Move Along, Summer
Okay teachers, I’m crawling across the mat with every last bit of effort trying to reach you so I can tag out. I just can’t anymore. You’ve got to take them back.
I know what I said in May, all right. So don’t be that guy. You know, the one who crouches over the poor bastard who broke his leg in a skiing accident, who’s suffering from hypothermia, and says, “I thought you loved winter?” We all hate that guy.
I do love summer. I love how alive and bright it is. I love that I could go outside naked if there weren’t laws against that and I didn’t have such deep-seated body issues. I love how I can feel warm to my core without having to hide in the bathtub for hours, cursing the Earth for tilting away from the Sun. I love that there is nothing looming over me or my kids. There are no tests to study for or projects to work on or books that have to get read. It is okay to simply exist for a while.
You know, in theory. In reality, honestly, it’s mostly freaking noisy.
I tried to have a plan this summer to keep the wretched creatures, I mean, darling angels engaged. I wanted a structure on which to hang lasting summer memories. For each of the twelve weeks of summer, I chose a book for us to read (or one we’ve already read) and came up with ideas for crafts, foods, photo booth props, and a field trip. It was all very exciting.
Our first book was Awkward, a graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova about art versus science and how they can come together to form a gestalt. Our craft was drawing comic strips. Our food was a barbecue because one was mentioned in the story. Our photo booth props were large black square outlines meant to look like the outline of a comic.
Our field trip was to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, a science museum that happened to be hosting The Science Behind Pixar exhibit, which was about how science is an integral part of the art of computer animation. I mean, hello. You guys, I NAILED week one.
Week two was Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. And that’s where it turned to shit. Yes, I said week two. First of all, though, if you haven’t actually read Alice in Wonderland, and have only watched the movies, or read it when you were a kid, I’m telling you, revisit that book. There is a reason people keep going back to that story. As visually compelling as it is, the words are even more captivating.
The week started off well. We did a picnic at my local thinking spot while I read the story to my kids. Even my youngest recognized that it was a treasurable moment. The weather was perfect, the view was sweeping, the story was interesting and funny, and we got to eat cookies.
The next time I went to read to them, though, in our house, while folding laundry, they just weren’t into it. If I had to pinpoint an explanation as to why we all gave up on Camp Shuker it would be because it felt like more school work and we all really needed a break.
Even fun things take effort and we just wanted to lay around and drool for a while.
So we did.
Then Pokémon Go happened. My youngest, Charlie, has been obsessed with Pokémon for years. And he’s only seven. That an app came out that would allow him to catch Pokémon after dreaming of doing just that for as long as he could remember is proof to me that magic exists. So out in the world we went. And went and went and went.
That’s when I had the brilliant idea to backdoor Camp Shuker. I picked a book based on what we were doing, rather than the other way around. I even got the audiobook so I wouldn’t have to do any work.
The book was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton. It is about a guy trying to win an immersive, virtual reality video game. He spends all his time playing the game only to realize that real life is where the living happens. That’s right, I kind of Inceptioned their asses. I mean, it didn’t work. They’re all currently glued to their electronics as I write this. But, still. They got the message. Probably.
We’re ready to get back to work is what I’m saying. We had a break. We lived it up as sloths. Now when we cruise by the school supply section at Target I’m not the only one who lingers. Last time, Charlie asked for a flash drive. “What do you need a flash drive for?” I asked. *sigh* “My data,” he said.
Teachers, I implore you. My seven year old has some data. I need you to help him with that. I'm done.
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I like to throw things.