Have you ever been absolutely, indisputably, 100% on the correct side of an argument even when the question was completely subjective; the ones that supposedly all boil down to individual preference and subsequently have “no right answer” even though you’ve never been more confident about something in your entire life?
You will die on the “Having fingers as long as legs is better than legs the size of fingers” hill and hold a deep conviction that anyone who thinks otherwise is insane—even that person who you just yesterday viewed as a friend who turned out to be an absolute psycho. You’re on vacation together, so while you eventually put aside your differences to avoid dealing with awkward post-argument tension for the rest of the week, that doesn’t stop you from debating your points about nothing well into the next morning.
People have spent thousands of years attempting to figure out the meaning of life and I find it pretty funny that all of the philosophers who’ve dedicated their days to espousing their personal beliefs while pointing out the flaws in competing ideologies didn’t realize they had stumbled on the true purpose of existence: winning arguments and being right.
It’s a universal truth that applies to everything from weird hypotheticals that can only be tested in an alternate reality to heated discussions about interest rates at the Federal Reserve. It doesn’t matter if you’re engaging with friends, family, or the waitress at Applebee’s; when you’re talking about a topic that lends itself to different opinions, the only way the exchange can come to a satisfying end is if you verbally beat everyone who disagrees with you into submission.
In order to achieve that, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind more than any other: facts don’t matter. I’m not saying you can’t drop some occasional knowledge, but in the end, yelling louder than the person you’re squabbling with while attacking their character, physical appearance, and basically anything else you can target (aside from the points they’re making to support their argument) is what’s going to allow you to emerge victorious.
Some people are born with natural gifts that lend themselves to arguing, but even if you don’t possess the inherent edge that comes with having a particularly quick-witted brain or unusually resilient vocal cords, all is not lost. Muggsy Bogues made it to the NBA even though his listed height is a virtually automatic left swipe on Tinder and Jim Abbott threw a no-hitter despite having around one less arm than the average baseball player. If they can become masters of their craft, you can watch rap battles on YouTube and scream into a pillow as loud and for as long as you possibly can so you’re ready for whatever debatable scenarios life throws at you.
It’s this type of preparation that allowed me to walk away with my most recent W, which came courtesy of a classic “If Money Didn’t Matter” conversation starter. I’m a big fan of this particular format, mostly because I fall into the “Money is a human construct we’ve collectively agreed to allow control every aspect of our lives and everyone would probably be happier if we could figure out a way to make it not exist” camp.
Louis C.K. kind of addressed this topic in one of his earlier specials, where he described a world that’s as perfect as his view of how to treat guests in your hotel room is not.
If everything—no matter how big or small—simply cost a single “money,” you’d be free to buy a house, a sports franchise, an island, or anything else your heart desires. Sadly, it doesn’t appear the world is going to pivot to this economic system at any point soon, which is a bummer because I currently don’t have a steady job and it turns out the stipend the government provides isn’t enough to help me come any closer to affording the private jet I’ve always wanted. In fact, it’s barely enough to shop at Kmart. That’s why I love engaging in a war of words where (much like the actual wars the government funds) money isn’t a factor.
This particular conflict was sparked while I was at my friend’s lake house, where my buddy Mike had recently arrived after wrapping up a vacation at his beach house (he has a really rough life). While catching up with each other, I mentioned my job status and Mike figured there was no better time to tell us he just bought an Audi A4 before showing off a Robinhood account that was home to over $300k, which is just slightly more than I earned during my adventures in day trading.
Of all of the people in attendance, Mike had a commanding lead in the race to secure an actual “If Money Didn’t Matter” existence and I’m still not sure if he was mocking the rest of us when he decided to pose the following question shortly after 4 A.M. rolled around: “If money didn’t matter, would you rather get a beach house or a lake house?”
I immediately signed with Team Lake House and assumed everyone else would join me on the roster. This did not happen. When multiple people announced they would go the beach house route, I (always one to crack a perfectly-timed joke to get some laughs) replied, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize my friends took remedial classes.”
Crickets. Literal crickets (we were on a deck next to the woods so the deafening silence actually resulted in audible chirping).
Of the eight people there, five of them were smart and three of them (including Mike) revealed they’re about as useless as a cousin who torpedos a Family Feud team he was only able to join in the first place because seven other relatives said no.
I’m not going to bore you with details about the rest of the night. What I really want to do is use the platform I’ve been given to explain why a lake house is an objectively better getaway spot than any abode in close proximity to a body of saltwater. This is a fairly contrarian take in an America dominated by Beach People, but I’m confident that by the time you finish reading the following list of reasons, I will have claimed yet another in a long line of argumental victories.
1. The House Itself
If you remove everything outside of the home you’re residing in from the equation, a lake house is approximately 10,000 times better than a beach house.
Based on personal experience, beach houses are nicely kept and typically what realtors call “cozy—which your average person would more commonly refer to as “really fucking small.” If you’re renting one that claims it can accommodate more than five people, you do so knowing you’re signing up for a week filled with an underlying sense of claustrophobia and zero privacy whatsoever.
Lake houses, on the other hand, feel like an actual house. This may come down to personal preference, but in my book, the more spacious option always reigns supreme. Unlike a lake house, a beach house requires you to adopt an entirely different mindset, as you can share it with your mild-mannered grandparents and still feel like you’re living in an overcrowded frat. It might be fun in college, but as soon as you get that diploma, you’re over that life real quick.
The only advantage beach houses have over lake houses are outdoor showers. There aren’t many things in life more enjoyable than feeling the sun hit your fat, naked body as you lather yourself in some Irish Spring. However, I’m not choosing a house based on the attractiveness of a feature that I’m not going to be taking advantage of for more than 10 minutes each day.
2. The Surrounding Area
Lakes are typically situated in the middle of nowhere, and when you’re in such a serene location, your biggest worry is really getting murdered in a Friday the 13th-style hacking. It might sound absurd, but I think it’s a legitimate fear. I’m currently writing this in the wee hours of the morning at my friend’s aforementioned lake house. Why? I couldn’t sleep because I am petrified of getting macheted to death.
If you were a murderous psychopath and wanted to go on a killing spree without getting caught, there aren’t many hunting grounds more ideal than a lake. There are no lights, no law enforcement on patrol, and you have an incredibly convenient place to take care of any bodies you may have to dispose of.
So yes, there are potential downsides to the isolation that comes with staying at a lake house, but I’d argue being able to get the fuck away from everyone else on the planet for a bit is the best part of going on vacation (and life in general).
When you spend your vacation at a beach house, you’re still firmly embedded in society. You may triple your chances of being killed by opting for a lake house, and while I would obviously prefer to avoid taking a permanent break from life, getting to leave the real world behind for a bit is probably the biggest reason I find that option so appealing.
Nothing matters at a lake; not your family, not your job, not the economy. Nothing! There’s nothing I love more than putting as much space between myself and other people as possible. You’ll have a hard time doing that at the beach—and in some cases, an even harder time trying to avoid the greased-up torsos of dudes who put on sunscreen even though their body hair would’ve served as a perfectly adequate shield.
3. The Body of Water
The ocean sucks. This is an objective fact. Need proof? The entire reason we’re talking about “beach houses” as opposed to “ocean houses” is because the former was chosen to distract people from the incredibly underwhelming nature of the latter.
A lake house is called a” lake house” because that’s the entire appeal. Do you like discovering there’s sand on your body even though it’s been two weeks since you left the beach? How about getting stung by a jellyfish? Eaten by a shark? If you’re a fan of any of those, you’ll fucking love the ocean.
Oh, what’s that? You’re not a crazy person and would like to avoid all of those things at all costs? Congratulations! You’re a normal human being and the newest member of Team Lake House.
Yes, the ocean has waves, and yes, waves are dope, but the fact that waves are the coolest aspect of going to the beach tells you all you need to know. There’s also the fact that you have to make an active effort to enjoy them, and unfortunately, I don’t have the patience to learn how to surf and bodyboarding gets boring after around three minutes. What else is there to do? Oh, right. You can pull a Shia LaBeouf and spend hours digging a hole for no reason whatsoever that you’re legally obligated to fill when you leave.
Not only can you swim confidently without having to worry about a rip tide suddenly appearing like a Rattata in the tall grass, you can also easily go waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, or (my personal favorite) bring a boat out to the middle of the water, dock it, and throw back some hard seltzies.
I know some of you are thinking “Um, you know you can do all of those things in the ocean, right?” and I applaud you for being as observant as you are. However, the vast majority of beach houses don’t have an easily accessible dock where you can conveniently access your watercraft of choice, and even if you find one that does, the ocean is a decidedly less fun place to take them out on.
Have you ever seen Deadliest Catch? That is some scary shit.
That’s obviously an extreme example, but have you ever seen a wave in a lake bigger than most of the boats on it? No. No, you have not.
4. The Nightlife
The entire point of going on vacation is being able to get back to the house after a long day knowing that almost nothing you accomplished could be described as “productive.” Hell, if you managed to accomplish anything aside from improving your tan, you’re kind of missing the entire point.
It might not be the most important factor but you do need to figure out how to keep yourself entertained when the sun goes down, and as much as I hate myself for admitting this, the beach house wins this one.
I know I said part of the appeal of a lake house is that it allows you to isolate yourself from other people and the real world as a whole but it’s hard to argue playing “Heads Up!” at a kitchen table makes for a more enjoyable evening than going to a bar in a beach town. I mean, I’d be down, but my friends tend to want a little more excitement in their nightlives.
I’d be down to go to a bar, but with that said, I know myself well enough to realize the first thing I’ll want to do when I walk through the door is leave immediately after seeing they charge $14 for a beer I’ll reluctantly buy and nurse for two hours while my buddies enjoy themselves.
So do beach house nights have an objective edge over ones at lake houses? Sure, but that’s still not even close to enough to make up for the rest of their shortcomings.
When you take everything into consideration, the lake house wins, and because that was the side I was arguing for, I also win. Yes, Mike might be making a little more money than me at the moment, but in Hypothetical Land, he still chose to buy a beach house, so ultimately he loses.