The Last Joys of Summer

Summer is soon arriving. The season brings out plenty of anticipated memories involving the sun, sandy beaches, and three full months before the kids go back to school so you have to make them do yard work to settle them down or at least send them to their grandmothers so you can get some peace and quiet for once in your life, or, more than likely, they will end up a the mall hanging out in front of the Sam Goody’s menacing the help and making the mall walkers touch their wallets out of a subconscious sense of ageism. Viva summer!

Of course, many people have plenty of plans for their summer. I am not one of those individuals. I tend to dislike the summer for no better reason than I’m lazy, and the summer is just one big guilt trip mother nature has bestowed upon this earth that is both constant and relentless.

Summer is a season for outdoor activities such as softball, an organized activity I despise with a passion unparalleled. If it’s your thing, no problem, but I hate playing it and I’m not so keen on watching it. Suffice it to say my hand-eye coordination is not something that would make the Marines quiver with envy, and watching me run is much like watching a eighteen-wheeler chug up a hill from a dead stop being pulled by out-of-shape pack animals that have to stop every twenty feet to catch their breath. The only advantage I would bring to a softball game would be the lack of energy by the other team from doubling over in laugher too hard, an advantage that would quickly disappear since my own team would be doing the same. And I just can’t bring myself to watch a game unless something or someone made it interesting, such as accepting money line bets at the concession stand.

I do golf, however. More accurately, I used to golf. I was never particularly good and usually an embarrassment to anyone I was with. Then things such as time, work, money, education, and a subscription to Atlantic Monthly interfered with my golfing schedule and as such I haven’t touched a course for years. I hit golf balls in my yard, at least, although my participation has decreased ever since I hit the leg of a plastic table and shattered it not unlike the Death Star destruction scene in Star Wars, causing the entire table and its contents of Fiestaware and candle holders to crash brilliantly on the cement. I found this to be charmingly amusing until I realized how much the table retails for at Lowe’s.

I do love playing petanque, a rather pussyish lawn game. It is very similar to bocce, although, unlike bocce, you do not have to be Italian or 120 years old to play. The object, to throw balls at a target, is exactly the kind of combination of simplicity and mindless activity to keep yourself busy so you don’t have to make conversation with your mother-in-law at the family picnic. It is played with heavy steel balls that will easily harm animals such as dogs that tend to run after anything that is thrown. Not that this has ever happened when I have played, of course. Ahem.

Many people go camping during the summer, another activity I fail to see the desire to do. I’m certain there’s a remarkable amount of relaxation and solace found in removing yourself from all cell phones, televisions, and other distractions, although to be fair the Detroit Red Wings made sure there were a lot less of that in my life anyway. But while I’m actually kind of sympathetic with spending time in nature, all of the hassle involved fending off ticks, sealing food to ward off errant bears, and the propensity of all U.S. Park Service Employees to look at me and assume that I am a courier for various plants and chemicals just don’t make it worth the trouble.

I’m also not a big fan of beaches. Mostly this is because I don’t particularly want to spend all day laying around doing nothing. OK, it’s a fair cop, that’s pretty much what I enjoy doing every single day of my life. I just don’t see the appeal of doing that outside in the blistering sun. I don’t tan well, I hate beach volleyball (though love watching it, pending the youth, gender, and size of the bathing suits involved) and I hate smelling like greasy fake coconuts all day long. Though the one activity plenty of people do on the beach—the notorious “summer reading”—at least has some appeal. Although the books involved usually involved espionage or murder, often having titles such as “Deadly Murder,” “Deadly Line of Sight,” “Trendy City Confidential,” “The Hunt For An Escaped Nazi And/Or Former KGB Agent,” “More Tom Clancy Military Vehicle Auto-Fellation,” “John Grisham Really Just Isn’t Trying Anymore. I Mean, Seriously,” “That Dream Guy You Just Married Is Actually Kind Of An Asshole,” and “I Highly Doubt This Is Proust.”

So this summer, go out and have fun doing whatever it is that normal people do in the summer. I’ll be here, waiting patiently for the fall, when I can go to the mall to get Dippin’ Dots with minimal interference from the local hooligans. Or at least redirect their efforts on the nearest game of bocce.

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