Although summer officially kicks off next week (June 20, for those following the Gregorian calendar), I was thinking of the things that always trigger that “summer” feeling, no matter what the season…
1. The Adventures of Pete & Pete
This crazy, wonderfully quirky show was one of my favorites that ran on Nickelodeon in the 90s. They were doing offbeat long before Napoleon Dynamite came along, and they were one of the first shows to have a soundtrack featuring indie bands like Baby Flamehead and Poi Dog Pondering. The one episode I remember that really captured that sweltering, dead-of-July feeling was “What We Did On Our Summer Vacation.” The episode even featured a cameo from REM frontman Michael Stipe as Captain Scrummy (bonus points if you caught the quote that I used as the post title). The plot follows Pete and Ellen as they try to track down Mr. Tastee, the mysterious neighborhood ice cream truck man.
2. Blink 182
This was my first ever concert. It was at the then-Lakewood Amphitheatre, it was hot as hell and my poor mom (who was stuck chaperoning 4 teenage girls) was bored out of her mind—but whenever I hear “Josie”, I think—Good Times.
Growing up in Oviedo, Florida, it wasn’t uncommon to be playing outside in the oppressive heat and have one of your companions suddenly freeze. They would look up, silent, straining their necks towards some invisible siren call. “I thought I heard the ice cream man,” they would say hopefully. We, too, would then stop, and listen–and when the jangly confirmation hit our ears we would scatter like roaches to our respective houses, barge inside and scream, “MOM! MOM! I NEED A DOLLAR! ICE CREAM MAN!” Grabbing the money, we ran outside and gathered like little crack addicts clutching our coins and bills. I was always envious of that one kid whose mom gave him a whole five bucks to buy one of each ice cream.
Can you guess what the most popular ice cream was? Yes, the Screwball. Apparently supposed to be cherry flavored, the plastic cone came with a little stick to eat with, and the pink slush turned purple as you got closer to the crappy, hard, blue gumball that disintegrated in your mouth. Of course, as a kid this is awesome.
Here’s a virtual Screwball to all of our inner kids, wishing we still had two whole months of no
work school. Happy summer!