Summer Freak Outs

Zach Bauman

Summer scares me. I blame it on having children and pets. 

Oh, and social media with all the scary “this is what’s going to get you” click bait. That, right there, is what’s great about being a kid: freedom from fear. Children embrace summer with no questions asked. Meanwhile, I have a whole list of summer stressors. 

Coming in at No. 1 is the latest news that ticks are taking over the metro. Seriously, it’s going to be the summer of blood-sucking, Lyme-disease-spreading ticks. According to a Johnson County extension agent, “When you go into their (the ticks’) habitat, be prepared that you’re gonna find some on you when you get out of there.” 

Umm, excuse me, by habitat do you mean the flipping outdoors? I am f-r-e- a-k-i-n-g out. 

Plus, this tick-topia is like a family reunion — many branches of the tick kin are uniting. It isn’t just one kind of tick coming to feast upon our very essence. Currently taking up residence in our outdoor space are the brown dog tick, the lone star tick (go back to Texas, you loser), the American dog tick and the black-legged tick. 

Experts are telling us to do a tick check on ourselves and our animals every time we come inside and have a pair of tweezers "at the ready." Give me a second; I need a minute to stop crying. 

My other ginormous summer anxiety? Brain-eating amoebas. Did you know if you swim in a lake or river and water goes up your nose, some nasty amoeba can hitch a ride on your nasal passages and head straight for your brain, using it as an entree? (And let’s ponder trying to swim without water going up your nose? The only way for that to happen is pulling a grandma and never putting your head in the water.) It’s chlorinated water only for me this summer. 

Wait, I take that back. Chlorinated water is a liar. Crypto outbreaks in swimming pools have doubled in just four years. This parasitic infection that causes diarrhea can survive for 10 days even in a pool chock full of chemicals. Shudder and pass the Imodium. 

Even summer fashions are trying to maim me. Ladies, heed this advice and thank me later: do not wear a maxi dress or any of those off-the-shoulder bell-sleeved blouses and steer clear of the flip-flop. And God help you if you wear a maxi dress with flip-flops because my thoughts and prayers will be with you during that difficult time. 

Last summer, I was wearing a maxi dress and some very lovely Tory Burch flip-flops that I got heavily discounted from Nordstrom Rack. I was feeling, dare I say, almost
fetching until I was poolside at a party. My maxi dress got trapped in my flip-flop thus causing me to trip over my feet and plummet into the pool. The only upside was I was too wet for anyone to notice my tears.

As for that bell-sleeve; two weeks ago at a graduation party I was serving myself a dollop of queso when my 10-inch sleeve hit a candle and I was this close to becoming a human torch. If an attentive hostess hadn’t immediately doused the flames with Sprite, I fear I wouldn’t be here today. 

I could go on and on (I haven’t even touched on the oak mites or the perils of summer road trips. Yes perils, because being trapped with your family for a prolonged period in a car increases homicidal rage by 600 percent? I might have just made that one up, but I’m certain it's pretty accurate.) but I have to immediately check Amazon and see if they have hazmat suits that ship with Prime. (Oh look, they do — and in a lovely assortment of festive summer colors.) It’s the only way I’m going to make it through the summer.