The anger and angst of August
By Jefferson Weaver
I walked out on the front porch to other morning, and immediately began to hate August.
It was the first day of the month; I awoke around 4 a.m. with the early throbs of a toothache, and the stench of one of the bed-dog’s breath full in my face. There is no telling what Casey had been eating, but it did not sweeten her breath.
Clearing my head of the bio-hazard fugue, I walked outside, stretched, and remarked on the lack of clouds blotting the sunrise.
Then I noticed the prone fence post and recumbent electric braid mashed malevolently into the mud. A few feet away, a horse and donkey stared at the flat tire on the car, which was nearly frame deep in mud from the rains of the night before.
Yep. It’s August.
I hate August. Not my friend by the same name. Nor do I hate everything about August. There are numerous people I love or at least call friends who were born in the hateful eighth month – my first niece, the baby boy of our friend Izzy, and of course, my adopted grandson Li’l Bear, better known as Shane Jr.
As he grows up, I am going to have a serious discussion with Li’l Bear, since he was born three months early. He should have waited til the more civilized month of October to make his debut. Of course, for all I know he was born in August to give me a bright spot in an otherwise dreary time of despondent tears and debilitating travails.
August, I loathe you.
It’s too early to hunt and trap, and all the fish with any sense of self-respect are biding their time until the water cools. Professional baseball is almost predictable (and all I care about watching is the World Series, anyway) and the baseball that really matters, where kids learn the feel and smell of a glove and the crack of a bat – well, that’s long since over.
August is the ugly, rude, overbearing, loud, obnoxious, open-mouth-chewing relative who latches onto you at the family reunion like a soul-sucking leech from the depths of Perdition.
August is the bully of the playground of our lives. As much as I hate the sneaking, sniveling faux-month of February, it just crawls around behind an unwitting victim’s knees, while August is the one who pushes the victim over February’s back into the mud puddle.
August, you repulse me, and believe me – that takes a lot. I have held a lot of things and smelled smells that can gag a use car salesman (true story, it happened) but you, August, turn even my stomach.
I would be remiss if I didn’t note that I had another, more epic flat tire on the first day of August, just over a year ago. A suicidal tree root ripped a gash in one of my truck’s tires. The only good thing to happen was that we eventually discovered the lugnuts were not welded on, as I suspected. They were just crossthreaded and tightened to the point I doubt they would have passed NASCAR standards. We ended up chiseling the lugs off, which naturally fell inside the hub. By the time it was over, I had to call a garage to fetch the truck and fix the problem, thus wasting weeks and I don’t know how much money.
But hey – it’s August. What more should I have expected?
The adventures didn’t end on the first day of this wretched month. On Aug. 2, I pulled in at the auto parts store for what should have been a $5 fix and ended up walking out with a new battery as well as the $5 fix.
On the third day of August, another fence post collapsed in the mud created by the non-stop misery of marine moisture wafting in from offshore. That led to a chase of the same donkey who was debating Goodyear vs. Firestone with her fellow escapee from two days before.
The chase led to having to change clothes before work, since I was almost solid mud from the knees down. Some of the mud seeped through a hole in my boot, and combined with my normal August smell – a combination of anger, desperation, frustration and old beaver castor – my sock ended up requiring a hazmat team rather than a washer.
But that was okay – I had plenty of clean socks on the clothesline outside. Where they had been washed three or four more times by the rain.
Have mentioned that I despise August with the same passion a prophet despises sin? And I don’t mean some secondary prophet, either. We’re talking about one of the real fire-and-brimstone boys, the ones that God kept on a leash, lest the whole world be consumed in a blazing fire of torment worthy of a bad day in August.
My current level of vituperous-ness (yes, I created the conjugation of that word. Look up the root, and live with it.) has left me with a tendency to drip sarcasm that is only slightly less caustic than the stuff which seeped like rotten tree sap from the side of my old battery the other day. It also leads me to run-on sentences rife with awkward analogies and struggling similes and mean-spirited metaphors that lead to dangling participles which can only hope they have finally reached the end of their literary lives – only to discover that they still have weeks of horror to go, since this is, after all, August.
August, I detest you. I just wanted to be clear on that.
Soon, however, the Gold Lady of September will rise again, assuaging the ills and hurts and heartache of a wet, nasty, hot month of woe, bringing with her the first changing leaves, the smell and sound and sights of a field of corn being cut, big purple-black grapes begging to be eaten off the vine, and mornings, days and evenings that do not always require panting for breath. September always has some hot days, of course, as well as the odd tropical system, but she is a lady, and always seems ashamed of dealing with a leftover Augustinian stab in the back.
I have to keep reminding myself that August isn’t forever; soon September will usher in dove season, a return of sensible fishing, deer snorting and scratching the last velvet from newly-hardened antlers, and days where the sun is our friend, rather than a hazy, out-of-focus death ray aimed at the entire human race.
The night sky will be consistently clear of haze, so we can watch the stars wheeling and arcing across a dark canopy designed to keep we proud humans humble in relation to our place in the universe.
With September come church homecomings, empty beaches where the water is still more than tolerable, the grunt and snuffle of wild hogs rooting for acorns, and the cry of Canada geese imploring their kin and visitors to hang around and relocate here.
But all those wonderful things are still weeks, if not eons, away. Right now I have ankle-deep mud conspiring with slow-moving, mosquito-producing ditches full of sluggish runoff. I have an aching shoulder from setting fence posts in mud whilst wrangling a rebellious, if not anarchistic, donkey who doesn’t fear my empty threats of selling her to a meat-buyer.
Yes, for right now, we are stuck with August, and I for one hate this wretched month.