Don’t you hate it when you go to the beach and the sand is so blisteringly hot it feels as though you’re walking on glowing coals?

You go hopping along like a drunken shaman, trying to minimize the pain to your tootsies as you weave among the blankets, beer coolers and lawn chairs. You’d like to maintain your manly image, but all of your macho flies away like a gull as you prance mincingly along the sand whimpering “Oooh! Ooh, ooh!” with each step.

The cooling relief of the water seems 5 miles away. The only possible way to end the agony is to hop like a stork to the nearest beach towel and leap upon it, which unfortunately will cause you to kick a can of beer onto the girlfriend of the champion cage fighter who currently inhabits that particular towel.

At least your feet will feel better after he body slams you into the ocean.

And mowing the lawn, don’t you just hate doing it in the sweltering heat? Just getting the mower started will cause you to sweat profusely and your shirt will stick to your back like some unholy slime. What are you going to do, though, peel your shirt off and reveal to the neighbors that you sold the Bowflex over the winter and took up online gaming instead of working out? Look at those love handles, bruh! You look like the Pillsbury doughboy, only whiter.

And the cloying stench of gas and motor oil. And bugs sticking to your sweaty forehead. And that god-awful grinding crunch as you run over the dog leash, mangling it utterly and annihilating your mower blades.

Where IS the dog, now that I think of it?

And camping. Don’t even get me started on camping. The weather is always delightful as you make the drive to the faux forest at your local Kampgrounds Of America (it’s like real camping, except that it’s next to a shopping mall) but the very moment you spread out your tent and prepare to erect it, here comes the wind and rain. And not just ordinary rain, it’s a biblical downpour!

That bundle of firewood you bought for five bucks is soaked in an instant. The fire pit is suddenly a mini swimming pool full of ashy water. Those burgers and hot dogs you had such a hankering for are floating around in the cooler and they’re probably going to go bad unless you can figure out how to cook them on your engine block.

You somehow managed to lose one of your tent poles and your wife won’t stop harping on it. The tarp you tried hanging above your campsite (it looked so easy in the YouTube video!) came untethered and flew away like a giant blue bat. You brought that Coleman lantern but completely forgot (your wife is going to have a field day with this one) to pick up one of the propane canisters that fuels it.

The family one campsite over has a baby who cries constantly, possibly because the poor tyke is afraid of the giant blue bat. The group on the other side is composed of a bunch of drunken rowdies who clearly intend to sing Lynyrd Skynyrd at the top of their lungs all night — ooh, ooh that smell, am I right?

Not that you’d be any better off at home where the hot, humid air will turn your sheets into slimy eel skins clinging to your baking hot flesh.

And bugs. Dear God, the bugs. Black flies, mosquitoes, wasps, spiders and crazy varieties of multi-legged creatures that creep and crawl and try to sting you at every turn.

There’s road construction on every block. There’s sunburn, and allergies, and crazy demands that you wear long pants and shoes when its 95 degrees and you just want to prance around naked until fall.

These are all things that I may have complained about before, but which I will never complain about again. Not after this winter. Not after so much cold and so many blizzards that it feels like you might as well just go ahead and marry your snow-blower, you spend so much time together.

Nosiree, Bob. I will sleep in a submerged tent filled with spiders, fire ants, a ton of hot sand and a running lawnmower and as long as winter is behind me, I will give nothing but thanks.

If summer will give me just one more chance, I promise to make it right. I’ll atone for my ungratefulness and enjoy every second of the season, creepy bugs and all.

Assuming that it’s not still snowing in July, that is.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. Snow-lovers — and Lynard Skynard fans — can scold him at [email protected]


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