Summertime Tidbits #3

by Chris McGinty of

I hear a lot about the era of no
child made to feel bad, but I’m not sure to what extent that goes. Is there
still such thing as summer school? I know that I spent much of my end of the
school year time fearing that I would have to go to summer school so I wouldn’t
be held back a year. It’s a no win situation. You either lose your summer, or
you spend a whole extra year in school. There was no way of just sort of
catching up the next year.

As I alluded to in a previous post, I didn’t graduate high school. I would have if I could have home schooled
early and often. Once I started home schooling, I actually happily spent a
number of my summer days doing school work. I did so much better learning on my
own. My problem was ultimately that there were lost transcripts, and so I ended
up taking a couple of classes twice, and couldn’t get it counted as credit when
the transcripts were finally found a couple of years later.
One of the odd things about being
young is your lack of perspective on how far things are away. This happened
twice for me, both times involving my friend Adam. Adam lived on the other side
of town from me, but it was really about a twenty minute bike ride. During the
summer I only saw him when we arranged to sleep over, because I had the
mistaken belief that going to his place involved a car ride. Years later, I was
married, a new father, and had a car; and Adam lived two hours from me, since
I’d moved away. I realize now that it wasn’t really that far to drive. At the
time, it felt like I could only really go visit Adam once every month or so.
Nathan said something similar in this post.
Nathan talked about “Midnight
Madness” in that post and I have a story about that movie. I told Nathan about
it on one of the videos we did at the start of the summer, but I don’t think
it’s up yet. I had a friend, JJ, who lived two houses down and we both really
like that movie. It’s just this odd comedy that might not impress today’s
audience, but at the age I first saw it, it really captured my imagination in a
good way. I think it captured JJ’s attention too, because of his reaction to
the birthday clue hunt that we convinced my mom, with the help of JJ’s mom, to
do for my birthday.
In the movie, the characters are
given clues that take them around the city, and they get into all kinds of wild
adventures. For my birthday party, we got clues that took us all around the
neighbourhood. They did two different clue hunts, one for the kids my age, and
one for the teenagers, like JJ’s brother. The teenagers had to go all the way
up to the high school to find one of the clues, which put them at a
disadvantage to winning. Ours was maybe over a little too quickly, and JJ later
told me that he was expecting so much more out of it. He thought that it might
actually involve our moms driving us places, but I think the problem
logistically with that is that there were a lot of kids whose parents expected
them to be somewhere near my house.
There are a couple of cover songs
that I’m going to throw into the mix here, because they’re covers that I’m very
familiar with, as opposed to just finding covers. With the Summertime Funtime
music, I wanted to showcase songs that actually came to mind easily for me or
Nathan. I didn’t want to go find a bunch of stuff that I don’t have a
connection to. This first one is a two-parter of sorts, but the second part
plays into the summer theme.

Type O Negative – Summer Breeze/Set
Me on Fire
JJ and I also got the idea one
week to use my dad’s lawnmower and go mow some lawns. I wish that I could say
that this was a tale of kids showing great initiative and saving up large
amounts of money, but it’s really not. We found one woman who said she would
pay us to mow her lawn. She was willing to pay us $10, which was actually really
good for 1985, and JJ and I split it. I did the front yard. He did the
The first problem with this is
that we got shot down at the next couple of houses, and we decided to do some
more prospecting the following weekend after we mowed her lawn again, as we
were supposed to do it once a week for the summer.
The second problem was that JJ
didn’t feel like doing it the next weekend, and he convinced me that we should
do it the next week. In my mind, she wouldn’t be upset, because grass doesn’t
grow that much in a week.
The third problem was that the
next weekend my mom wanted to go to the mall in Modesto, which had better
stores than the mall in Merced. You see, the mall in Merced only had one level,
where the mall in Modesto was more like the mall in “Stranger Things 3.” Oops,
sorry Nathan, you haven’t gotten that far yet. I told my mom I needed to go mow
the woman’s lawn first, but she told me I’d have to do it another time. And JJ
had already expressed that he was no longer interested, so I couldn’t get him
to do it.
Finally, I showed up three
weekends after she had first hired us, and she informed me that she had someone
else to mow her lawn. I tried to explain what had happened, but she said, “I’m
sorry. I have someone else to mow now.”
I was making a compilation CD
back in 2005, the summer that Miguel and Nathan were happily married (not to
each other, I should have use an Oxford comma, or something) and I was
miserably getting divorced again. I stayed over at my friend Matt’s for a
weekend just to have someplace to stay that wasn’t my soon to be former home.
He allowed me to make a couple of CDs on his computer, and I made one called
“Killing Time Perpetually.” The loose theme that each song needed was that it
had to be about killing, some sort time frame, or eternity (e.g. VNV Nation
“Perpetual,” “to stand as never ending light” The Killers “Somebody Told Me,”
“that I had in February of last year”). The quintessential song for this
compilation was “Hotel California” by The Eagles. “They stab it with their
steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast,” “we haven’t had that spirit
here since 1969,” and “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never
Speaking of 1969.
Bryan Adams – Summer of ‘69
“That’s not a cover, Chris.” “Sorry, forgot my own theme.”
I also wanted “The Boys of Summer”
on the compilation, but I decided to go with The Ataris version, because I
liked it and wanted to become more familiar with it.
The Ataris – Boys of Summer
At that time, I was hanging out
with a guy from work who was about twelve years younger than me who was
introducing me to the new metal of the 2000s. He loaned me some music and I
loaned him some music. Spotify and YouTube on your smartphone wasn’t so much a
thing then, so we loaned each other CDs. I know, archaic. In the early phase of
loaning CDs loaned him “Astronaut” by Duran Duran, “Disintegration” by The
Cure, and the “Killing Time Perpetually” compilation. He was largely
underwhelmed by most of it, but he was particularly disturbed by the fact that
I followed The Ataris with “Hotel California.” I had to explain to him that the
original “Boys of Summer” was sung by the same guy who sang “Hotel California.”
By the way, it’s actually an interesting coincidence that of all the Duran
Duran CDs I could have loaned him, I loaned him one that would be referenced in
another Summertime Funtime post. The album was less than a year old at the
time, so it makes sense that I was listening to it a lot, but what are the
Chris McGinty is a blogger who
writes for the According To Whim blog. The blog is going well, but really the
best days of the blog were back in the summer of ’69. That may be a Type O.

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