Wednesday, August 14, 2013

sorry, i hate august

 Hello Friends,

I really need some help, because I hate August so, so bad. I think it's the worst month of the year. I can't help it. Everybody is always talking about how bad January or February are, but August is way worse. August is the month that dares not speak its name. August is the Whore of Babylon. August is the apocalypse.

I really want to be professor positive and enjoy every month, but I don't know how to love August. It wants to be loved, but I don't have the capacity to give that love. It holds its arms out open to me, but I can only recoil in horror. Why can't August be more like October, I think. Or June? Why can I not find anything virtuous or of good report about August? All I can think about are August's failures and deficiencies.

I cannot recommend August for the following reasons:

1. It's so hot. Interminably hot. Remember back in late May when we were all so excited for summer? Swimming outside, BBQ's, counting the stars on the front porch? Well, none of that sounds like any fun now. Swimming outside = sunburns. My BBQ has a hornets nest inside of it. And I have three words for sitting out on the evening porch: WEST NILE VIRUS. Summer, you have worn out your welcome. We hate you and we hate your hot sun. And Fall isn't for another two months! Now we just sit inside and watch TV in the air conditioning, and all that is on TV during the day are Diagnosis Murder reruns and Little House on the Prairie. Mary Ingalls drops her glasses into a field of dead hay and starts a brush fire; I know exactly how she feels!

2. I'm tired of my lawn. It looks great, yes, and I've worked hard on it. But I have to keep mowing it! Nobody told me I would have to mow it so much. I trim it down and then two hours later it's ready to be cut again; all those little blades of grass breezing back and forth, mocking me like so many middle fingers. And there are patches of it that randomly decided to die. I fixed all my sprinklers and I fertilized, but it doesn't care. It's willy-nilly, my lawn. So there is a big yellow swath in my back yard and I'm starting to care less. It's sort of my parenting style: if my kids do stupid things I ignore them and they eventually stop. I'm doing that with my lawn. If I blind myself to dead patches I assume they will get the hint and grow green again. I do not respond to cries for attention. Especially in August.

3. No major holidays! What kind of a month gives you nothing to truss your house up for? August is dead set on giving you nothing to look forward to. And it's not like anything is really in the pipeline; my favorite holiday, Halloween, is weeks away. I can't even start thinking about Halloween because I'm too busy swatting flies.

4. Back to School. My little brother Andrew used to get really upset when K-Mart school supply commercials started coming on in late July. Can you blame him? August is about school, and not the fun part. It's about sitting in hot classes wearing uncomfortable, new shirts. As a professor I loathe the first few days of class as much as my students do. Oh, if only everyone could feel what it's like to walk into a classroom full of 19-25 year olds who don't want to be there. They put their heads on the desk from day one and it takes me until late September, at the earliest, to wake them up. The only person I know who is excited for school to start is Margaret, who is excited to learn about "science and a cat who dances and does tricks."

5. Loss, and regrets. August is a reminder that nothing you planned to do this summer panned out. Remember how you were going to hike Timp? Too late now, you lazy bum. 'Member how you were going to exercise everyday and lose all that weight? Try again next year, fatty! How about that water rafting vacation? No, you were too busy mowing your lawn three times per week. Maybe next year! (unless there's a drought. Or a nuclear war.) August is a simple, gentle reminder that even though you didn't fail to plan, you still failed.

I guess what I'm driving at is that this is a miserable time of year. Even Martha Stewart hates it. You can tell. I saw her magazine recently in a waiting room. Typically, you can count on Martha to find the joy in every month. This month, Martha writes about mussels and clams. Even the pictures look gross and boring. You can just hear her going "Ah, screw it! I hate August. Somebody dig out that old article about the clams."

Dear readers: I need your help. Inspire me. Give me a reason to love August. I need something. I'm barely holding on. And don't say I should love August because it's your birthday; that doesn't help. Happy Birthday to you, and I'm so sorry. I need supportable, solid reasons to enjoy the next three weeks. Any ideas will help.
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