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July 10, 2014

NASH: The ‘Summer of Me’

Last weekend was the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the situation comedy “Seinfeld.” The show about nothing that made everyone laugh for nine seasons  hasn’t stopped since it can be seen every day in syndication. Critics have ranked it as one of the greatest television series of all time and several individual episodes have made the list of greatest shows ever.

If you ask someone about their favorite episode from the 180 to choose from you might get several different answers. Whether the characters were doing something inappropriate in “The Contest” or teaching us new catch phrases like “Yada, Yada, Yada” you knew that Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer were going to entertain.

Recently I saw an episode that I hadn’t seen in a while and had forgotten about. The character George was at a crossroads having recently been let go from his job as the assistant to the traveling secretary for the New York Yankees. He received a letter from the Yankees explaining that his pay would continue for the next three months and was excited to know that he would be paid for doing nothing. Of course Jerry pointed out that he had been getting paid for doing nothing for three years, what is another three months.

With three free months to do whatever he wanted he started thinking of how he would spend his time. His first thought was to read a book, “from beginning to end, in that order.” His second thought was to learn to play Frisbee golf  — you play golf but with a Frisbee. George announces “this is going  to be my time, time to taste the fruits and let the juices drip down my chin,  I proclaim this the ‘Summer of George.’”

Watching this episode makes me wonder, what would a person do if they were being paid from their company for a few months without having to go to work.  What would they do with themselves?  How would I spend that time?

If I was in George’s shoes I would try to make the most of it. George didn’t have a family or a house to take care of so he didn’t have to worry about some of the things that have made my list. One of the first things I need to do is clean the basement. My wife has been on me for a long time to straighten things up but with two small children there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. We need to go through everything and get rid of some of the clutter.  I see several trips to Goodwill in my future.

 Even though I took the Christmas decorations down in early January I never put them away in the basement. We were preparing for the birth of our twins so I just threw everything down there without any type of organization. My downstairs bathroom is filled with inflatable snowmen and reindeer and the lights I put around the front yard. The first week of my free time would have to be getting that stuff organized.

I would try to plan some day trips with my teenage kids and my wife. Maybe we could spend a day at Spring Mill or Deam Lake State Park or spend the day at Kings Island or Holiday World.  This weekend we are going on our first trip with the babies as we travel to a family wedding in Northern Indiana. If all goes well maybe we can take them on a trip to see friends in St. Louis or to a baseball game in Cincinnati.  

Last year I rode my bike for 100 miles and I haven’t ridden much since then. Taking care of my infant children has taken up a lot of my free time and that has taken its toll on my physical well being. If I had some free time maybe I could use some of that time to get into a little better shape. I could set a couple of goals, maybe ride another century or just try to walk a little more than I have been. I could stand to lose a little weight so maybe if I had some free time I could work on that.

When the “Summer of George” began he took the first few days to decompress before he got down to business.  While he had an important list of things to accomplish, it is never clear on whether he got to it, the episode ended without him beginning his journey. I would hope that if I was ever given the opportunity to have a “Summer of Me” that I could make the most of that time. Although a few days to decompress isn’t a bad way to start.

Matthew Nash can be reached at dmatthewnash@gmail.com

 

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