Young Star

120 days of summer

SENSES WORKING OVERTIME - Luis Katigbak - The Philippine Star

Four months can be life-changing, and, if you are at all inclined to daydream, you are probably swooning at the possibilities.
Summer has arrived, heralded by the preposterous heat and the sight of my female co-workers (and Jerome) in shorts. For us in the office, life proceeds pretty much as before — since we work on a magazine, we’re already thinking two or three or four months ahead — but for those of you reading this for whom summer actually means a break from the endless toil of existence, let me just say that, first of all, I envy you. Second, I recommend that you go to YouTube, look up the awesome jam that is Summertime is Great by Three Beat Slide, and watch it until the tears spring unbidden from your eyes.

For some of you, summer this year has the potential to be even more glorious than before — thanks to the shift to the international academic calendar adopted by the universities, school for you resumes in August. In other words, vacation times two: 120 days of summer! What could one do in four free months?

Four months can be life-changing, and, if you are at all inclined to daydream, you are probably swooning at the possibilities. You could attempt to learn how to play an instrument. Attempt to write a song. Attempt to make a film. Attempt driving. Or put them all together like Three Beat Slide did, and create something that people will ridicule you about for many a summer to come.

Myself, I would have just spent twice as many hours asleep. But that’s me; I find something I’m really good at and stick to it. Your inclinations may be different. You might want to read all the Sherlock Holmes books (recommended). You might want to start studying a martial art (recommended). You might want to dress up like a bat and fight crime (recommended).

One thing’s for sure: you have more options than someone living in 1974, which not only was pre-Internet, it was pretty much pre-videogames and pre-home videos as well. (Those things existed in some form, but were not widespread. I know, I know: “What is a home video?” Never mind.) Pretty much all you could do for amusement was maybe bang some rocks together or spray-paint a leaf. If you don’t believe me, check out The Summer Book by Elizabeth Gundrey (“Things to do on summer days,” the cover adds helpfully).

Published in 1974, The Summer Book details things like how to make a picture from feathers; decorating, sculpting, and varnishing pebbles; and the many things you can make from one lemon (from invisible ink to ice cream... actually that sounds kind of awesome). There are two separate sections on fir cones, one on identification and one on things you can make from them (like a small cabin!). There is a section on “Making friends with insects,” which, sadly, has no instructions for how to command great swarms of them to skeletonize your enemies. There is a section called “Love a duck.” Yes. There is a section called, as if in admission of its own inability to spark interest, “Just grass,” which is just about... grass.

Whatever you do, enjoy being young, free, and relatively unburdened in the early 21st century, and draw both solace and regret from the fact that these days will never, ever, come around again.












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