My cure for summertime blues
I’m back! I ended that brief sentence with an exclamation point because I’m excited to be writing again. For the overwhelming majority of you who hadn’t noticed, I have not written anything new all summer. For the two readers who inquired about my absence, thanks for you concern and I’ll pay you as soon as I get paid for this!
The summer of 2016 has been eventful for the whole world, so I won’t bore you with the details of my own tumultuous dog days…but I will summarize it briefly because I’m self absorbed like that. Since spring I’ve experienced the birth of a new loved one and the death of another, extensive international and domestic travel, marital discord and a nasty paper cut on my thumb. I signed a large mortgage but somehow ended up semi-homeless, had another spectacular crash on my mountain bike and got a really bad haircut. It’s been a wild ride!
All of that said, my summer has been an ice cream sundae when compared to what the rest of the world has been up to. As I look back over the events of this summer, it’s like watching the trailer for a Pee Wee Herman movie. For those of you who have never seen a Pee Wee Herman movie (congratulations on your good taste), imagine a Donald Trump campaign event with clowns and jugglers….OK, more clowns and jugglers.
We live in interesting times for sure, times rich for a humor columnist. We’ve got real life Bond movie villains running Russia and North Korea flexing muscles and blowing stuff up. There are maniacal despots perpetrating dirty deeds in Iran and Turkey and a tribunal of foreign judges ruling over America’s Got Talent. If it wasn’t all so terrifying it would be comical.
The Rio Olympics provided high level athletic competition, drama and buffoonery this summer. Great athletes thrilled us in the pool, in the gym and on the track, while the whole world was caught up in the drama of guessing just how long the Romanian table tennis player could stare at the ball before serving. The gold medal for buffoonery went to NBC for their coverage of the Ryan Lochte’s antics; Lochte himself got the silver for his spoiled entitled buffoonery but it was even more ridiculous that NBC thought we cared.
The Republican National Convention spent days reminding us that we could all see the world has gone to hell in a handcart. They had bloated has-been politicians, minority blowhard politicians, clergymen, old women, young women, retired generals and even the candidate’s wife (who looks and sounds like Natasha Nogoodnik from the old Bullwinkle cartoons) all telling us we are surely doomed.
They detailed how we live in an economically weak, militarily depleted country that has been overrun by criminals, immigrants and terrorists who don’t believe in truth, justice and the American way. Oh…and they chanted…chanting is always a sign of political stability. Thankfully they offered us a billionaire super hero troll doll who assured us that he and only he could save us. Whew! That’s a relief!
Then the Democrats held their convention and paraded out their own bloated has-been politicians, minority blowhard politicians, clergymen, old women, young women, retired generals and even the candidate’s comical spouse to tell things weren’t so bad. They offered us a candidate (who looks and dresses alarming like Kim Jung-Un) who seemed to promise that not to make things too much worse. That’s comforting.
A second string quarterback decided that to sit during the national anthem after his girlfriend told him that there was injustice in the world. I completely understand how he feels…I remember being a twenty-something who thought other people cared what I thought. The ignorance of youth mixed with romance and privilege can paint a ridiculous picture, the guy might as well cover himself in silly tattoos…never mind.
For the record I survived my summertime blues and so will the world. I have been reading Carl Sandburg’s biography of Abraham Lincoln and, believe me, these aren’t the best or the worst of times and this is nowhere near the most critical election in American history. They were dealing with a few issues back then as well.
As the days get shorter and the nights cooler the world will keep spinning and people will continue doing whacky stuff. The difference is I’ll be here to keep you posted on it all because I’ve stopped taking myself too seriously. Humanity should rarely be taken seriously.
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.