COLUMN: My Summer Checklist

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees.


It is common and altogether proper for people to make New Year’s resolutions. January 1st offers new hope and renewal to those who felt the previous year was less than spectacular. As a confirmed contrarian, I do things slightly differently.

For me, a time to introspectively look at my life and make a dedication to change is during the spring; when the flowers bloom, the trees become green again and the temperature rises. I am not the biggest enthusiast of summer; fact is, I do not like to be out in hot weather. Yet, it is this time of year that I find myself reinvigorated

And so, for the reader’s contemplation, or to open myself up for disparaging quips, I offer my list of the top five things I hope to accomplish between now and Labor Day.

1. Lose weight: Ahhh, yes. Everyone’s favorite pledge. This resolution is usually made around the time we wear skimpier clothing. Weight loss is not just for my benefit, but for all those who find men of omnipresent rotundity displeasing to the eyes.

With the Food Nazis currently in control of our country—the Obamas are more likely to take away our Big Macs more than they would our guns—the constant guilt trip to eat better and exercise has never been more prevalent. I walk about four miles every day. That is not enough.

2. Taking North Korea seriously: When incredibly smart people who have much more information than I do tell me North Korea is dangerous, I try very hard to believe them. It is hard for me given that North Korea is little more than a country half a century behind the civilized world.

The complete lack of worldly knowledge just makes me think they are a group of generals and bureaucrats barking, much like one of those small rat-dogs that yelps at bigger dogs, trying to establish legitimacy.

Here is all you need to know about North Korea:

There is a town, right on the DMZ, that the North Koreans built as a resort town. Referred to in the west as Imjingak, this town’s main attraction is an amusement park. The park was built to show South Korea, and by proxy the entire planet, that North Korea is the happiest, hippest place on Earth. Just look at all the smiling people on that ferris wheel!

I need to spend the next few months reading what very smart people write about this allegedly ominous place. Right now, all I see a big dirt hill of cray-cray.

3. Recreational activities: I have now lived in northern Utah for nine years and have never been white water rafting. I have not ventured up to Jackson Hole or Yellowstone. Every summer, I find myself traversing the expansive and beautiful Logan Canyon. I must do more.

Why live here if I am not going to divulge in recreational activities? Spending my summers in front of the TV watching baseball and Big Brother (Don’t judge me!) is fun; but, really, I need to get out and do stuff.

And if I move back to Philadelphia over the summer, well, I will deeply regret something that I should have done all of these years.

4. Be nicer: I have to be honest about this one, I think I am much more nice now than I was when I moved here. The hard-edged “Negadelphian” has succombed, in small increments, to Utah Nice. I smile at strangers when I am on my walks. I try to correct myself when my language is coarse or otherwise brusk. And when I see someone walking on USU’s campus with a BYU shirt, I no longer wish for them to suffer from a hideously painful affliction. I have turned into a kinder, gentler Harry.

Those who speak to me on a daily basis might suggest to you that I am not in anyway nicer. Those morons can go….errr, wait. What I mean to say is that I respectfully disagree.

Utah can do that to you…make the surly subdued. Many Utah lifers have listed the basic kindness and decency as a key asset to the standard of living here. I want to disagree with that assertion, but to do so would be rude.

See! It’s working!

5. Ignore politics: Before Boston, the bickering and name-calling regarding gun control was corrosive to the point of nauseating. No one in this country can discuss politics or legislation without demonizing those that disagree with them. This is especially disheartening to me given that I understand both sides of not only the argument over guns, but other current hot button issues such as immigration reform.

I have bemoaned the death of political pragmatism more than once in this column. And I still plan to address political issues on the occasional Thursday. But as a personal choice, the news can go on without me.

As I get older, summer becomes less enticing to me. I have major decisions to make regarding the direction of my life that need to be addressed before footballs start flying through the air again come September.

Spring is a time to start again. Summer is the promise that all things that grow can flourish. We are all young again under the bright yellow sun. See you at the beach!


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