Summertime, and the livin’ is easy Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high Oh, your daddy’s rich and your mama’s good-lookin’ -George Gershwin, Porgy & Bess

It just occurred to the Idler that if you were singing about the Jenner kids it would have to go,  “Your mama’s rich and your daddy’s good lookin’”  That’s how weird the world has gotten. Which is why the Idler is proposing the Kardashian-free summer. Hold on a minute, I think somebody beat me to it. Yep, a guy invented an app, I guess for your smart phone, that will scan your “newsfeed” for mentions of the Kardashians and block the same. His name is James Samir Shamsi and he says his app will shield you from mentions of the name and from accidentally viewing pictures of anyone named Kardashian’s giant posterior.  It’s called #Kardblock if you’re interested.

The Idler wants to go this Shamsi guy one better. How about a daylight curfew on all recreational electronics useage? “Sun’s out – tabs off” will be our motto. After dark you’ll be left to your own devices (get it?), but during the day, the only farmvilles you’ll have to deal with will be the kind that smell of manure. You miss facebook? Why not pull out your high school yearbook. Better yet, put your kindle/nook, etc. on charge and read a book. You remember books, right? Couple hundred sheets of paper all stuck together between cardboard covers. You get one of them – it can be anything from Dr. Seuss to Marcel Proust – and you take it outside and sit down in a lawn chair and read it. Like page by page.  Yes I know that turning pages can be exhausting but think of the great upper-body workout you’ll be getting. Maybe one of your neighbors will emerge, blinking and rubbing his or her eyes against the glare of the sun. Engage this person in conversation. Not texting or e-mail. Talking.

The Idler doesn’t want to get all nostalgic but we can’t help but remember a time many summers ago when kids would wake up, pull on a T-shirt, a pair of shorts and some sneaks and go out for hours at a time to climb trees and play wiffle ball and just sit in the grass. Unsupervised. We heard about a couple who got arrested recently for letting their kids walk to the park and back by themselves. I guess our folks would’ve been public enemies numbers 1 and 2 by those standards. The trees were actually a pretty good place to be on the hottest days. Maple trees had wing shaped seed pods you could break in half and then split open far enough to stick on the bridge of your nose where the sap would hold them in place. You’d have a little leafy rhino horn. Then you could drop the other half and it would spiral all the way down like a damaged helicopter. If you climbed high enough you could see the wiffle ball you lost the day before lodged in the neighbor’s porch gutter. That’s a ground rule double right there. There was always one kid you had to make sure stayed on the lowest branches because he’d make a habit of falling off. Maybe some blood would flow and his mother would yell at everyone about how they shouldn’t be climbing trees.

The arboreal life was pretty cool otherwise, but when it got old you’d get on your primitive 300 lb. cast iron Schwinn or Rollfast (bicycle technology has improved dramatically in the past few decades) and set out on an expedition to, well, to anywhere you wanted. If you happened to pass by the home of the girl you sat next to in 7th grade science, well, so much the better. If she was on the porch you might wave sort of surreptitiously so your buddies, or worse, your brother, didn’t notice. If her dad was out mowing the lawn you just kept on pedaling. There was a five cent root beer two blocks away.

Maybe it doesn’t sound all that thrilling but those summers lasted forever while ours go ripping by at the speed of light. Do yourself a favor and dump your electronics for a while. If someone gives you a hard time about not answering a text, tell them to go climb a tree.

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