If you're a college student home for the summer, you're in an awkward place: too old for high school girls, too young to rent a Hyundai. Sure, it may seem fun for the first few days, but your mindset will follow a pretty well-established trajectory:
Days 1-3: Joy to see family and friends. Ecstatic over escaping dorm squalor.
Day 4: Bored.
Day 5: Fucking bored.
Day 6-103: Maniacally bored. AND HOW MANY GODDAMN LITTLE SISTERS DO I HAVE NOW? CHRIST, MOM, WE'RE NOT CATHOLIC!
Day 104: Acceptance.
I'm kidding, of course; everyone knows Catholics don't keep their daughters.
If this picture looks grim, there are some drastic steps you can take to survive the crushing doldrums of summer:
1) Get back together with your high school ex. Remember after the prom when you said you'd love each other forever and if one of you died in a fiery motorcycle accident, the survivor would write and record a top-40 hit about it? What you meant was, "Or we could just have awkward, quiet sex in our parents' houses on breaks from college."
2) Ostracize your high school friends. They'll only want to hang out and tell you stories about college friends you've never met. You'll have to change your image for this one to work. If you were super religious in high school, drop radically heretical lines like, "Man, I love the Constitution as it's written!" If you were an atheist, feign fervor by picking something that people enjoy and decrying it (Falwell beat you to Spongebob, but there's something fishy about that Catdog). If you are a religious moderate, I'm sorry, but there's no place for you in this country.
3) Working at a summer camp is a popular summer option. It's an even more popular summer option if you're a loser. Think about it: in a couple of years you'll be interviewing for grad school or jobs. You'll be going up against people who have done internships or research during the summer. What will your resume say? "I went to camp, just like when I was a twelve, and I kissed two boys. On the mouth!" or "VP of Adorableness and Omitted Letters: Arts -n- Crafts Shak"? On the plus side, you can't get fired if no one will hire you in the first place. Really, grow up. If I want arrested development, I'll turn on Fox. And see if they're playing that "Mr. Wendell" song.
4) Travel the land. A good old-fashioned road trip usually begins with someone saying, "I've always wondered what the Dakotas were like," and ends with that someone saying, "Look, guys, I'm really sorry. Next year you can pick. No, no you shouldn't just leave me here. Oh, you're driving off? I'm not worried; you'll come back to pick me up."
Any trip founded on this sort of curiosity is bound to be a bust. If you haven't gotten a pretty good picture of what a place is like from any major book, movie, television show, PBS documentary, rock band, or kabuki play, it's probably a good indication that this place is boring. But by all means, don't let me stop you. Enjoy Montana!
5) Work on your screenplay. As the upcoming all-African-American Honeymooners shows, Hollywood's Next Big Thing is remaking old sitcoms with racially reversed casts. This makes getting your screenplay picked up easier than ever. Two free suggestions: An all-Hispanic remake of Sanford and Son as El Sanfordo y Hijo or an all-white remake of Good Times as Times.
That's about it, and if you really need to find a cure for the summertime blues, there's always Zoloft, America's imaginary best friend in pill form.
Neil has a new column out called "Being Enlightened by George Lucas" so give that a look. Enjoy these hotlinks and have a great weekend.