'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
WHATíS THE BUZZ? SUMMER SOLSTICE IS HERE!
Finally, summer is here! This year the summer solstice occurs on Monday, June 21st, at exactly 7:28 a.m., eastern time (6:28 central time, with a repeat broadcast at midnight on cable channel 97).
To keep a Dunn family tradition going, Iíll ask the question: ďWhatís the longest day of the year?Ē And when you reply, ďThe first day of summer, June 21st!Ē Iíll say with a smirk, ďNope, every day is the same, 24 hours long.Ē
I learned that one from my father when I was about six years old. He learned it from his father, who presumably learned it from his father, going all the way back to the first prehistoric kilt-clad Dunn in western Ireland, who got a kick out of fooling the other villagers with astrological witticisms. We Dunns feel itís our duty to provide the world with a steady supply of corny jokes and puns. (We also invented this one: ďPull my finger.Ē)
Summer is so much better than winter. For example, I rarely get frostbite in summer. My car rarely slides sideways out-of-control down East Main Street in summer. My windshield wipers hardly ever get clogged with ice chunks in summer, making it impossible to see clearly.
Summer has a bunch of other good stuff that winter doesnít have: baseball games, fading sunlight that hangs on till almost 9 p.m., and a furnace in the basement that does not need to run constantly just to maintain a chilly 65 degrees in my house, which somehow produces a temperature on the surface of the bathroom floor tiles of exactly 4 below zero. Itís a wonder I ever make it to work at all in the winter, what with the Frozen Floor of Death waiting for me in the bathroom at 5:30 a.m. each morning.
But there is one thing about summer that really bites (literally), and really sucks (again, literally). Iím talking about those blood-sucking creatures who revel in the warmth of summer: vampires. No wait, Iím sorry. I got confused with the current craze sweeping the publishing and movie industries. I mean those OTHER creatures who revel in the warmth of summer: insects.
Unfortunately, the arrival of summer means it is once again time for the annual losing battle of trying to keep my personal living space free from all those creeping, crawling, buzzing, and biting things. I donít think Iím being unreasonable. After all, my home takes up a rather small volume of space compared to the vast expanses of Litchfield County. And the interior of my car has a tiny amount of space in the grand scheme of things. Is it too much to ask the citizens of Insectdom to make their homes somewhere else?
But no, they will not listen to reason. They insist on making an unprovoked invasion of my sovereign territory. The ants wander around my kitchen uninvited; the mosquitoes sneak in when the screen door opens; the flies are downright rude; and every spider in North American, it seems, goes on summer vacation inside my basement and garage. And those stupid wasps slip into the back seat of my car and wait until Iím fighting rush hour traffic on I-84 before announcing their presence. If you see a red Saab swerving uncontrollably at 60 mph, thatís just me frantically flailing with my hands while steering with my knees.
I was thinking about going outside at exactly 7:28 this Monday morning to greet the official summer solstice. But Iíll watch it thru the picture window from inside the house, because thatís the time of day the gnats like to swarm around my head.
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