The Rear End

THE REAR END: Summer – What’s Not to Love?

The answer: A whole lot! Here’s a hot take about the sticky season

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus |

Listen up, Eau Claire! Are you ready for this? I said, are you ready for this? (Pretend we’re in a packed arena, and I’m clad in Day-Glo spandex with a full ’80s-era metal band behind me.) Well, I hope you’re ready for this! Cuz I got one question for you. And here it comes. (I’m yelling into a microphone as my words echo and surge across the crowd.) Eau Claire! Who’s ready for some SUMMER FUN?

Not me.

I know many of you love summer. You just love it so hard. The sun and the beach and the sweet summer breeze tickling your toes as you rock on the ol’ porch swing sippin’ on your ice cold lemonade. You hate winter. You yearn for July. You need the heat.

You make me sick.

My friends, listen close. Liking summer isn’t your personality. If you like it, that’s great, but it’s not who you are. It’s not your identity. There’s so much more to you. Stuff that makes you a beautiful, interesting, unique individual, and none of it has anything to do with tubing down the Chippewa River on a steamy Saturday afternoon.

So you can keep your sunblock and your snorkels and your sum-sum-summertime all to yourself. Enjoy summer privately. Quietly. Secretly. This way, we all win.

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Also, you’re just wrong. Summer is OK at best.

Yes, this is a topic I’ve droned on about – and will continue to drone on about – endlessly. Fall beats summer. By a lot. Autumn is everything. We should delete August, slide September back, and extend October to double its length, and call it Octooooooober. We’d have to redesign our calendars and, like, change the rotation of the earth or something, but it’s worth it. 

The simple, scientific, undisputed fact is this: Summer can’t hold a citronella candle to autumn.

And listen. When I say “I love fall, it’s my favorite season, and if you don’t agree, you’re a big, dumb dummy” or something similar, I’m not describing my identity. It’s just one, small part of the Mike Paulus Puzzle. However, I am passing along valuable information. I’m telling you this stuff as a warning for your own safety. Autumn keeps me sane. Because if it gets too hot and humid outside, I get, um, what’s the word? Oh, right.


So you can keep your sunblock and your snorkels and your sum-sum-summertime all to yourself. Enjoy summer privately. Quietly. Secretly. This way, we all win. You get to sneak off to your baseball games and your country cotillions and I (a person you don’t even know or care about) can easily fabricate a false reality where blistering sunshine and smothering humidity don’t rule my days. Heck, I’m betting you’ll enjoy summer even more as you eat your sticky watermelon and dripping popsicles from the privacy of your own (fenced) backyard, because you’ll know how happy I am.

I know. It’s a perfect plan.

OK, listen. I’m writing this to you because the summer of 2021 is like no other summer. We’ve never seen a summer like this. Sure, it’ll probably be the hottest summer in recorded history because we’re destroying the planet and all that, but we’re also emerging from a global pandemic, and we’re ready to get outside, get together, and get back to the stuff we love. The floodgates are opening, and the desire for summer fun feels off the charts.

Sure, it’ll look a little different. We still need to stay safe.* But the lakes and rivers and beaches and pizza farms are still there (mostly), just waiting to help you generate those summertime memories. So I can sense the Chippewa Valley salivating for summer. And people, all that extra saliva moisture can only add to the humidity. The horrible, horrible humidity.

All I’m asking is that completely hide your love of summer. Is that too much to ask?

* Hey, as I write this, less than 50% of Wisconsin is fully vaccinated. So, if everyone were following the CDC’s safety guidelines on masking, about half of the people you see in a crowded location, especially indoors, would be wearing a mask, right? Right? Yeah, that’s totally what I’m seeing, too.