Seven Simple Ways to Enjoy the Rest of Your Summer

Starring the Phils, the ocean and a little Sinatra

We’ve hit it. The nadir of summer. You’ve probably noticed.

People are checked out. Mentally and emotionally, if not literally.

Calls and emails wither. Little of import moves forward. People emote and express less.

August is a time not of community but of singularity; a time to crawl inside one’s psyche and allow the blast furnace heat of our days to melt away any noxious karma that could inhibit the renewal that awaits. [SIGNUP]

Put more plainly, it’s just not a good time to fire away rhetorically at self-styled cheesesteak overlords or school bosses who make satchels of dough or even the woes of the Phillies bullpen for that matter.

Who wants to hear it? Who’s even around to listen?

Even our favorite commenters are in Wildwood and Sea Isle sucking Buds and eating fudge.

So… in the spirit of the bright radiant light of August, the month of saying little and doing less, what follows are a handful of modest complication-free suggestions that may help you get through the next few weeks:

• Hit a local bar or taproom. Pick one off your beaten track—one that attracts a diverse age and ethnic clientele and always has the Phillies on the tube. Arrive a night of your choosing, by yourself, maybe about the fifth or sixth inning (nine innings is too long to sit on a stool anywhere). Order up a cold draft and fall into a little baseball and life talk with your fellow elbow benders. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll hear and how much more interesting it can be than the stuff you get from your regular crowd.

• Watch a double-feature at home. Skip the latest dumb down comedies and remakes and pick a pair of classics that’ll keep you transfixed all evening. Maybe Chinatown and A Bottle Rocket. Or how ‘bout The Night of the Hunter and Five Easy Pieces? The fun is the choosing.

• Go to the batting cages. Way cooler than miniature golf (admit it: by the time
you get to the windmill hole you’re ready to slice your wrists with that little yellow
pencil). Batting cages are the best. It doesn’t matter if you can’t hit a wit; the
laughs are everywhere. Keep a special eye out for middle-aged Dads who look
like they may once have been athletes. The frustration they express over their
swings and misses—oof—is the stuff of side-splitting hilarity.

• Take a little kid to the ocean for the day. If you don’t have one of your own
(a kid, I mean), borrow one. The innocence of rolling in the waves with a child
sheds both troubles and years. I know, sooo cute. But even cute things to do are
sometimes fun, damnit.

• Hang out in Belmont Plateau in the early evening. The boombox sounds will
be there waiting as they are every summer. Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff had it right
all those eons ago: the Plateau is the ultimate summertime Philly high in so very
many ways.

• Read the short stories of Richard Lange. Okay, you don’t have to read his short
stories, read any short stories, but if you’re looking for someone to read take a
shot at Lange. His stories—his collection is called Dead Boys—are set in L.A.
neighborhoods you don’t know about; his characters are outcasts: drifters, bank
robbers and con artists, your basic fun kind of guys.

• Take a late nighttime ride down Kelly Drive with the car windows down listening
to Sinatra sing “Summer Wind”: All summer long/we sang a song/And then we
strolled that golden sand/Two sweethearts and the summer wind. There’s no
better attitude adjuster. Okay, maybe there’s one or two better, but none as

Tim Whitaker (, a writer and editor, is the executive director of Mighty Writers.