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Hay’s Daze: Why is summer so short?

“Why is it so dark out?”

We were couch potato-ing the other evening, snacks on the coffee table, Hercule Poirot reruns streaming away on the dumb box. I momentarily gazed outside and couldn’t help but notice that our sparkly lights in the hedges around the fire pit were already sparkling away and that the rest of the outside world was not. In fact it was downright night out there. “It’s only 9:30!” the Better Half said, and as usual she was right. (I have to say that. She reads this column.)

And not only that, I noticed a couple of yellow leaves hiding in trees recently, and the leaves aren’t supposed to be yellow yet.

And the piece de resistance? You know that summer is at a tipping point when you start to see “back-to-school” ads. It’s odd. Even now, several millenniums since I had to go back to school in September, I still feel an uncomfortable gnaw in my stomach when I see back-to-school ads. And I actually liked school right up until the wheels fell off in high school. But that’s another story.

Didn’t summer just start, like, about two days ago? Didn’t we hearty Canucks just begin to bask in our grossly inadequate allotted summer sunshine and happiness after the normal eight months of winter and three months of “tough sledding”? Why is summer so short – and getting shorter?

To answer this burning question, I once again reluctantly return to our resident self-proclaimed expert on all burning questions, Dr. Reginald Smoot, part-time associate professor of Sociology at the new Saskatchewan Internet College (S.I.C.).

Hay’s Daze: “Let’s get right to it, shall we, Dr. Smoot. From a sociological standpoint, why does summer seem so short?”

Dr. Smoot: “It’s obviously global warming, of course. Any Sociologist worth his salt can see that.”

H.D.: Um, that would make summer longer, not shorter, Reg, any moron can see that. Besides, I’m not talking about temperatures and hours of sunlight, I’m talking psychologically. Why does summer SEEM shorter?

Smoot: Oh, I see. Yes, well it’s all to do with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. And don’t call me Reg. I didn’t spend all that money and 12 months of my life getting a correspondence Ph.D. for nothing.

H.D.: Please explain this famous theory, Dr. Reg.

Smoot: Essentially, Einstein said that time is like a relative. When a relative stays at your house, time slows down and it takes forever to get rid of them. So you see, we don’t want summer to end, therefore time speeds up. Also, we live in Canada, where “summer” is mainly just a myth.

H.D.: So you’re saying it’s all in our heads. That summer feels so short not only because it’s rare, but because summer is so enjoyable. Sort of like the fact that snogging a bowl of ice cream takes a lot less time than being forced to eat a bowl of Brussels sprouts?

Smoot: No, not at all. I happen to like Brussels sprouts, and that’s a stupid analogy. It’s more like the fact that you can’t proudly fly a nice national flag on your car anymore because other normal people will think you’re a whackjob in some sort of cultish convoy.

H.D.: Well there’s no need to get political, especially when your analogy make less sense than mine.

Smoot: As usual, you are missing the point, sociologically. The point is, the older you get, the faster it goes, so, you better, as Einstein said, “Stop and smell the roses.”

H.D.: But there aren’t any roses in winter, Correspondence Doctor!

Smoot: Oh yes there are. You just have to know where to smell.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can email him column ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com.