A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Now that summer’s practically over, I can safely say I was never a big fan. I don’t mean this summer in particular. All things considered, it was pretty good. I’m talking about summers in general: that interminable time between frivolous spring and serious autumn. To me, summers have always been a kind of hurry-up-and-wait clock watcher, full of relentless heat and go out and play. Translation: it’s too stinkin’ hot to do anything except get skin cancer, so let’s pretend we’re having fun until it cools off and we can do something interesting. It’s no coincidence that half the season is called “dog days.” Here are the six and a half reasons why I hate summer.
1 – Everybody complains about the heat. For ten months of the year people pray, sacrifice small animals and practically sell their soul on eBay for summer to arrive. Then,the minute it gets here they spend the next two months bitchin’ about how hot it is. Folks; believe me, nobody needs to know where the water is collecting in your underwear – or why.
2 – Nobody wears enough clothes. There is a small, select group of people in this world who look good semi-naked. The rest of us need to be a whole lot more judicious about what we choose not to wear. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if it looks like your ass is eating your swimming costume, you need to do that in the privacy of your own home, not at the mall. Men, just because you can take your shirt off it doesn’t mean you should. Women, if most of you is overflowing your wardrobe, you need a bigger size. Remember: just because it zips doesn’t mean it fits.
3 – Barbeques. Humans have spent the last 50,000 years in a steady evolutionary path away from their half-animal ancestors who huddled under trees for shelter. So what’s the first thing we do when the weather turns warm? Run outside and cook dinner over an open fire. I don’t care what anybody says barbeques are all about swishing the flies off bad cuts of meat which are then placed in a crematorium until everybody’s too drunk to give a damn what they’re eating.
4 – Loud music. It’s summer. The surface temperature of any given street is measured in solar units. As a small protection against heat stroke and eventual death, people have their windows open – day and night. Suddenly, every moron with a stereo cranks that baby up to DefCon 4. SUVs with blacked-out windows cruise the night, sounding like Heart/Lung machines, the seventeen-year-old white kid two blocks over thinks he’s Lil Wayne’s nephew and granny in the fourplex just loves Shania Twain. This is what the CIA does to Al Qaeda prisoners to make them talk. It’s like spending your vacation at Gitmo.
5 – Traffic. Every year, one minute after they throw the checkered flag at the Indy 500, it’s ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. For the next two months, half the population takes to the open road — except there is no open road because half the population’s on it. Between vacationing commuters who haven’t driven an automobile since this time last year and the Department of Holidays (Highways?) tearing up every inch of asphalt with a curb on it, nobody is going anywhere without pushing their stress level to apoplectic shock. Just getting to 7/11 for a slurpee is a twelve obscenity job – and that’s if you’re walking.
6 – Idiot Weathermen. The fact is there are only so many ways anybody can say, “It’s going to be so-o-o hot tomorrow you’re going to want to kill yourself.” Therefore, every summer, television stations give their weather people idiot jobs to do. They run the contests, interview the lemonade stand kids and give out the birthday greeting to folks like Mabel Hawthorne who’s ninety-one years young. Eventually, they show up at the State Fair, where they eat Deep-Fried Mars Bars and make absolute fools of themselves screaming on the Tilt-a-Whirl. There’s got to be a better way to make a living.
6.5 – Useless baseball games. Major league baseball plays something like 60 million games a year, and between Independence Day and Labor Day most of them are meaningless. How many times can Toronto play Seattle for God’ sake? It’s the only real sport in the summer. The least they could do is make some of it interesting.
Back in the day, when we toiled for our daily bread, we needed summer, if for no other reason than to remind us that Mother Nature still loved her children. However, in our contemporary concrete canyon existence, summer isn’t a season anymore; it’s a travesty. It turns us into half-naked savages, grunting around a backyard barbeque, screaming at the kids to turn that damn music down, while simultaneously picking portions of our apparel out of our crevices and wishing it would rain. God, I’m glad it’s nearly over.