This summer I will listen to baseball games on an AM radio while dozing in a hammock as a tall, sweating glass of lemonade rises and falls on my stomach with my breathing. The ice cubes will tinkle like wind chimes when I wake, with a start, to some ancient announcer shouting, "Tell Aunt Biddy to feed the kitty, 'cause that ball is gone!" Then I'll fall back to sleep.
I will buy one packet of Topps baseball cards this summer and peel open the wrapper, hoping to get an Ichiro Suzuki—only to find, instead, three Armando Almanzas, which I will clothespin to the front fork of the green Schwinn that I plan to buy this summer.
This summer I will play softball with my buddies in suburban parks with chain-link outfield fences, and we will drink Coors Light while getting 10-runned by lumberjacks. I will watch the games from rightfield through the airholes in the crown of my cap, which I will hold in front of my face to keep the gnats away. Then I will ride my Schwinn home with my mitt dangling from the handlebars, stopping at Dairy Queen for a Scrumpdillyishus bar, which I will eat in the parking lot, in full uniform, like a 6'4" Little Leaguer.
I will play pickup basketball games this summer on the baking asphalt of a brick-oven urban playground, and my sweet jump shot will make the chain net sway like the grass skirt on a hula dancer. All the while, on my Samsonite-sized boom box, Earth Wind & Fire will sing September.
This summer I will leave work at two o'clock on a Tuesday, citing a dental appointment, only to hit beautiful arcing draws and fades for three hours on a driving range out by the airport. Then on Saturday, full of hope, I will shoot 103 on some municipal goat track and pinch a nerve in my neck.
I will watch fat men sweat through gray T-shirts at an NFL training camp this summer while I sit comfortably in an aluminum-framed lawn chair. There I will drink beers kept cold by a foam-rubber can cozy and fan myself with a roster of rookies who just might—I will allow myself to believe—put the Vikings back in the Super Bowl.
I will fall off a skateboard sometime this summer and break my arm at a really cool angle. I will wear a cast that all my friends will sign and that women will find sexy. I will tell everyone that I broke it hang gliding.
This summer I will set my alarm on a Sunday morning to watch Breakfast at Wimbledon and see Bud Collins, in pants evidently cut from a Holiday Inn bedspread, interview a victorious Pete Sampras, a tradition that I always find comforting. Then, five hours after waking up, I will make several abortive efforts to get out of bed.
I will wait for the NBA Finals to conclude this summer in some oppressively hot city. As celebrating citizens light up the night with gunfire and blazing squad cars, I will watch the 10 o'clock news and be glad that I don't live there. Because this summer I will have no greater concern than how to cut my lawn in those diagonal stripes of contrasting shades you see in major league stadiums. On that grass I will throw lawn darts and play croquet and make a Wiffle ball move like a moth in a maelstrom.
This summer I will buy live bait and sandwiches, served up by the same hands in a shack by the side of the road. Then I will fish from a dock with my feet in the water and my back resting on an Igloo cooler. In eight hours I will catch nothing but a buzz.