Lauderdale. I was expecting almost-naked roller bladers tattooed from head to
foot and with piercings ranging from chest zippers to truck axles through their noses.

Truth be told I’ve seen stranger characters at the Renaissance Festival in Triune.

Hearing about the body builders that populate the shore I decided Venice Beach was the perfect place to debut my new tank top that says on the front, “I Know, I Know … and I’m Not Even Flexing.”

I will say I saw some examples of honesty in advertising while strolling on Venice Beach. I saw a girl wearing a t-shirt with a slogan I can’t repeat and a homeless guy holding a cardboard sign that said, “Need Spare Change For Weed”.  Here in the South we pride ourselves on being more discreet and deceptive.

Have you noticed that when you come back from a beach vacation part of your body is tanned and brown, another section is sunburned and red, while other regions remain pale and white? You basically look like a large block of Neapolitan ice cream. On a sexy scale of 1-10 it’s probably a 0.5.

By the way, never say aloud to your spouse during your flight back to Nashville, “One of the advantages of a direct flight is that the airline isn’t going to lose your luggage.” Don’t even whisper it because the offended Budget Rental rep will have called a Southwest baggage handler and told him to fly your Samsonite to Sacramento.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin
( and the author of several books. Reach him at

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