Tag Archives: summer

# Throwback Thursday: I Hate Summer Passionately

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This was originally posted on July 10, 2010 and, for the record, I haven’t changed my mind in the slightest.

I don’t know how long it’s been since I mentioned this fact, but I hate summer with all my heart. I realize that’s strange coming as it does from a good Southern boy, but I have two perfectly excellent reasons for despising this godawful season that everyone else apparently loves so dearly.

First of all, I am not a small man — not by a long shot. To be quite honest, I’m fat, large, obese, and several other words of varying denotation and connotation all pointing to the fact that I was born 10 pounds and 5 ounces and I haven’t missed a meal since.

Summertime was not meant for fat people. We sweat. Now some of you more proper individuals may “perspire” and some ladies may even develop a “delicate sheen.” Well, honey, I sweat buckets and right now, I’ve got the Zambezi River flowing from my hairline down my back to eventually puddle in and around my nether regions. That’s with the A/C “givin’ ye all she can Cap’n”. Any more strain on the venerable Trane and the dilithium crystals will probably blow and we’ll have to eject the warp core. If I go outside for long in this 100+ heat, you could render lard off my backside.

I hate to sweat. The only time I’ve ever CHOSEN to sweat is when I wrestled four years in high school. Then, sweating seemed to serve a purpose. Any other time, it just makes me miserable. Fat people were built for Arctic conditions. If you don’t believe me, when’s the last time you saw a skinny Inuit? (Nota Bene: “Eskimo” is a derogatory term, which I didn’t know until an exceptionally large Inuit man told me) Inuits live in the Arctic. Ever seen a svelte whale? Know why? It’s freaking cold in the ocean depths where they swim! Nature has selected against fat mixing with heat. Fat goes with cold; skinny goes with heat.

My second reason to despise summer is I am known in some circles as “The Man The Sun Forgot.” I don’t want to say I’m pale or anything, but people afflicted with albinism stand next to me to feel good about their tan. The few times I’ve gone cave exploring, my glowing body was the third emergency light source. Folks are always asking me why don’t I take off my shirt when I’m outside. The simple answer is the last time I removed my shirt outside on a bright sunny day, I got a call from Houston Space Center asking me to please cover myself because I was blinding the crew of the International Space Station and they couldn’t conduct their experiments.

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I am WHITE and I am FAT. I went to the beach several years and many, many pants sizes ago and, even then, when I took off my shirt just for kicks, a big guy in a frock coat appeared out of nowhere and started chasing me down the beach waving a harpoon and screaming, “I’ve found ye at last! Thar she blows! A hump like a snow hill!” If that wooden leg hadn’t slowed him down enough for the beach patrol to grab him I hate to think what might have happened.

Now I realize many of my gentle readers have a simple solution to my lack of melanin; just lay out in the Sun a little and tan, right? Um, did you even read the first section about heat? An ex of mine once asked me to lay out in the sun with her. I told her if she wanted to break up with me, just say so. Even if I didn’t mind roasting myself like a suckling pig with pineapple rings and a Granny Smith in my mouth, there’s the little matter of blistering sunburn. During my childhood and well into my teens, the strongest SPF sunscreen was 15. I would get COOKED right through 15. It was like slathering butter on roasting corn ears.

Luckily for me, times have changed and sunscreen is now stronger. Still, if I want a decent chance at remaining non-boiled-lobster color, I have to wear Bullfrog 55 SPF and, no lie, I get pinkish through that after a couple of hours. Oh, and when I do burn, it doesn’t turn tan. Nope, most people are burn, tan, burn, tan darker. I am burn, peel, burn worse, get sun poisoning, peel some more, risk drowning in an oatmeal bath.

I’ve got a ton of sunburn stories, but I’ll tell one and let it go at that. When I was six, we had the first above ground pool I’d ever seen. Of course, Daddy didn’t bother to hook up the filter, so we had to drain it once a month to get the slime molds out of the bottom and refill it . . . but I digress. Two friends and I happily splashed around in said pool from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. I hadn’t put ANY sunscreen on, but that was okay because I had my FAVORITE shirt of the moment on just like Mama had told me to do. (Well, she did tell me to wear a shirt.)jersey

This shirt was a real, live reproduction Clemson football JERSEY. Now for those who don’t know, this was 1977 and football jerseys back in the day had a “mesh pattern” which basically means I was in the Sun on one of the brightest days of the year wearing no sunscreen and a shirt complete with HOLES all in it! Now, I have a genius IQ, but as one of my best friends used to point out, I lack the common sense to get out of a shower of rain. I figured since I wore it like a shirt, it WAS a shirt, and it would keep me safe from the ravages of the sun.

It didn’t.

When Mama came home from shopping, she called us in the house (trailer, whatever). She took one look at me and burst into tears. I couldn’t see my back so I had no idea what was wrong. This was one time ignorance was not bliss. I had developed a water blister through each one of the hundreds of holes in the shirt. The shirt was literally fastened to my back and shoulders by water blisters poking through the holes. I went and stood in the shower under straight cold well water for thirty minutes trying to get the blisters to go down.

They didn’t.

Mama finally had to take the shirt off me. Just so you know, ANYTIME your mother tells you beforehand, “Baby, I’m so sorry, but this is really going to hurt,” you can bet your britches it is REALLY GOING TO HURT. Well, with water still pouring on me, Mama took hold of the hem of that jersey and snatched it straight up over my head in one classic “skin-a-cat” motion . . . and every one of those blisters ripped open and yellowish blister fluid started running down my back. If you’re wondering, yes, I cried. I cried like a baby. My back looked like steak tartare for a week. THAT, gentle readers, is just one of the many reasons why I despise summer, why I don’t go outside if at all possible from June to September, AND why I NEVER get into a pool unless it is DARK O’CLOCK!

Keep cool and wash those feet!

Love y’all!

Modern Day Mos Eisley

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The crew I used to run with in high school. This is us the morning we left for Senior Week.

The crew I used to run with in high school the morning after graduation just before we left for Senior Week.

The debauchery goes by many names: First Week, Sun Fun Week, Beach Week, or just Senior Week. I’m referring to the two-week period in late May to early June when hordes of hormone fueled recently graduated teenagers descend upon the strip of sand and water known in the Chamber of Commerce literature of Horry County as “The Grand Strand.”

Beach Week has been a tradition around the south for as long as anyone I know can remember. Daddy told me several stories about his teenage trips to the beach in the Wonder Years of the 1960s. Mama and her best friend, Carolyn used to ride down in CP’s 1965 Mustang convertible just to watch the boys go by.

That was a different time though. If you want a documentary of that particular era in the life of the Grand Strand, find a copy of the movie Shag and take notes. It’s a superb movie and from all I can gather from my older friends and family who knew the beach “back when,” it’s pretty accurate.

By the late ’80s though, action on The Strip was a little different. The bikinis covered much less, the kids had much worse manners, and no one had a clue how to dance correctly. Beach Week had evolved into a secular version of Carnaval. Looking around on the main drag, one can almost hear Obi-Wan informing young Luke Skywalker, “Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” Just like Luke, none of us listened anyway.

We left for the beach the day after graduation, 3 June 1989. Robby and I were riding together. His graduation present from his dad and stepmom was a snow-white ’89 Chevrolet Beretta sport coupe. To this day, I have never seen a whiter white on a car. It was a glorious piece of Detroit steel. Of course, we weren’t driving it. Robby’s dad, Bobby, forbade Robby to take this beautiful French vanilla wonder down to the coast. Bobby had been to Senior Week in his day plus he knew the two of us extremely well. For example, my driving reputation was so horrible, Robby (and a lot of my friends now that I think of it) couldn’t ride with me if I was driving the car. Basically, he didn’t want the Beretta totaled before it needed an oil change.

So we took the four banger doo-doo brown Subaru. At least it had a sunroof.

If I’d known how much my life was going to change on this trip, I’d have paid more attention to the details. Unfortunately, we never see the good times when we are in the midst of them. It’s only looking back when we can say, “It never got better than that” or “I wish I’d have know x so I could have done y.” For instance, I had no way of knowing that long bumper to bumper ride to the beach would be one of the last times I would ride with Robby, my best friend since second grade. Our paths were starting to diverge; I just didn’t know it.

We stayed at The Rainbow Court Motel. It was a “second street” accommodation meaning we had to walk across the main road and past the beachfront hotels to get to the sand. I knew a lot of girls who stayed in the beach front five-star palaces like The Yachtsman, but their parents were paying for their trips. Community Cash overtime stocking and bagging was paying for mine. Gas and everything cost me less than $200 for a week. Of course, eight of us were staying together (at least that’s what we told the manager — it was really more like 24) so someone was making a mint.

The first night we were there, one of the sophomores from our school who’d tagged along with another group from my class went nuts. He was a serious stoner even at 16, but he had broken the ONE rule, nay COMMANDMENT we had laid down — you can do all the drugs you want, but BUY THEM AT HOME! Any fool knows to never buy baggies from a stranger, ESPECIALLY AT THE FREAKING BEACH. Seriously, people from all over Hell and half of Georgia are milling around the beach during the first weeks and they love to screw over dumb, gullible teenagers. This kid couldn’t pass up a deal though. Unfortunately, his “bargain” turned into much more than he bargained for. Whatever jerk he bought his dime bag from had laced the pot with angel dust — PCP, and my friends, PCP is a bad day in powder form. This kid absolutely flipped out. He was hallucinating and screaming about glowing purple spiders and running around like a madman — buck naked, of course — and at the beach, attracting attention like that is a BIG no-no.

Myrtle Beach Police Department contracts with every surrounding department to get enough extra help for the two-week tsunami of teenagers. The contract police are tired and cranky and let me say, those boys don’t play. Back then a public disturbance charge — and running around in your birthday suit definitely fit the criteria for “disturbing” — would get you a $238 fine, but even worse, since most of us weren’t 18 yet, we couldn’t pay our own bail which meant a call to the parents to come get you. I’d heard horror stories about guys whose moms and dads had to come get them from the beachfront hoosegow. Getting in trouble anytime is bad; getting in trouble when your parents have to drive five or six hours to come get you is a whole other level of trouble. I know if I’d gotten arrested, which I almost did (more on that later), I’d have just ridden home on the roof rack or in the trunk. No way would I have sat next to Mama (or Daddy either) for the long road back.

Anyway, this kid is going crazy so we had to get him inside and shut up before the heat came down on all of us. It didn’t help matters that someone had come up with the brilliant idea to go get his sister AND his girlfriend who pitched right in to help by going all hysterical and weepy just as soon as they saw him. Wonderful.

We lured him inside with promises of showers to drown the glowing purple spiders. Getting him to calm down proved a bit more problematic. This dude was about 5’9″ and 115. It took EIGHT of us to get him under control and the eight of us were all wrestlers or football linemen. We were not small guys. Once we got him sort of wedged in to a couch so we could handle him better we took turns holding him down for the four hours it took the stuff to get through his system. Looking back, we probably should have dragged his naked butt to the hospital, but that would have raised many, many questions we had no good answers to, so we did the best we could.

That was just the first day. It didn’t get any better for me.

I’ll tell you some more later on. For now, know that I love y’all and keep those feet clean.

Of Birds, Bees, and Frogs

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Amsterdam, Paris, Vegas . . . they got nothing on the Country Walk Lane Froggy Bordello.

I am a pimp. Not in the “how I dress flamboyantly” sense of the word (but with all my purple, who knows?), but in the “male who handles prostitutes” term. I am running a brothel for frogs. My backyard and pool have become a red-light district for amphibians.

Even as I am typing this, outside my living room window, the sounds of illicit frog romance is filling the night. If I were to gently pad to the back door, ease out onto my deck, pick up my spotlight, then flip it on and point the beam at the pool’s surface, I would witness a veritable tsunami as forty or fifty froggy “johns” dive into the green water to escape the penetrating light of “the authorities.”

I did not intend to be the owner of such a den of amphibian iniquity and vice. Unfortunately, I failed to buy a cover for my above ground pool and its new liner at the end of the last swimming season. I wasn’t overly worried about debris because I don’t have many trees in the back and none of them overhang the pool. All winter, the pool weathered the weather like a champ. Once or twice I took some GI Joes I found in the front yard (courtesy of the hellions next door) and sent them ice skating on the coldest days. (Okay, I’m from a small town in the sticks, it doesn’t take much to entertain me)

Another satisfied customer waiting for the party to crank back up.

Then came the spring. As the weather warmed, the pool greened. Since my deck doesn’t circumnavigate the pool, I cannot clean it with the vacuum until the water warms enough to get in it. Unfortunately, it’s plenty warm enough for the diatoms, euglenas, and algaes long before I feel comfortable subjecting my mammalian nether regions to the water. As a result, I don’t have a pool so much as I have a wonderfully symmetrical pond — probably for the next month or so. Then the fun part starts.

Not only do I have to get the pool chemically balanced, vacuumed, and cleaned out, but I also have to find a way to clean up the Times Square of the anura order. Maybe I can get Rudy Gulliani to come down and “clean up” around here?

Anyway, if you know how to encourage these wonderfully cacaphonic bufoae and anurae to look for love in some other places, please let me know! Otherwise, I’m afraid that the chlorine from the pool cleaning in a few weeks is going to cause a massive infanticide among the nascent tadpole population. Ah, such is life. The parents do all the loose living and the children bear the brunt of the punishment.

Circle of life, indeed!

Love y’all and keep those feet clean!

On Outdoor Nuptuals

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Yesterday, my exquisitely multi-talented wife reached back for one of her former professions and created two beautiful bouquets for one of her fellow teachers who was getting married. Budge attended the wedding; I did not. I have told Budge — and anyone else who would listen — that it was all I could do to endure my OWN wedding, 35 minute marathon that it was, much less sit through someone else’s ceremony. Don’t misunderstand me, my wife planned a gorgeous wedding for us in a very short time on a even shorter budget, but the fact remains that am not a wedding fan. Of course, that is one of the few areas I am like many other males. I’m not certain I’ve ever heard anyone in possession of  an unsullied Y-chromosome say, “Oh wow! My buddy Glenlivet is getting married!! I’m not in it, but PLEASE let’s go!!”

That is not to say we of The Brotherhood of Men will not, on occasion, be dragged kicking and screaming from our spot on the sofa in front of The Game to be shoehorned into our most uncomfortable set of clothes, forcibly shod with shoes designed as medieval torture devices first and footwear second, then marched, nearly at bayonet point, to some relative or friend’s wedding.

But we don’t have to like it!

Yesterday, though, I was excused from the ceremony. I will say, however, that for someone having an outside wedding as this couple was, yesterday’s weather was hard to beat. The sky was a radiant azure with nary a cloud to mar the canvas of heaven and the temperature was quite mild, even if the ladies were obliged to leave off the shawls originally planned for the occasion. It was verily the perfect day for an intimate backyard hitching up.

This meteorological perfection stands in rank contrast to the only OTHER outdoor wedding I attended, and that against my will. That marriage ceremony, early in Budge and mine’s own tenure of wedded bliss, provided the single, solitary time in — to date — fourteen years of marriage when the two of us very nearly had “words.” It is also the only one of a veritable plethora of  incidents of my being an ass for which I have steadfastly refused to apologize ONLY because I STILL maintain that I was in the right.

Allow me to present my case and ye may judge.

First of all, I barely knew the bride as one of Budge’s college classmates and I had nary a clue as to the groom’s identity. Next, the wedding was scheduled for 3:00 PM on a Saturday. The hours of 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturdays have been marked out on my calendar as dedicated time for studying the backs of my eyelids for structural imperfections at least since I was in college. I was being dragged to a wedding when I was supposed to be sleeping.

Then was the matter of the time of YEAR for this debacle. Yesterday’s wedding was in the relatively mild weather of an Upstate October. The wedding to which I refer was in AUGUST. For those of you who may live in other parts of the world than the Blessed Land of Dixie, allow me to explain — AUGUST in South Carolina has two temperatures: blast furnace and Hellish. Sane people do not leave the safety of air conditioned houses in “The Burning Month” except to go to an air conditioned car and drive to another air conditioned location.

Which brings me to my next point. This wedding was not only outside on an August afternoon that would have melted car tires on green grass, it was in the middle of a church lawn. NO SHADE. NONE. NOUGHT. NADA. NO TREES. Not even a canopy. The heat was only broken by the breeze generated when one of the BLACK TUXEDO clad groomsmen fell out from sunstroke and made the air move by his descent. Finally, the wedding lasted nearly AN HOUR and these people were NOT Catholic. No Mass or other sermon was involved.

So, allow me to sum up. For over an hour, I was standing in slip-on toe-pincers with WOOL socks under a pair of navy pants topped by a royal blue polo in the middle of a forty acre pasture on the hottest day since the Earth cooled from it’s fiery formation watching someone I didn’t particularly know or like get married. For those who don’t know, I am NOT a small man. I am large. I am fat, nay I AM OBESE! Fat men were never meant to endure those types of conditions. Within five minutes of leaving the comfort of the car’s excellent A/C, I had an Amazon Rivulet of perspiration running from my bald spot, through my hair, down my back, cascading in a cataract of sweat around my nether regions thence to trickle down into my toe-pincers and form two puddles of lukewarm misery.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I was HOT as the HINGES of HADES and my body was literally rendering into lard as I stood there watching this slip of a girl in her WHITE, SLEEVELESS, BACKLESS wedding dress get married.

Then we had the reception, which, thanks be to God the Father of All Things, was indoors. Of course, the A/C was having all it could do to pull down the temperature from somewhere near boiling since, as I think I’ve mentioned before, it was the HOTTEST FRICKING DAY OF THE YEAR and 400+ people were packed into the space somewhat smaller than the Apollo command capsule. Didn’t matter to me, though. A stroll through the depths of Mauna Kea in Hawaii at full eruption would have been cooler than outside.

It was at that point that the final straw was applied to this dromedary’s spine. A caterer waitress set a plate of GRILLED EGGPLANT down in front of me. Turns out the bride was a VEGAN.

I am not a vegan.

I was hot, I was hungry, and I had missed my nap. This was not going to end well.

It was at that point that I looked — just looked — at my lovely wife and something on my face made her run to the ladies’ room, friends in tow, to cry about how mean I was and folks, at that point and for the only time in our marriage, I really DIDN’T CARE!!

We laugh about that day now, as much for the reactions of our friends who were with us as anything else, BUT that also remains the LAST outdoor wedding I ever went to with Budge.

Now, as you go to wash your feet I ask you, “WAS I WRONG OR NOT!!!???”

Love y’all!

I Hate Summer Passionately

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I Hate Summer!!

I don’t know how long it’s been since I mentioned this fact, but I hate summer with all my heart; I have two perfectly excellent reasons for despising this godawful season that everyone else apparently loves so dearly.

First of all, I am not a small man — not by a long shot. To be quite honest, I’m fat, large, obese, and several other words of varying denotation and connotation all pointing to the fact that I was born 10 pounds and 5 ounces and I haven’t looked backed or missed a meal since.

Summertime was not meant for fat people. We sweat. Now some of  you more proper individuals may “perspire” and some ladies may even develop a “delicate sheen.” Well, honey, I sweat buckets and right now, I’ve got the Zambezi River flowing from my hairline down my back to eventually puddle in and around my nether regions. That’s with the A/C “givin’ ye all she can Cap’n”. Any more strain on the venerable Trane and the dilithium crystals will probably blow and we’ll have to eject the warp core. If I go outside for long in this 100+ heat, you could render lard off my backside.

I hate to sweat. The only time I’ve ever CHOSEN to sweat is when I wrestled four years in high school. Then, sweating seemed to serve a purpose. Any other time, it just makes me miserable. Fat people were built for Arctic conditions. If you don’t believe me, when’s the last time you saw a skinny Inuit? (Nota Bene: Eskimo is a derogatory term, which I didn’t know until an exceptionally large Inuit man told me) Inuits live in the Arctic. Ever seen a svelte whale? Know why? It’s freaking cold in the ocean depths where they swim! Nature has selected against fat mixing with heat. Fat goes with cold; skinny goes with heat.

My second reason to despise summer is I am known as “The Man The Sun Forgot.” I don’t want to say I’m pale or anything, but people afflicted with albinism stand next to me to feel good about their tan. The few times I’ve gone cave exploring, my glowing body was the third emergency light source. Folks are always asking me why don’t I take off my shirt when I’m outside. The simple answer is when I did that last summer, I got a call from Houston Space Center asking me to please cover myself because I was blinding the crew of the International Space Station and they couldn’t conduct their experiments.

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I am WHITE and I am FAT. I went to the beach several years and pants sizes ago and when I took off my shirt just for kicks, a big guy in a frock coat started chasing me down the beach waving a harpoon and screaming, “I’ve found ye at last! Thar she blows! A hump like a snow hill!” If the beach patrol hadn’t grabbed him I hate to think what might have happened.

So, lay out a little and tan, right? Um, did you even read the first section about heat? An ex of mine once asked me to lay out in the sun with her. I told her if she wanted to break up with me, just say so. Even if I didn’t mind roasting myself like a suckling pig with pineapple rings and a Macintosh in my mouth, there’s the little matter of blistering sunburn.  When I was a child and into my early teens, the strongest SPF sunscreen was 15. I would get COOKED right through 15. If I want a decent chance at remaining non-boiled-lobster color, I have to wear Bullfrog 55 SPF and, no lie, I get pinkish through that after a couple of hours. Oh, and when I do burn, it doesn’t turn tan. Nope, most people are burn, tan, burn, tan darker. I am burn, peel, burn worse, get sun poisoning, peel some more, risk drowning in an oatmeal bath.

I’ve got a ton of sunburn stories, but I’ll tell one and let it go at that. When I was six, we had the first above ground pool I’d ever seen. Of course, Daddy didn’t bother to hook up the filter, so we had to drain it once a month to get the slime molds out of the bottom and refill it . . . but I digress. Two friend of mine and I happily splashed around in said pool from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. I hadn’t put ANY sunscreen on, but that was okay because I had my FAVORITE shirt of the moment on just like Mama had told me to do. (Well, she did tell me to wear a shirt.)

This shirt was a real, live reproduction football JERSEY complete with HOLES all in it! Now, I have a genius IQ, but as one of my best friends used to point out, I lack the common sense to get out of a shower of rain. I figured that moving around would cover my whole body with the fabric at some point in time and it would keep me safe from the ravages of the sun.

It didn’t.

When Mama came home from shopping, she called us in the house (trailer, whatever). She took one look at me and burst into tears. I couldn’t see my back so I had no idea what was wrong. This was one time ignorance was not bliss. I had developed a water blister through each one of the hundreds of holes in the shirt. The shirt was literally fastened to my back and shoulders by water blisters poking through the holes. I went and stood in the shower under straight cold water for thirty minutes trying to get the blisters to go down.

They didn’t. Mama finally had to take off that shirt and every one of those blisters broke open. If you’re wondering, yes, I cried. I cried like a baby. My back looked like steak tartare.

And THAT, gentle readers, is why I don’t go outside OR get into a pool unless it is DARK O’CLOCK!

Keep cool and wash those feet!

Love y’all! 🙂