There’s a real nice tune by The Doors called “Summer’s Almost Gone,” a song that mourns the ephemeral nature of summer and recalls various joys experienced in its warm golden suns.

It’s a beautiful piece with a nifty Latino-Bolero sound and a Bach-like bridge. It’s a late-summer anthem of sorts.

And if I hear its sad notes any time after the Fourth of July, I will will hurl my phone, car stereo or boom box into the nearest lake to avoid hearing more of it.

In April, May or June, songs about summer are just awesome. After the the Fourth, they are but grim reminders of what is being lost and what will soon be upon us. I won’t have it, mister! Not in this house!

Sorry for that outburst. The Fourth to me is when warm, mindless hedonism ends and cold dark panic begins, like the fist of a corpse around the heart.

You see fireworks, I see snow shovels.


You see burgers on the grill and beer in the cooler, I see hulking snowbanks and an inch of ice on the windshield.

You say summer is half full, I say it’s half empty. Get away from me with that sparkler, boy, and let me cry in peace.

By Independence Day, I’ve already turned lugubrious and there’s no talking me down from that ledge. It started on the solstice, when the official beginning of summer forced me to begin pondering its end.

On the day of the solstice, you can hide under your bed all day long and you’ll STILL encounter some fiend who has to utter: “You know, the days are getting shorter now …” And then you have to immediately go inside the house and drink all of that special wine your wife was saving for a baby shower or some wretched thing.

Again, I apologize. This is the very reason, you know, that I don’t get invited to many Fourth of July celebrations. The sense of doom hangs on me like a stink, and who wants that around his potato salad and pigs in a blanket?

GRACIOUS HOST IN RED, WHITE AND BLUE APRON AND ONE OF THOSE COOL HATS FROM WHICH YOU CAN DRINK TWO BEERS AT ONCE: “Whoo! This is the life! Good friends, good food and summer is just getting started!”


ME AND MY DOOM STINK: “Halloween decorations are already up in some stores and kids go back to school in just a month.”

GRACIOUS HOST SLURPING FROM BEER HAT: “Well sure, but we still have the rest of July and all of. …”

ME: “Farmer’s Almanac says the coming winter will be twice as bad as the last one. Better buy an extra cord of wood.”

GRACIOUS HOST: “OK, but that’s still a long ways. …”

ME: “You should probably start thinking about your Christmas shopping, too. Just five months away, you know.”

GRACIOUS HOST: (Can’t talk. Busy strangling me with his apron and does something unspeakable with a lawn dart.)


I’ve tried to change, I really have. I’ve tried to embrace the Fourth of July like the rest of you yahoos. I’ve blown things up with firecrackers, stepped on white-hot sparklers and moaned, “Ahhhhhhh …” right on cue when fireworks exploded in the sky.

Nothing. Summer’s almost gone. I’d put on a beer hat like my goofy friend, but until they make one that holds at least 60 brews at once, it’s not going to help. Once the bleak mathematics of summer is in your head, all the snow cones in the world won’t make it go away.

55 days until the school buses are rolling again.

79 days until autumn.

119 days until Halloween.

Doesn’t that make you want to invite me to your Fourth of July barbecue/badminton tournament/intervention for Uncle Rodney? On this great day of the year on which we celebrate our glorious beginnings, I’m the ultimate wet blanket. Ants at your picnic. A firecracker with a dud wick.

Or something. I don’t know. It’s hard to think, and even harder to see down here under the bed where my wife keeps her good wine.

Have a terrific holiday, my half-full friends. Enjoy the fireworks, fill your bellies and don’t blow your last remaining thumb off with a cherry bomb. Celebrate as loud and proud as you can, my chums, for tomorrow will be winter and that ice ain’t gonna scrape itself off your windshield.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer who will turn your jolly ditty into a dirge. Email him at

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