COLUMN: August

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to CacheValleyDaily.com. Harry is a resident of Logan and an alumnus of Utah State University. He can be reached via email at hacaines@gmail.com. His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees. 

<em>“August rain: the best of summer is gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd, uneven time.”</em>

—Sylvia Plath

There is only one month in the Gregorian calendar that has no holidays for Americans. August. 31 days, nearly all of them blistering hot and not one of those days can be pointed to as a focal point for celebration or revelry.

You can’t even point to a fake holiday for some form of commemoration like St. Valentine’s Day, or Cinco de Mayo, or Pioneer Day. Nothing. You either have to know someone born in August and make a big deal of their birthday, or, just randomly get together with friends and carouse being alive, sweaty and broke from paying off your air conditioning bill.

Funny, but sitting here typing these words, I can think of no one close to me born in August. When you take into consideration that August is the month with the highest birthrate, I would think that one person within my inner-realm would have been born then.

August: when the excitement of the coming summer gives way to the desire for the damnable season to be over with. The month when you adopt a different baseball team if your squad has the worst record in baseball. My team is the Philadelphia Phillies. On Wednesday morning, they had a record of 34-64. I am adopting the Tampa Bay Rays for the remainder of the season—because no one in the Tampa Bay region cares about the Rays and they pay their players $8.25 an hour.

August, the month that is plagued with NFL pre-season games. There is nothing more banal than the NFL pre-season. Fans essentially spend the entire month hoping the best players on their team do not blow out a knee.

Add to that, the incessant television commercials appealing to men to join 693 fantasy football leagues. I engaged in fantasy football for two decades. I spent August scouting guys for my draft that would end up being traded by October. I quit playing fantasy football in 2010. Good decision, but it did make August even more boring.

Living in Utah, football is not just a glimmer of hope for the coming of September. High school football starts in August in the Beehive State. In Cache Valley, this will be a very special year for the scholastic sports. With the opening of Green Canyon High School, there will be five high school football teams. They are all in the same region. So, they play each other. That will be fun.

From time to time, college football starts in August. That happens again this year. On the last Saturday in August, the 26th day of the month, a small slate of mostly unremarkable games will start off the 2017 college football season. The highlight for local fans on that day will be watching BYU play Portland State.

Anyone want to bet that when BYU wins that game by 35 that the Zoobs will swarm onto social media to talk about how great this year’s team will be?

As a kid, no one watched TV in August. It was the month on reruns. ABC, NBC and CBS would dump some shows that never made the cut for the regular schedule in August. This was the equivalent of watching the 4th quarter of an NFL preseason game. They were not good enough to make the team and the lack of quality was apparent.

Now, in the age of streaming services, high quality shows can be released in August. And, my one true guilty TV pleasure, “Big Brother”, is a daily must watch for me. Occasionally sitting in front of my lap top watching the houseguests on Big Brother sitting around doing nothing but making snarky comments the entire month of August is an act I have much empathy for.

August is usually a slow news month. Most politicians in Washington, D.C. are on recess. And in odd-numbered years there are very few elections that grab the nation’s attention. This is is destined to be different in 2017. The President of the United States is not only mentally imbalanced, but he also is openly obstructing justice to avoid his capitulation with Russia to be found out in its entirety.

The only president to resign the office, Richard Nixon, did so in August. Just sayin’.

This August holds one event that I am looking forward to. The <a href=”https://smileeventproductions.com/beaver-mountain-music-festival/line-up#friday-august-18″ target=”_blank”>Beaver Mountain Music Festival</a> will take place the weekend of the 18th. For two days—possibly three if I find it hard to wake up on Sunday—I will camp, hike and listen to great music from a variety of musical acts from around the country. My motley crew will no doubt make this experience memorable. And if not, well, it is August. I probably would not have done anything else of note.

August sucks, which is odd given where the name of the month comes from. August is named for the Roman Emperor Octavian, who is sometimes referred to Caesar Augustus. Augustus was one of the true, historically great leaders. He deserved better than to have has legacy tied to a month with no holidays and oppressive heat.

Augustus also made the word august an adjective. An august person is considered highly venerable and admired by many. To separate the proper noun from the adjective, you should place the accent on the second syllable when using a lowercase “a”. It sounds like robust.

No one writes songs about August. The only poems I can find about August are grim and regretful. Also, all proper nouns with two u’s in them just look weird. August is not for the artistic.

August is unloved, unsung and nothing more than a bridge to a month of much more substance and romanticism. September.

August. Such a boring month that I did not even give any thought to a funny or punny name for this column. I just named it “August”. It seemed appropriate.

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