July 17th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letter to the President #544: 'Surveying the vacation schedule'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/16/obama_vacation_web.jpg caption="Foreman: I know that you’re taking a little heat over enjoying a weekend away while all manner of ills hover around." width=300 height=169]

Reporter's Note: Being President can’t be easy; all that foreign and domestic policy, meetings, signing ceremonies, photo ops, negotiations, and of course all these exhausting letters to read.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, here I have been carrying on about my vacation this week and just as I am heading back to work it turns out you are going on a short vacation! You should have told me. We probably could have shifted things around and our families could have gone together. Wouldn’t that have been fun?

Let’s see… you’re going to Maine and we’re in Alabama, so I suppose a reasonable middle ground would have been somewhere around Kentucky. We could ride horses, go water skiing, maybe take in a movie. Just imagine all the people we’d pass, pointing and saying “Hey look! It’s Tom and some other guy!” Maybe next time.

I know that you’re taking a little heat over enjoying a weekend away while the oil spill is still in play (although certainly the news from that direction is the best we’ve heard in a while,) while the economy is still a train wreck (sorry, no encouragement on that front,) and while all manner of other ills hover around. I’ll admit that presidents overall seem to take a good many more vacations than I’ve ever enjoyed. Seems like no matter who is in office they’re constantly winging off to clear brush, or swing golf clubs, or fish, or mountain bike, or take ballroom dancing lessons.

If all Americans were able to take breaks as often as presidents do, I suspect we’d all get a lot less worked up over who the president is. But then I can’t say that I really understand all the pressures of your job, so I should not cast any aspersions.

I guess there is nothing easier for any person than finding reasons why he or she needs a break and someone else doesn’t. Sometimes it’s true: We’ve all known the true slacker who somehow manages to push his work off on everyone else and yet is first in line for the vacation schedule. But most of the time I guess it’s just a form of envy.

Actually, I think the whole nation would be better off if we could all take a few more breaks. Sometimes when work and worry are most overwhelming is when we most need the clearing, restorative benefits of a short break; something to remind us what we are working for.

So good luck with the time off. Catch some sun, take a nap, and try to come back ready to rumble…and, oh, try not to look like you’re having too much fun in the meantime. Ha!

Don’t bother calling while you are cooling out, but a postcard would be nice. Do you have my home address? I’m heading to Mississippi today to work on the Building Up America series, so I’ll try to send a postcard from there to you. Going to meet some blues musicians this afternoon. Should be fun!


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.