Last Call: The Big Chill For those stymied by the possibilities of the season, a summer residency on the couch is the sensible solution.
Posted on May 4, 2018 05:00am

By Stanley Bing

There are many times to inhale the content from your screen quite seriously. Many worthwhile intellectual ventures to enjoy on the 14,546,552 options now available to you over the airwaves, online, on mobile, stationary, and trans-subcutaneous platforms. But sometimes... sometimes you just want to chill.

Now, I'm aware that the word itself... chill... has been appropriated by the 800-pound visual stimulation factory whose name shall not be mentioned in this space. But no, ladies, gentlemen, and others—they've appropriated millions of eyeballs and hours and even the hearts and minds of our kiddies, but they can't take that. They can't own chill. Because we, the geniuses who brought you television in the first place, we invented chill. And we continue to hold our chill flag high, especially now. Because now? It's summer.

Let's see. What shall we do? What tasty morsels are available to us as the screen beckons? Let's climb up on our brain-free, self-indulgent cloud and take a peek. Wait! We forgot our big, fruity, vodka-infused beverage, the one in the tall, curvy, icy glass, festooned with orange chunks and a couple of weird, glowing maraschino cherries that are oh-so bad for you. Ah, that's better. What else could we have neglected? Of course! The segmented straw and the little paper umbrella. Plop! There we go. Now we're ready. Let's see what's on.

Should we go for the limited-run oddball series that didn't feel quite hard and palpable enough for the network to start the drumroll of its entry into the hallowed fall season? A few years ago, we had a show where an enormous, impenetrable dome descended on an entire town. When it came down it cut a cow in half. That was really entertaining. And sometimes, you get a chance to witness history. Back when the world still made a little sense without vodka, a new show started up at the very cusp of the season, tossed away as the flotsam of summer, with little hope that it would last any longer than the duration of this little drink which—look now!—is gone. Let's have another! It's noon somewhere, right?

Where was I? Oh yeah. It was called Survivor. Were you there at the beginning? It was pretty awesome. They ate a rat. That was a big deal back then. Now the story would die in two or three tweets, but back then? It made the front page of the newspaper. They said it tasted good, by the way. Like chicken.

But when it comes to pure flotation, nothing beats the sports of the season. Some are classy and cultivated and beg for bubbly. Others are slower but still exciting enough if your motor is on idle, like golf, which for me is like watching some slightly different species of human being doing something that no normal person can actually do, like yodeling. Entertaining to watch, though. A big scotch and water in a highball glass helps. But for glacial fun, you can't beat baseball. Baseball reeks of summer, and childhood, and humiliation in Little League. It requires beer.

I guess my point, in the end, is that there are many, many reasons to go outside and enjoy the most stimulating and evocative time of year, a time of Frisbees and barbecues and beach volleyball and swimming with dolphins and mermaids and all that good stuff, and leave your puny little screens at home to live the non-virtual life for a while. But when you get home? Wash off the sand and get back to unreality. You know how. And don't forget the cherries.

Illustration by Michael Byers | Originally published in Watch! Magazine, May-June 2018.