The Reluctant Townie: Looking back on the summer of '17

The Reluctant Townie: Looking back on the summer of '17

A brief timeline of events:

Aug. 26: My autumn-loving wife coerces my daughter into drawing a "Happy Fall" sign on a decorative chalkboard to be featured prominently in the living room.

There is heated debate about the appropriateness of such a display and the ethics of radicalizing my elder daughter into supporting her act of seasonal treason.

The 2-year-old sides with her mother; the 6-year-old presses the pause button on summer's death rattle.

Aug. 27: A scattering of red and yellow leaves spills suspiciously out the guest room bookcase. I am not prepared for this.

Sept. 1: My wife officially declares war on summer, announcing that fall has commenced, regardless of my (clearly inferior) opinion. Miniature pumpkins appear on surfaces throughout my house. There is no stopping it now.

Sept. 4: A seasonably mild Labor Day. I manage to find my way into a swimming pool. The lower half of my body immediately catches hypothermia. Has summer ghosted me?

Sept. 8: A faux-rusted wire basket of decorative gourds overtakes the dining room table — the centerpiece arrives courtesy of my wife's complicit, autumn-loving sister. In every room of our home there is now a harvest-themed display. This includes the bathroom. The 6-year-old believes summer to be dead. I stand alone.

Sept. 9: My wife hauls the Rubbermaid bin of Halloween decorations out of storage and places it in the middle of the living room — a dare and a threat. I make no mention of it, while my wife spends the rest of the evening watching me from across the room with an arched eyebrow.

Sept. 11: Never forget.

Sept. 12: My 6-year-old talks me into putting out the Halloween decorations.

Not only have I betrayed summer, I have been made to betray it in front of my neighbors. We are the second house on the block to erect a Halloween display.

Nobody likes the first house.

Sept. 13: Although the 10-day forecast predicts a summer-like warming trend by the end of the week (by the mighty beard of Zeus, may you be reading this in a pool of your own back sweat!), I am officially declaring summer 2017 to have perished a premature death of unnatural causes.

In order to avoid sliding into despair (knowing that autumn, and yes, then WINTER follows close behind), I like to think back to warmer, sunnier times and take stock of the summer that was.

How did Summer 2017 stack up to summers of past? Who were the winners and who were the losers this year?


— Solar eclipses.
— Anybody over the age of 4 who didn't wear a romper.
— John McCain, for doing a piledriver on the ACA repeal.
— My faith in humanity after "Transformers 5" bombed at the box office.
— Anybody who made a Nazi cry.
— $1 sunglasses at Dollar Tree.


— McGregor.
— Hurricanes.
— White guys with tiki torches.
— Anybody who didn't see "Valerian" in 3D. That movie was a lot of fun and an excellent use of the format.
— U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, for voting to take away your access to health care and then blocking your comments on Facebook.
— Looming threats of nuclear conflict.
— The cast of "Bachelor in Paradise."

When it comes to assigning a final letter grade to this summer, there are a few things to take into consideration. No matter how good or bad your personal summer may have been, we are still living through a period of time in which a game-show host who gained political prominence by asserting that our first black president was secretly born in another country is now the leader of the free world, so we will be grading on a bell curve.

In addition, if you live within any of the flood zones of Harvey or Irma, you will be deducting a minimum of three letter grades from my final score. Nothing kicks a summer in the pants like a widespread natural disaster.

If I'm being completely honest, the only thing holding me back from auto-flunking the summer of 2017 on principle is that I somehow escaped seeing "The Emoji Movie" with my kids, despite McDonald's giving out free tickets with their Happy Meals and my 6-year-old asking me to take her two to three times a week for a month.

So yeah, this summer produced a few miracles. It wasn't all bad.

On the other hand, any number of terrible things happened this summer. Those terrible things may have happened to you. Maybe you're Joel Osteen, and that rug really tied your megachurch together. I don't know your story, I don't know your truth. I don't want to make assumptions.

Good or bad, in 2017, quality of life has never depended more on your perspective.

Summer 2017 Final Letter Grade: C

Ryan Jackson is still three weeks away from purchasing a six-pack of pumpkin-flavored ale that will sit in the crisper drawer until Thanksgiving, and he can be reached at

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Jsmith68 wrote on September 17, 2017 at 11:09 am

Does the NG actually pay this guy to write this stuff? 

uncommon_name wrote on September 17, 2017 at 5:09 pm

I'm actually embarrassed for him and his lack of manhood every article I read. Reminds me of the guy who keeps a Triple A membership because he's pretty sure in the dark recesses of his mind that he won't be able to break the lug nuts loose to change a flat tire.

Ryan Jackson wrote on September 18, 2017 at 9:09 am

#blessed *Praise Hands Emoji*

Objective Reporter wrote on September 18, 2017 at 9:09 am


Lostinspace wrote on September 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Maybe he'll be even more relunctant after these comments.

Helpful advice for those who do not like the column: don't read it.

BART15 wrote on September 18, 2017 at 3:09 pm

The Redundant Townie

Objective Reporter wrote on September 19, 2017 at 10:09 am

Interesting when a NG employee gets his comment removed.  Telling.