Taking the Summer Quiz...by Mary Schmich

Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune wrote a wonderful essay yesterday that I wanted to share with you, Taking the Summer Quiz. I am grateful for her wisdom as I thought about it this morning while swimming in the exquisitely delicious waters of Lake Michigan.

Light House Beach, Evanston © Jane Fulton Alt

Mary Schmich

August already.

The flowers are open wide. The air's still warm and as soggy as wet cotton. The days are still longer than the nights.
In other words, we've reached the season's peak, and perched here above summer's downhill slope, it's time to pause. Assess. And, if necessary, correct course in the summer time that's left.

Here's one of our occasional quizzes to help you. Select one answer in each category. Points are awarded for attitude as well as achievement.

1. Summer Harvest

A. I go to the local farmers market regularly! +10 points

B. I have Googled farmers market locations and fully intend to go to one before the summer's over. +1 point

C. Anything I can get at a farmers market I can get cheaper at Jewel, without the preening people, their annoying dogs and that bleepin' hammered dulcimer. -10 points

2. Water Sports

A. I've gone swimming so much that my bathing suit has a suntan! +15 points

B. Spare me the skin cancer, but I've read four trashy beach books lying in my backyard with a glass of sweet iced tea. +5 points

C. Why would I swim when I can lie on the couch in the AC and watch Michael Phelps? -10 points

3. Outdoor Entertainment

A. Millennium Park, Ravinia, neighborhood festivals! I've done them all! +25 points

B. Ravinia is too far. Neighborhood festivals are too loud. But I fully intend to go to Millennium Park now that that bleepin' electronica "music" is off the schedule. +2 points

C. Why would I go outside when I can lie on the couch in the AC and read about Kristen Stewart's love life? -30 points

4. Outdoor Exercise

A. Hardly a day goes by that I don't take a long walk/run/bike ride! +20 points

B. I walked over to Chick-fil-A to see if those sandwiches were worth the fuss. 0 points

C. If God meant humans to exercise outdoors, she wouldn't haven't invented temperatures over 75 degrees. -15 points

5. Lollapalooza

A. I'm in! +10 points

B. I am too old for Lollapalooza. +15 points (For self-awareness.)

C. What is Lollapalooza? -3 points (Age is no excuse for ignorance.)

6. Summer Dining

A. I've gorged on fresh tomatoes, peaches, corn, etc. + 15 points

B. Fresh tomatoes are overrated, but I'm all about brats on the grill. +1 point.

C. Does eating Cheetos while lying on the couch in the AC watching the Olympics count? -15 points

7. Heat Appreciation Index

A. Heat is the soul of summer, and I've savored these hundred-degree days! +15 points

B. Heat sucks but I'm not ready for winter. 0 points

C. I cranked up the AC in April and haven't turned it off since. -25 points

8. Summer Vacation

A. I spent half my vacation posting photos of my vacation on Facebook. -10 points

B. I spent half my vacation on Facebook, jealous of other people's vacation photos. -10 points

C. I spent my vacation without checking Facebook or email once. +30 points

9. Summer Reading

A. I finally read that fat classic I've been meaning to read since high school. +25 points

B. I've read four trashy novels and all my old magazines. +10 points

C. Does Facebook count? -40 points


Above 100: No summer regrets necessary.

0-100: Still time to improve.

Below 0: Remember this when you're grousing about winter.

© Jane Fulton Alt