Claire’s Summer-Activity Related Enjoyment Tips™ for 2008

You know how it is. You’re out in the sunshine, perhaps hiking through a patch of uncharted wilderness, when suddenly you’re attacked by the dreaded Chupacabra. As the bit of fiendish cryptozoologica attempts to devour you messily, you pause to reflect, “Why didn’t I follow Claire’s Summer-Activity Related Enjoyment Tips™?” This really ticks off the Chupacabra, as it does not appreciate your lack of attention to matters at hand. Disgusted with your lack of professionalism, the beastie spits out your arm and walks away muttering about “amateurs,” which frees you up to change your pants and head home, where you can read this. Win-win!


1) Why not start a garden? It’s never too late to start growing your own fruits, veggies and flowers, and with rising gas prices leading to almost-certain apocalyptic destruction of society as we know it, today’s the day to get out there and till up the soil, buster – you’ll need the food you’re planting now to stave off scurvy and rickets during the long nuclear winter ahead! Just remember to put up fencing to keep out rabbits, deer, and the walking dead.

2) Sunscreen is your friend. Mary Schmich’s burglarized essay and its myriad bastard offspring aside, it really is a good idea to wear sunscreen, kids. I was planning to expound on the information provided in the American Dermatological Association’s pamphlet, but instead I’ll just say “Who wants to look like this?”

3) It’s summertime. Take the day off, you apple polisher. Seriously, dude. Remember when you were a kid, and summer was a joyful swath of time, ripe with endless possibilities to do it all (or nothing at all)? The US is one of the only countries in the industrialized world without any form of mandatory vacation laws, despite being one of the most productive. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – work to live, not live to work, friends. Even if it’s a staycation, take the time to savor the sun, your family, your local park, or just kick back and reinforce that zombie-proof fence around your garden.

4) Keep reading! Make sure your kids read, too. When I was a kid, every summer brought with it not only the enjoyment of sun, swimming and potentially carcinogenic foodstuffs charred beyond recognition; it also meant hopping on my bike and pedaling over to the Miami County Public Library, where I would eagerly sign up for the Summer Reading Program and then read my way to a free Personal Pan Pizza from Greasy Gut. Not only did this help me realize that I’m not a fan of ridiculously greasy, napkin-soaking pizza, it helped me keep my intellect and imagination honed to a razor-sharp edge. Trust me when I say reading is fundamental – pry that Wii-mote from junior’s hand and drop a little Robert Heinlein or Beverly Cleary wisdom!

5) Move it, buster. Depending on where you live, Summer is either the hotter version of the weather you have all year or your one chance to see the sun before retreating from the snows and direwolves of Winter, Near-Winter, and Just Kidding, It’s Still Winter. So take the time to get out there and soak up the sun (not in the Sheryl Crow way, as this apparently transforms you into a tanned mannequin and gives you unholy lust for Tour-de-France champions). If you’re more of a homebody, you can still get a workout…go stimulate the economy and buy a Wii Fit, or do what I do and DDR until you’re so sweaty you’re afraid you’ve ruptured something important. Now that Australia has claimed Fatso Prime status, we owe it to ourselves to avoid retaking the crown!

Bonus Tip: If attacked by the Chupacabra, why not try whacking it with a rock or stick, or perhaps kicking in “way down low where the sun don’t shine?”

Alternatively, you can simply read excerpts from my blog until it is lulled into a deep, if troubled, sleep and then flee! FLEE!


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