Summer seems to have reached its tipping point. The grass is dead. Everything smells like pool towels. I have the energy of a too plump panda. The only entertainment lately is watching the little guy's misguided efforts to sweeten his mother's mood. Last week, he called her "my darling." This week, it was "snookums." Honestly, if he lives to see first grade in the fall, it'll be a minor miracle.
"Please pass the salt, snookums," he tells her the other night at dinner, and you could light a cigarette on the glare he got.
So, yeah, summer is going well, as well as can be expected. We're about 1,000 grilled hot dogs in, another 500 to go. That's a valid measure for any summer -- processed meat.
At a hot dog-infused swim party the other night, a bunch of lawyers started talking about jumping off the roof, and I thought, "Finally, I'll go get the ladder." Turns out they were discussing a party a week earlier, where some of the guests leaped from the roof into the pool below, another California tradition -- like surfing, like driving the 405 -- fraught with risk.
We Americans are just suckers for stupid things, and that's nothing to be ashamed about, particularly during these languid middle months. Movies about transformers, or TV dating contests, we can't get enough. In the end, let's hope we will be judged by our achievements, not in how we pass long, sweaty evenings.
"Can I have a 'Bachelorette' party?" Posh asks the other morning.
"You're getting married?"
"No," she says.
"I didn't even know you were dating," I tell her.
"Ooooooooooh, boy!" shouts the little guy, an exclamation he picked up from watching Charles Grodin in the wonderful and undervalued "Beethoven's 2nd." As you'll recall, Beethoven and his beloved Missy have puppies. Every time something goes wrong, Grodin shouts, "Ooooooooooh, boy!" in that great, Grodinesque baritone. As in "Oh, boy, what we sure don't need around here are any more dogs!"
Anyway, Posh doesn't want to have any more pups either, but what she does want is a "Bachelorette" party, in honor of her favorite show.
If you've somehow avoided "The Bachelorette," you should know that it is a very cherished show. Among women, it is more popular than nail polish.
The object of this reality show is for an unmarried woman to pick from a bunch of eligible hunks, almost all of whom put too much product in their hair. They look like losers to me, but to women they seem enormously attractive.
(In the old days, we used to call this whole process "going to bars.")
On "The Bachelorette," which had its finale the other night, there is the usual snippy process involving who will stay and who will go. Eventually, the young woman selects one of these hunks as the man of her dreams. He is considered "the winner," and the presumption is that they will one day wed. The others are considered "the escapees."
At least that's how I see "The Bachelorette." Like so much art, it is open to interpretation. A painting by Matisse speaks to some people and not to others. That's the way it is with "The Bachelorette."
My wife, for example, sees the show as wish fulfillment and an escape from a humdrum suburban life.
"So, snookums, what's your escape?" she asks, when I give her a hard time about watching "The Bachelorette."
Admittedly, I should take up tennis or something. She is too much hobby for me -- my heart may one day burst.
Till then, I've started putting product in my hair and muttering the sorts of idiocies the hunks on "The Bachelorette" are always saying, stuff like, "I need a soulmate, not a lover" and all sorts of other lies that you think women would see right through after 100,000 or so years.
"A sunset is not a sunset unless you're next to me," I told her the other evening.
"Then what is it?" she asked.
"Um . . . happy hour?" I said.
Which was not the answer she wanted. So I'm going to have to work harder at this little cat-and-mouse seduction of hers. I've started wearing a Speedo when I do yardwork -- how hot is that? Yesterday, I flossed.
I also spend my days "growing my business," which seems to be a big thing with the male contestants on "The Bachelorette" -- growing their businesses. They all seem to be contractors or real estate magnets. I have yet to see a columnist on "The Bachelorette." Presumably, that would be too much overt sexuality for a network production.
Speaking of summer meltdowns, the other odd thing that women seem to be doing these days is going on Facebook. Posh is summering on Facebook, which is a website where people can share things that are going on in their lives, no matter how mundane.
Like TV itself, the sillier the notion, the more likely it is you'll see it posted on Facebook.
"I'm just sitting here watching my feet swell," one Facebook friend told me recently -- no joking.
The other morning, my wife spotted a Facebook message from another mom that was posted at 5:30 in the morning -- no joking again.
"Anyone wanna have a 'Bachelorette' party?" I think it said.