Opinion

When holidays go from Hell to Heck

Photo of Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson
Author, Writ of Mandamus
  • See All Articles
  • Subscribe to RSS
  • Bio

      Rick Robinson

      Rick Robinson has spent thirty years in politics and law, including a stint on Capitol Hill as Legislative Director/Chief Counsel to then-Congressman Jim Bunning (R-KY). He has been active in all levels of politics, from advising candidates on the national level to walking door-to-door in city council races. He ran for the United States Congress in 1998.

      Rick’s first book, The Maximum Contribution, was named a “Finalist” in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Books Awards in the genre of political fiction. It also won an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival. Sniper Bid, was released on Election Day 2009 and opened on Amazon’s Top Seller list at #46 of political fiction. Sniper Bid earned 5 national awards: Finalist USA Book News Best Books of 2009; Finalist Best Indie Novel Next Generation Indie Books Awards; Runner-up at the 2009 Nashville Book Festival; Honorable Mentions at the 2008 New England Book Festival and the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival. Throughout 2009 both books appeared on Amazon’s Top Seller List on the same day.

      Rick’s third offering, Manifest Destiny, was released in the spring of 2010. It was named Best Fiction at the Paris Book Festival, a Finalist for Best Fiction in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Fiction at the New York Book Festival, a Finalist as Best Thriller in the Indie Excellence Awards, and won Honorable mention in the Beach Book Festival, the Hollywood Book Festival and the San Francisco Book Festival.

      A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Rick currently practices law in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky with the law firm of Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP. Rick, and his wife Linda, live in Ft. Mitchell with their three children, Josh, Zach and MacKenzie.

I first met P.J. O’Rourke in 1988 following the release of Holidays in Hell. P.J. was Washington’s hippest journalist, writing for Rolling Stone magazine. Holidays in Hell was his personal account of conflicts that he had covered in the shitholes of the world. Making points with his biting humor, he wrote about places like Lebanon, El Salvador and Korea.

The Wall Street Journal blurbed Holidays in Hell by labeling P.J. O’Rourke “the funniest writer in America” — although it is completely fair to ask what the WSJ knows about humor.

When my wife and I met O’Rourke, we were working on Capitol Hill. The fact that we had a young son made our lifestyle somewhat foreign to his point of view. One time when we had dinner together, P.J. was planning a trip to Pakistan and we were planning a trip to Disney World.

But that was then and this is now. My son just graduated from college, and the Republican Party Reptile is now married and has young kids of his own. My wife and I went to Ireland last year. P.J. and his family went to Disneyland.

Revenge is a dish best served in a souvenir sippie cup with a lid that has black mouse ears.

Holidays in transition

Just released, Holidays in Heck is P.J. O’Rourke’s sequel to Holidays in Hell. While the two books are distinguished by their times and O’Rourke’s evolving position in life, they are connected by P.J.’s never-aging humor.

My favorite chapter from Holidays in Hell relates to the 36 hours O’Rourke spent in Managua at a time when Nicaragua was the hot bed of foreign policy debate. “Is Nicaragua a Bulgaria with marimba bands or just a misunderstood Massachusetts with Cuban military advisers?”

In 1987, whether to send aid to Nicaragua’s anti-communist Contras was one of the most important issues facing the United States Congress. Today many members of Congress would be hard-pressed to pick out the nation on a globe.

But at the time, a politically charged O’Rourke finished his visit to Managua by drinking heavily at the home of the American ambassador and calling for a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua.

In Holidays in Heck, O’Rourke invades Disneyland, goes skiing in Ohio and takes the family with him on a business trip.

Oh my, how holidays change.