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Everyone and his brother think August is a month of vacations, outdoor concerts, swimming pools and beaches. Nothing happens in August and journalists view it as the “silly season,” the uneventful time of year when newspapers are especially desperate for copy.
Many of them — excluding this newspaper, of course — rely on fluff to perk up their product on August’s slow, lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
To grab your attention, they resort to photographs of female office workers lifting their skirts to beat the heat, pictures of butchers cooling off on a cake of ice and polar bears wishing they were back at the North Pole. But hang on to your string bikinis and Speedo swimsuits: Did you know that historically August has been the month of extraordinary happeningsi No, it is not the month Matthew McConaughey and Colin Farrell first began to notice girls.
To illustrate, are you aware it was Aug. 23, 1939, that Russia signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germanyi This document paved the way for World War II. It was also in August when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 and the second Soviet coup erupted in 1991i
Other momentous events that occurred in August were:
• Mount Vesuvius erupting and burying Pompeii in A.D. 79
• the first atomic bomb falling on Hiroshima, Japan, and a second one, three days later, on Nagasaki in 1945, thus hastening the end of World War II
• the construction of the Berlin War in 1961
• three North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 attacking an American destroyer, provoking Congress to pass a resolution that paved the way for our involvement in the Vietnam War
• Richard Nixon resigning the presidency in 1974
• Hurricane Andrew ravishing south Florida and Louisiana in 1992 and Hurricane Katrina destroying New Orleans in 2005, the two most expensive natural disasters in United States history
• the premiere of the movie many early childhood educators consider the single most frightening film for a child to see, “Bambi,” at Radio City Music Hall in 1942
• the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, in 1962, and Elvis Presley, in 1977
And on a personal note, it was during the month of August in 1996 that Gloria asked her husband to vacuum the carpeted stairway steps. He was on the top stair, doing an august job, when the vacuum hose became entangled around his leg. Hubby tumbled down the stairs, breaking his fibula, tibia, ankle and spirit.
The surgeon said it was one of the worst leg-and-ankle breaks he had ever seen. A few pins in my leg, a hip-high cast and a pampering wife helped, and in a few months, I was as good as new, but I never vacuumed those steps again.
Incidentally, it was in 2005, while vacationing in Aruba, that Gloria fell and snapped both her ankles — in August!
Why this phenomenon in Augusti Historians offer no definitive explanations for this paradox, but there are many theories. Pick the one you like best:
• bad things happen when it gets too hot because tempers flare and emotions sizzle, so do not bother your mother-in-law until Sept. 1
• it is the ideal time for invasion-launching and coup-hatching because there is no snow or coldness for obstruction
• people’s guards are down, since their psychiatrists are on vacation
• it is an unfortunate month astrologically: As the sun moves into Leo each year, people generally become more assertive and wicked
But, if you ask me, it is the little people who live below the earth’s crust that are causing this mischief. They control our thoughts and like evil things to occur in August. Don’t you remember last August, when you could not find your other sock and your spouse would not talk to youi
And, as if you did not have anything else to worry about, let me warn you that a newly discovered comet is predicted to collide with the Earth Aug. 14, 2129. Quick, mark your calendar.
But let not your heart be troubled. Follow these simple rules in August and you will stay out of harm’s way: be alert, load up on Advil and hide under your bed, with occasional breaks, until 12:0l a.m. Sept. 1. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Gloria and I were smart. We got married Sept. 1.
Contact Alex Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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