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Summing up Summer with Thumbs

It's summer, and that's a good thing. But summer's still here, and that seems to be a bad thing. It happens every summer, the constant inner struggle over whether or not I'm enjoying it. On the one hand, I can finally relax, relieved of the pressures of school and work. On the other, relaxing just isn't all it's hyped up to be, especially after two-plus months of it. Why can I not be content just to do nothing? By the same token, why is there seemingly nothing to do? If I break things down, perhaps I can gain a better understanding of why summer is so perplexing (and on top of that, you can kill a few minutes). So instead of twiddling my thumbs today, I have decided to point them, specifically up and down.

Thumbs up to the off button on the alarm clock: The ability to sleep a solid 10 or 11 hours, wake up on your own terms, and eat breakfast/lunch in front of the TV is a powerful thing. And the 11:00 am Sportscenter is undoubtedly one of the greatest innovations of our time. At 10:59, when Dan Patrick says, "Stay tuned for another edition of Sportscenter next," I silently tell him, "Thanks man. You know, I really just couldn't make it up for one of the first 5 episodes, so for you to run the show a sixth consecutive time, well, that means a lot." By contrast, watching even a live edition of Maury Povich just sucks.

Thumbs up to baseball: Baseball may not be the most thrilling thing in the world, and it may be a little too corrupt for some. But at 3:24 in the afternoon, that moment in the day when you suddenly go from relaxed to bored, there's nothing better to see on TV than some LIVE baseball. And seriously, Sportscenter would really be boring without it.

Thumbs down to strike talk: I love baseball, so I can't sound tough and give the "If there's a strike, I'm done with baseball" speech. But seriously, if they strike 13 or 14 more times...

Thumbs down to soap operas: A no-brainer here. Is it just me, or do these shows have the most depressing music playing in the backgrounds. I worry my day will be ruined if I watch one for more than five seconds. I kid you not.

Thumbs up to video games: Again, this is effectively a no-brainer. But nothing breaks me out of the summer doldrums quicker than starting up a new season on Baseball Simulator for Super Nintendo. Nothing.

Thumbs up to going out of town (me only): Vacations give you the best of both worlds in summer. I see it this way: there's nothing I HAVE to do, but I have stuff to do at my disposal. The world is my oyster, or something like that.

Thumbs down to going out of town (anyone else): Now things really get boring. Collective, group boredom always beats individual, isolated boredom.

Thumbs down to work: It just seems wrong. It's the one thing I HAVE to do this summer, and I don't like it. I don't like it one bit.

Thumbs up to lifting weights: This one may not apply to everyone, most notably those who do not actually lift weights. But for me, it gives me something to do, PLUS I get the feeling I'm being productive. This begs the question, however, "Why do I want to be productive during the summer?" A true paradox.

Thumbs up to playing golf: Unfortunately, paying for golf gets the emphatic "two thumbs down."

Thumbs up to fantasy baseball: It always helps when you're team is hotter than my steering wheel after an hour in the sun. We've had more streaks than Wimbledon. I mean, seriously, the last time my team lost, people were actually watching the Weakest Link. And we must be butter (because we're on a roll).

Thumbs sideways to those weird sports on ESPN, ESPN2, FoxSS, etc: I love World's Strongest Man. I can deal with sumo wrestling. I like rugby and Aussie-rules football. I'm amused by dog jumping and I can go for log rolling. But if I see one more episode of Blue Torch TV, I'm going to have some issues. And then there's fishing, shooting, and pretty much everything else in the Great Outdoor Games. And Pro Beach Hockey...

Thumbs down to Big League Challenge reruns: What exactly is ESPN thinking when they air this crap 6 months after it happened? "Hey, we could put on ESPNews or something this afternoon, but why don't we just run this low-budget homerun derby thing instead. I mean, it's played in a minor-league ballpark, none of the players care, and it happened during the offseason. And best of all, we have Gary Thorne and Jeff Bagwell announcing!" (Gary Thorne should ONLY work with Bill Clement. I canít stress this enough.)

Thumbs sideways to the end of summer: There always comes that point with about a week left where I decide I'm ready for it to be over. But then there comes that point two days after I'm back in school that I'm ready for summer again. Noobie.

Thumbs up to ending this article: Because I don't seem to be reaching a conclusion. Plus, it's summer. I'm sure you have better things to do.

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