Fact-checking my family’s recent trip to the beach:

“As promised, we got off to an early start, hopped in the car and headed out right after breakfast.”

Our analysis: We did head out after breakfast, but we had gotten in a little late the night before and decided to leave all our packing to the morning, so breakfast wasn’t until 10:30, and really, it was only a handful of Cheerios that we grabbed as we were running out the door because we were so late.

We rate this statement Half True.

“It only took three hours to get to the beach because you can’t get lost on the way since it’s such an easy route and you don’t even need the GPS.”

Our analysis: We needed the GPS. We got off the highway too soon (the signs are confusing, and should be written in much larger letters, and in English, and have longer explanations), had to drive through the city (and hit every light on the way), then get back on the highway.

But we got back on the highway past the point where we should have gotten off the highway, thus not noticing the correct exit from the highway that would have actually taken us directly to the beach.

We then had to drive through four small towns, none of them with bathrooms, then over two railroad crossings, take a ferry and zig-zag across three counties before we got back to where we should have been. While we did, finally, have to use the GPS to find our way out of a tobacco field, once we saw the beach and the ocean, we felt confident enough to shut it off.

We rate this statement Mostly True.

“When we finally reached the beach, we had everything we needed.”

Our analysis: This would have been completely true if beach towels were somehow determined, on judicial review, not to be one of those things that we needed. Lower-court rulings, though, have unanimously endorsed the need for beach towels if you intend to lie down on the sand.

We rate this statement Mostly False.

“Before going out onto the beach, we made sure to copiously apply sun block — minimum SPF of 50, or the centigrade equivalent — all over any exposed parts of our bodies.”

Our analysis: Some members of the family, eager to finally step onto the sand and wade into the water, made perfunctory attempts at slathering a little sun block on their arms, mainly because their parents were watching.

Other family members did do their arms and faces, but paid little attention to their backs because it’s really difficult to reach those areas unless you’re double-jointed.

Still other family members forgot to do their legs because, you know, legs are much lower down and thus further from the sun and not really in danger.

We rate this statement Pants on Fire. Also, backs on fire and legs on fire.

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