It was back in January when a group of OPers were lounging in the office, spit-balling what themed issues we should put out over the rest of the year. Some of the ideas were great (our Premature-Love edition before Valentine’s Day, the one you’re reading right now) and then there were some that will never come to fruition for obvious reasons (the Drunk issue, the Upside Down and Backwards issue). While our first themed issue of the year had tons of sexy articles on its side, I think the Go Outside issue is probably my favourite theme.
Why have a Go Outside issue? Because you made it through the bullshit that is winter; you soldiered past the oppression known as pants; you put up with having to carry an umbrella with you at all times “just in case”; and now it’s time to cut all of your pants into shorts—regretting it when fall comes along and you have nothing to wear that goes past your knees—and embrace that summer lovin’. Welcome to the best season of the year.
Naturally, despite digging the theme and there being a trove of topics to talk about when it comes to summer, I really struggled with what to gab about for my Lettitor this month. A friend suggested I write about camping but how many different ways can I phrase “It’s fun to go out into the woods and drink your face off.” I could talk about the importance of sun protection but there are already a handful of those waiting for you inside—and this was also the first year since I can remember where I actually bought sunscreen, so I can’t really be an advocate for it. There’s so much to go on about in the summer but so much of it has already been done.
In retrospect, summer always means different things depending on what stage of your life you’re at. When you’re a little munchkin, summer’s the time of year you get to go to outdoor waterparks and your mom forces you to wear a bucket hat because she loves you and whatnot. As you enter school, summer is synonymous with freedom for those two months of the year where you don’t have to combat pencils, books, or teacher’s dirty looks. When you’re still in school but working on the side, free time equals dollar signs from all the extra shifts you can pick up at work. Finally, when you’re a full-fledged adult and rocking a career, summer mostly just means you’re gonna be sweaty and uncomfortable in your slacks on your way to work.
As someone who got my first real job at 13—worked at Tim Horton’s for two weeks and quit when I couldn’t get time off for my brother’s graduation—more often than not I associate summer with work. Not the beach party mentality most people have but it’s incredible how diverse the oddjobs come when you’re young and looking for extra cash.
The weirdest job I ever held came just after my brief stint at Timmies. I doubt there’s an actual name for it but my mom started calling it “duck chucking” and we adopted the moniker just fine. Every other weekend during one summer, my brother and I would get picked up and driven to a nearby wetland where we assisted in training hunting dogs. We would get a pail full of dead, frozen ducks, a metallic catapult, a duck call whistle, and a cap gun. The process went like this: we would each take position hiding somewhere nearby and then, on command, blow the duck whistle a couple times, launch the deceased duck into the air with the catapult, “shoot it” with the cap gun, and then let the hunting dog pretend their owner had shot the bird and go to retrieve it. We would end up using a lot of the ducks numerous times and I remember how as the days would go on, the birds would defrost and slowly start to smell putrid/bleed out whenever we catapulted them into the air. Even looking back it seems surreal, but I remember the organizers would always include really good ham sandwiches in our lunches.
Tales of terrible summer jobs aside, I hope you enjoy our first-ever Go Outside issue. Hopefully the articles inspire you to head outdoors for your own summertime adventure and hopefully those adventures don’t include catapulting dead ducks.
So it goes,