In theory, I love the summer. Who doesn't? The beaches, the road trips, the exciting vacations in exotic locations.
Unfortunately, as a person who is made almost entirely out of anxiety, I find the reality of all of those things to be miserable. Beaches are nightmares of jellyfish and riptides. Road trips are riddled with car crashes, bed bugs, and backwoods serial killers. Behind the beauty of exotic locations are unstable governments, tropical diseases, and hours and hours of sleepless nights spent reading conspiracy theories about vanished tourists on Reddit.
I put it to you that these are all reasonable things to be worried about, and summer is actually objectively bad.
These are the worst things about it:
I am incapable of walking on the sand without thinking about these three things:
- This Reddit post about a little girl who stepped on hot embers from a beach fire that had just been covered over with sand, rather than extinguished with water.
- All of the news stories I’ve seen about syringes being found on beaches and in the ocean.
- This story about a couple who had their asses invaded by parasitic worms after sitting on the sand, leading to some pretty serious health issues.
Speaking of cancer, summer is also the time when you’re most likely to eat barbecued meat, which studies have shown can increase the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers in mice.
Which isn’t the only fucked up thing BBQs can do to your body. Beyond the cancer and the obvious risks of burning yourself or dying from inhaling carbon monoxide, there have been multiple accounts of people becoming ill after accidentally eating the bristles from those thick metal BBQ cleaning brushes. In 2015, a man in Canada ended up with a pulmonary embolism and a pierced intestine as the result of swallowing one.
Which is fine, because you can protect yourself with sunscreen, right? Well, a study from earlier this year found that the majority of people don’t actually know how to use sunscreen. (You should be putting it on 15 to 30 minutes before going outside, then reapplying every two hours, or when you get wet/sweaty.) But even that won’t save you from getting sunburn on your fucking eyeballs.
Sunscreen also probably isn’t great for the environment. Hawaii recently passed a ban on the sale of certain sunscreens, as they contain chemicals that might cause coral bleaching, which is very, very bad for the planet.
Summer brings all kinds of tiny nightmare creatures with it. Bugs like cockroaches and flies (which are gross), and wasps, ticks and mosquitoes (which are gross and can kill you) are all more common in the summer months.
Mosquitoes, in addition to making it impossible to sleep when you hear that little “zzpht” sound in your ear, are the most dangerous animal on the planet. Depending on where you are in the world, getting bitten by a mosquito can lead to things like Zika, West Nile, malaria, and dengue fever. And thanks to climate change, their numbers are on the rise.
They’re more dangerous than murderers, lions, and ghosts. But I feel like people would be less calm if there was a season that brought about an increase in those things.
Oh, scratch that last point, because there are actually more murderers around in the summer too.
This is because heat makes people more aggressive and more likely to interact with other humans, creating a lethal cocktail. According to a 2009 analysis by the New York Times, you’re most likely to get murdered (in New York, at least) on a Saturday in September around 10 PM.
ALL THE OTHER CRIME
FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES
Getting drunk. Paddle boarding. Zip lining. Playing with frisbees. Banana boating. Moving around in any kind of capacity. Slip and slides. ATVs. Kayaking. Visiting Disney World. Hiking. Water slides. Cycling. Road tripping. All of these things can hurt and/or kill you.
HAVING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
School is a godsend in terms of childcare. It gets the kids out of the house for about eight hours a day, leaving you, as a parent, some time to earn money in a miserable job so you can afford food and rent and clothing for some tiny people who are going to hate you as soon as they're old enough to form an opinion.
But during the summer, that childcare evaporates, with most schools taking a break of around ten weeks. For many low-income families and people without relatives to help look after their kids, this means taking a gigantic financial hit.
Which can have educational consequences, too. The kinds of things rich kids do during the summer months (summer camps and other programs) generally have an educational component to them. Kids who can't afford to do those things often suffer from what's known as summer learning loss, putting them behind their wealthier classmates when school resumes.
Fuck hot weather. I challenge anyone who says they like it to tell me that while accidentally brushing their exposed belly skin against a seatbelt buckle that’s been heated to 140 degrees. It’s oppressive, it’s exhausting, it forces us to spend tons of money on air conditioning, it makes some people ill and kills others, it makes huge chunks of forest burst into flames, and it’s contributing to the refugee crisis.
And, as you know, it’s only going to get worse.
A bad bout of hay fever can be as debilitating as the flu. It makes it impossible to work or relax or sleep or do much of anything. Studies have shown it can lead to depression and anxiety and driving under the influence of hay fever is about as dangerous as driving while drunk.
To conclude: Summer is inarguably lacking in positive qualities. I would say bring on winter, but that's no picnic either. Winter has people freezing to death, dying in house fires, and taking part in a completely different set of dangerous recreational activities.
Maybe it's just being alive that's bad.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Jamie Lee Curtis Taete on Instagram.