It would be almost despicably predictable of me to spin some tenuously-constructed web around the topic of summertime. Indeed, this would be tantamount to trivializing the import of my noble position, spitting in the face of its unique capacity to reach a multitude of readers and ideally establish some sort of dialogue (barring some middle-aged Tea Partier getting his knickers in a bind over one of my political rants, I have yet to receive a really juicy piece of hate mail, and it’s rather disappointing).

Surely I’m bound to some assurance of originality and quality of thought, or at the very least the avoidance of descension into outright tomfoolery. After all, I’m fairly certain I wrote about summer’s approach around this time last year, and yeah it’s kinda what’s going on, but shouldn’t I still do the dignified thing and come up with something new?

As far as the question of dignity goes, I lost mine the time I injected myself with a near-lethal dose of heroin, poured kerosene in a circle around the room and proceeded to have ferocious unprotected sex with my diseased, gimp-legged pet polar bear named Snotty McGirdletush (after the infamous Squirrel in the Switchbox, who apparently lived to fry another day, by the by). Anyhow, chances are that  the fact of this article coming out on Thursday of finals week will cut my readership by a hefty portion. Somehow I doubt an audience comprised almost exclusively of my mother and my cat is going to fault me for lack of blazing insight. (See what I did there? Because she’s fundamentally biased and he’s too preoccupied with gagging on assorted ladybug carcasses and anyway, animals can’t read but wouldn’t that be silly? Oh lordy me.)

If this is starting to seem like an excessively self-referential potpourri of run-on sentences and parenthetical indulgence, that’s because I’m somewhat on the fence over whether or not to continue writing next year and as such I’m doing my best to go out in a linguistically orgiastic blaze of esoteric glory. It also has something to do with being completely and utterly burned out at this point, but we’ll go with the nobler-sounding motive. This isn’t that serious of a debate and chances are I’ll be back; my apprehension stems mainly from the feeling of having fallen into tedious self-parody (not doing much to dispel that at the moment), but I’m betting four months off will give me a fresh angle on things.

I’ll have to find some way to occupy my mind, after all. I’ll be in the market for a part-time job, but frankly there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there so I won’t hold my breath (considering  getting a fake underage ID so they’ll think I’m a high schooler and hire me on the spot). Freedom from academia certainly carries more than its share of perks, but it also entails the potential pitfall of intellectual stagnation. To this intend, I intend on reading voraciously and writing intensively – two things which, as an English major, I don’t really get to do recreationally during the school year.

Months’ worth of unpunctuated free time, after all, can quickly grow stultifying without some sort of regimen. Oh sure, you can bake yourself in the sun ‘til the cows come home and graze amongst the leathery discarded flakes of what was once attached to your face, but sooner or later you’ll find yourself yearning for some more meaningful endeavor. For all the benefits of higher education, it’s heavily time-consuming nature can often be a deterrent to the pursuit of extra-curricular passions. As a result, one feels the imperative to make any time off count in a major way.

I can certainly say I’ll be milking every last bit of (illicit or otherwise) enjoyment out of my last genuine “summer vacation.” This time next year I’ll either get dragged kicking and screaming into “the real world” or be gearing up for the questionable refuge of grad school. In the marginally likely event that we don’t have the pleasure next term, good luck, godspeed and for the love of Christ don’t forget to wear protection.


Justin Levesque can be contacted at

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