Summer is a truly magical time in America, a season where we inhale the beauty of our great outdoors, revel in warm weather, and generally appreciate the fact that we don’t live in Arctic Canada. Not to besmirch the good people of the Northwest Territories, but even summertime there requires the use of a winter coat. Which might be the most Canadian thing I’ve ever heard that doesn’t involve Alex Trebec.
Along with non-Canadian temperatures, summer also brings a certain level of insanity. Don’t believe me? Ask Kool and the Gang, who wrote a song called “Summer Madness,” that had neither the word “summer” or “madness” or any words for that matter. This wasn’t because they realized DJs would have a hard time saying “Winter Trichotillomania.” It’s because they knew summer months make Americans abandon all logic.
The lack of common sense starts before the season does. Technically, summer doesn’t begin until June 21. But somewhere along the line, the American Season Starting Society (Official Motto: Bringing you closer to Christmas, every year!) decided they knew more than the rotational axis of the earth, and proclaimed summer to start on Memorial Day. Because our brains stop working when the sun comes out, we went with it.
We then proceed to begin summer by showing off the beach body we’ve been crafting since, at least, late-April, at a poolside barbecue. Then unconscionably destroy it by eating our body weight in processed meat and drinking enough beer to kill George Wendt.
That, friends, is summer logic.
Summer logic carries on to the Fourth of July, where we honor whoever had to write the entire Declaration of Independence by hand, by finding new and inventive ways of blowing off ours.
Most of the year, toss someone a literal flaming stick of gunpowder, and they’ll report you to Homeland Security. But throw combustible objects into the air within a week of Independence Day? That’s called patriotism! Or, in California, Wildfire Season!
Summer is when we flock to The Great American RV Show, also known as our national parks. Though we have all year to enjoy these testaments to the great outdoors, summer logic dictates wonders like the Redwood Forests are far more majestic when partially blocked by a Winnebago.
According to summer logic, breathtaking views like the ones at Yellowstone and Yosemite must be earned, typically by waiting in a miles-long traffic jam caused by a herd of slow-moving buffalo. “Oh, you saw the Grand Canyon and didn’t spend an hour looking for parking?” taunts summer logic. “Then brother, you really don’t deserve that souvenir snow globe.”
Summer is also music festival season, where making out with strangers who haven’t showered in days seems like a perfectly acceptable thing to do on a Tuesday. Interesting concept, summer music festivals, as otherwise-rational people look at a weekend worth of bands they marginally don’t mind, and say, “$475 seems like a good deal, when else are we gonna see Dokken?”
Summer is an especially maniacal time in the coastal part of the southeast, or as every tropical depression from June-October calls it, “Lunch.” Hurricane season makes paranoid psychotics out of pretty much everyone on the coast, where a rainy day somewhere over the Canary Islands means your local Publix has an apocalypse-level run on cheap vodka and Chef Boyardee.
Tell me there’s a thunderstorm in Guadeloupe any time after September, and I’ll wonder why you’re reading Caribbean weather reports. Tell me during the summer, and I’ll be at Home Depot fighting children for plywood before I’ve figured out how to pronounce Guadeloupe.
Summer has some other interesting quirks. In some areas, living room furniture mysteriously migrates to the front yard, presumably so reruns of Judge Judy can be viewed in their optimal surroundings. In many states, people strap inflatable toys to the back of power boats, tell the driver to “gun it,” and see who can dislocate a shoulder first. And all across America, we pack baseball stadiums and try, between beer sips, to understand what’s going on from the one person in the group who’s actually watching.
No matter our madness, summer in America is still great. Sure, we go a little crazy with all the long days and perpetual sunshine. And maybe our sense of reason goes out the window in the name of warm weather. But it’s still the best season to experience all this country has to offer. Just please try and make it through with all your limbs intact.