Before spring arrives the subject of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) cannot be avoided in the media and in catalogs delivered through the mail. The short days and fewer hours of sunshine are to blame for everything from grumpiness to frigidity. Devices such as Happy Lights are offered to counteract the effects of SAD by mimicking the sun’s rays to improve mood, sharpen focus, decrease depression, and increase profits for companies offering such gewgaws.
But what about when the winter of our discontent gives way to the heat wave that knows no relent? Where are the consumer advocates, health professionals, and hucksters warning about the dangers of Giddy Lack of Absolute Darkness (GLAD)?
The victims can be found everywhere beginning Memorial Day. Observe the deleterious effect of attending too many picnics basking on the patios of relatives as the helpless guests reel away from the table after swallowing indigestible frankfurters and diarrhea-inducing homemade pickles. They would be better off chomping away in a shaded dinette, preferably one near a bathroom.
Riding relentlessly on lawn mowers, endlessly circling the house, are the sun-dazed scalpers mesmerized into repeating their arcs even though it hasn’t rained in three weeks and the landscape resembles the Mojave at its bleakest. The best cure for these fevered ones is to pry their hands off the wheel or paddles and prop them in front of a vacuum cleaner set at the lowest height so they can continue their whacking indoors until either the nap is gone or their naptime is here.
The cold turkey approach is also best for those who purposely bake fore and aft in the backyard or near the shoreline. Cover them with a blanket and lock them in a room with the curtains drawn to read Darkness at Noon with a black light. For those pathetic individuals who might find this too much of a shock, a transitional step is suggested by temporarily putting them in a decompression chamber where they can let the air out of beach balls while watching a video of Beach Party Eclipse through smoked glasses.
Treating the obsessive ones who feel a compulsion to douse themselves with sunscreen from May through September with ice baths, electroshock, or shouting into a megaphone “You don’t need two coats of SPF 45 in a thunderstorm!” are considered less effective than entering the misguided soul in a mud wrestling decathlon.
Wives who have grown tired of questioning mates why they roast in fishing boats all day squinting through the water’s glare in order to bring home little more than soiled clothes and a robust vocabulary of billingsgate may find the antidote to this passion in the glow-in-the-dark rowing machine for the den that comes with an atomizer in the oarlocks which squirts out a choice of aromas (Blatant Bass, Whewy Walleye, or Pungent Pike).
The easy riders who cannot get enough wind in their hair and bugs in their teeth are tough to cure and hard to pin down because they zealously follow Sol into the horizon every waking moment. Positive results have come if those recovering from spills awaken in a mortuary with a casket on wheels nearby and an organ is accompanying a soloist mournfully rendering a version of Bob Seger’s anthem to the open road, “Roll Me Away.”
When the entire family is addicted to biking, water skiing, hiking, attending carnivals, fairs, amusement parks, and engaging in other sunny pursuits, research now suggests that activities like blind man’s buff or indoor parades with each participant wearing eye patches while waving the Jolly Roger and shouting “Yo Ho Ho and stop bumping into me” to be effective alternatives. Planning vacations at Cave of the Mounds or exploring coal mines are also recommended.
To those fresh air fiends who complain that this elegy to indoor life is taking all the joy out of the sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows associated with summer one reminder is instructive: no one ever developed basal cell carcinoma from painting the basement a paler shade of gray.