The (Couch) Boys Of Summer
Today marks the official beginning of summer --the solstice occurs at 1806 UTC. When I was growing up, this was always one of my favorite days of the year; I lived for summer. I grew up on a farm, so I'd be outside as much as I could -- exploring the pasture, diving into the swimming holes, doing chores -- and I knew I'd never give up my love of summer and the outdoors.
Fast forward 30 years or so. Now summer means that the house will always be too warm and sticky, and it's often too hot to open the windows at night, so that means a higher electrical bill to keep the A/C running. I like fall a lot better; the new TV shows are on, there's football to watch, and I can sleep comfortably at night.
So what happened to the boy to make him such a curmudgeony middle-age man? I'm not sure; I always used to wonder why my parents didn't want to spend all their time in the water when we were at the beach -- now my kids have a hard time getting me into the pool at all. Living here in Idaho, it seems like just about everyone loves camping, or hunting, or biking, or skiiing, or some other outdoor activity. Not me -- I figured out one day that I'd probably charge $500/day for someone to make me go camping in the mountains. Skiing? $60/hour, including transportation time there and back. That's not to mean I haven't done outdoors stuff as an adult -- I took my kids camping in order to let them decide for themselves if they liked it or not. Now that I've done that, I figure I shouldn't have to do anything that I find unenjoyable if I don't have to.
There was an article in the paper today about how this generation of kids could become the first "indoors generation". I can see their point -- there are a lot more inside entertainment options than there were even 20 years ago. (Speaking of indoors entertainment -- and completely off-topic -- I got a Super Mario 64 cartridge for my old N64 system for Father's Day. My youngest son already beat the game, but I'm plodding along more slowly; it's been several years since I too beat Bowser. For those who forgot just how revolutionary and good that game was, check out this video of a guy who beat the game in 80 minutes when you have the time.)
So is it bad for people to spend most of their time indoors? Almost certainly. Do I plan on changing my ways? Almost certainly not. I like who I am, and when people make snide comments about how sedentary people have lots of health concerns, I'll smugly think about how I never missed a day of work because of ailments like "road rash". This is one of those things where I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about the importance of getting outside and having fun -- I'm just saying I don't plan on doing it myself. There's an old BNL song, "Pinch Me", that has a verse that pretty much describes my perfect summer afternoon:
It's the perfect time of day(Before you say anything, yes I know the song is making fun of this lifestyle choice. I don't care.)
To throw all your cares away
Put the sprinkler on the lawn
And run through with my gym shorts on.
Take a drink right from the hose
And change into some drier clothes
Climb the stairs up to my room
Sleep away the afternoon.
"But, Bubblehead," you might say, "what about impressionable children who might be reading your blog and might want to emulate you." To those children, I say this: get outside and pull some weeds and rocks out of your Mom's garden -- you'll be glad you did. Wake me up when you're done, and we'll watch some TV.