Rating Summer’s Performance

22Aug09

Season Fails to Meet Expectations
86 degrees
Welcome, Summer. Thanks for finally putting in an appearance here in the northeastern United States. Now that you’ve deigned to show up, step into my office. As you know, it’s time for your annual performance review. And you might want to loosen that tie, because things are going to get a little hot, no thanks to you.

Sure, knowing that this review was scheduled, you’ve gone all out in the last few days. But we’re not falling for it. Despite your recent blaze of activity, your performance since June has frankly left us cold.

First we need to address your increasing problem with tardiness. We all know that May in New England is overrated, but there was a time when we could count on your showing up around Memorial Day. We can remember years when we opened all of our windows on June 1 and didn’t close them until after Labor Day.

What’s that you say, Summer? Ok, fair enough. You’re not officially on the clock until the solstice, around June 21. But there was a time when you didn’t settle for just doing the bare minimum. We’d come to expect more from you – that you’d get down to work by mid-June at the latest. But in recent years you’ve gotten less and less punctual. Spring FlamingoThis year, you kept us pining for your arrival until the Dog Days of August – about the time that you used to start looking for your coat in anticipation of leaving.

Tardiness hasn’t been your only problem. For most of June 2009, you just didn’t show up at all. According to the Boston Globe, there were exactly four dry days between June 5 and June 30. Without you to chase away all those clouds and rain, some days we had trouble achieving 60 degrees, even in late June. That’s not like you, Summer. We expect that of your colleague, Spring, but we count on you to do better than that.

You would do well to emulate the work ethic of your co-worker, Old Man Winter. Granted, his job is very different from yours. But he showed up every day that he was scheduled. Natural ice sculptureHe even took on some of Spring’s workload when she couldn’t be bothered showing up last April and May. It’s called being a team player, Summer. Learn from the Old Man’s example.

We also need to address a specific behavior that you have exhibited. It only happened once, but we believe in nipping these things in the bud before they become habitual.

I think you know what we’re talking about – that little episode on Friday, July 31 – your so-called “microburst.” What was that all about? Running around town ripping up trees by the roots, yanking down branches and leaving them where they fell. Such behavior is unacceptable and future outbursts, micro or otherwise, will not be tolerated.

You’re usually a bright guy, Summer. You’ve no doubt gotten the message that we think your performance this year has left a lot to be desired. But we don’t mean to be hard-liners about this. We understand that nobody’s perfect. We don’t expect anyone to show up bright and sunny every single day.

As you know, Labor Day, your unofficial last day on the job, will be late this year, falling on Monday, September 7. We hope that you will take advantage of this golden opportunity to redeem yourself. The extra week, depending on what you decide to do with it, could go a long way toward erasing the memory of your earlier dismal performance.

Look, Summer. Were not asking for perfection, just a return to your former consistency: more sun than clouds, and temperatures around 80 degrees – with a few 90s here and there just so we can get some use out of the pool and the AC or have an excuse to go to the beach.

In short, we just want you to be yourself. Is that so much to ask?

[This column originally appeared in the August 20, 2009 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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