The wretched month of August

For nearly 20 years, I have written an annual column describing my loathing for the eighth month of the year, August.

As the first date of this dreaded month approached, I was contemplating doing things differently this year. I thought perhaps I should instead praise August, and point out that watermelons are plentiful, dove season is only a month away, and it’s a dandy time to go swimming, either in a cool dark canal or the beach. After all, it would be a nice change to extol the virtues of the last true month of summer.

Who am I kidding?

I hate August.

August is the root canal in the year’s mouth, and there is no more Novacaine. August is shredded fiberglass insulation on the bathroom floor. August is a bad goat with the bloat.

I do not like the month of August.

Indeed, my angst at August always manages to steal some of my joy at the months of July and September. My beloved Miss Rhonda’s birthday is in July, but it’s so close to the end of the month that August always gets in and ruins things, like a muddy dog in a basketful of clean, delicate laundry.

Case in point: for three of the past five years, we have not been able to spend much time together on her birthday because her dad was in the hospital. I blame August.

Now, I must add a caveat: I do not hate my dear friend and brother in Christ, who is also named August. He has absolutely nothing in common with this disgusting, disreputable, decay-smelling month that makes me descend into awkward alliteration and run-on sentences.

My friend August is cool; the month of August, however, is humid, hot, horrid, homunculousinian excuse for a month that makes me take archaic words and turn them into mouth-mangling modifiers.

Dang it. I did it again.

I hate August.

By August, the sensible fish – as if I had time to fish – have gone deep, and only come out at night when the mosquitoes will protect them from fishermen. The blackfish still bite, of course, but I have never found a way to properly cook a blackfish. I am fairly sure Ol’ Grindle is the official fish of August, since blackfish will continue to try and bite you after he has been caught, cleaned and in the frying pan. There’s a true story behind that which I will tell sometime, but that’s a column for another day.

There is nothing to hunt in August, other than wild pigs, and I can’t stomach the idea of wasting a barbecue because the Augustinian heat will spoil a carcass in less time than it takes to say Augustinian.

Going to the beach for fishing has a certain attraction, save for the fact that one would have to survive the travellers who are going to have a good time or die trying, and they don’t care who they have to run over to have that good time.

August is when bathing suits and beach gear are put away in the store – despite the fact that we’ll have beach weather at least through December – and back-to-school supplies tower over shoppers in big box stores. I could handle the school supplies, were it not for the Christmas decorations peeking out from behind boxes of notebooks. I am fairly sure I saw a sadistically jolly-looking Santa Claus handing out school-approved book bags the other day.

Speaking of Christmas, August brings to mind Boris Karloff singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” except without any redeeming qualities. Had the Grinch been born in August, I am sure the ending of that classic cartoon would have involved screaming and plunder worthy of the worst Viking holiday.

I am fairly sure August affects retailers in an adverse manner, considering how many winter coats will soon replace summer clothes. Were I in the market for a winter coat, I sure as heck wouldn’t want to have to share sweat to try one on in the middle of August. Roadkill I can handle, but stranger sweat? Oh heck no. Especially not in August.

August, you are a wretch, a poltroon, a plague. You are a half-cooked tofu hot dog on a gluten-free bun that was rejected by a hungry stray dog on a Monday between paydays.

August, oh August, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

August marks the start of our tropical season, as well as the time for more dry storms that produce high winds and lightning, but no rain. When the skies are clear — wait, no, the skies never are really clear in August, except in brief patches of hope that are instantly extinguished by parsimonious clouds that act like every drop of rain is a personal sacrifice.

August is a fish left in a cooler from earlier this summer.

As has been noted before, I love to eat. However, August is generally too hot to allow a decent meal, so I wander around half-hungry, yet fully cognizant of the disorder that comes from eating when the weather is as overbearing as a poorly-created analogy in another run-on sentence.

August, you reek.

Yet in just 31 days – 31 miserable days of torment worthy of a sequel to Dante’s Inferno – we will greet September. The Golden Princess of the Year awaits with church homecomings, slightly cooler temperatures, and the first leaves that bring the succor of Autumn. True, September is usually the busiest hurricane month, but it’s also the month dove season starts.

September is when football – real football, the kind played by high school heroes – really kicks in, and the love of the game is as evident as on an April baseball diamond.

September is when the skies are clearing at night, and the stars wink down with the promise that they’ll be brighter in a few more weeks, bringing the time for the coonhounds to tune up for the joyful refrain that means a coon has treed.

September is when the beaches are empty but the water is still warm, save for those times when the Labrador contests the Gulf Stream’s schedule and a little bit of Arctic Ocean makes its way south for the winter. September means colder, firmer fish, the snapping blues and slabsided mackerel and the ubiquitous spot.

September has promise – but August, wretched August, holds sway for a few more weeks. Then we have months of cooler weather and happy memories—except for that wretched month of February, which is right around the corner.

For the moment however, I will be content to just hate August.

 

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