Few moments in life evoke fond memories and liberating confidence like summer. You can almost imagine yourself staring at cloud shapes, watermelon running down your chin, sitting on the bottom of the deep end. Summer activities possess a certain idle productivity, the freedom to explore the intangible mysteries of adolescence while responsibility and heavy thoughts sit on the horizon awaiting the final sunset to fall like crimson leaves upon our red and peeling shoulders.

But those are the days of youth. Days before summer jobs and tie-clad interviews, working for that extra cash to splurge on some new wheels or an old stripper. The days before going back to school became a good thing, and your high school crush calling you turned into an annoying drunk dial from someone you can’t stand.

So now, and every year near the end of May, thousands of young adults will finish school, grab a half-case of half-quality beer, and attempt to brainstorm the perfect summer. Most of these young adults will dream big, outlandish schemes that stretch way beyond their pocketbooks, time, means, and food supplies. Ultimately, most of these dreams will die hard, because that’s just what dreams do when they’re starved to death.

But damnit THIS SUMMER IS DIFFERENT! This summer will finally be ideal! We’ll live every day as if it were the last: brewskis, bikinis, and bi-curious co-eds. And that’s before we even invite the ladies. We’ll run into the cool kids from our high school and not even have to lie when we say, “Oh you know, nothing much, just chilling.” Dad’s attempts to make us mow the lawn will be met with laughter and disdain.

And to prove that we mean business (and that you should too), we at PIC have fleshed out the plans, ideas, and complex emotions necessary to make our ideal summers a dream come true. Join us in our ambitious quest for summer fulfillment, and then tell us your story!

David Nelson – Canadian Hero
E. Mike Tuckerson – Mission Imposter
Court Sullivan – Public Pool Bum
Nathan DeGraaf – Storm Tracker
Mike Faerber – Hopeless Romantic
Chad Chamley – Unemployed Optimist
Nick Gaudio – Evil Dictator
Simonne Cullen – Amateur Photographer

DAVID NELSON – Canadian Hero

I’m the coolest kid at a run-down, but lovable summer camp, where the counselors are only interested in fooling around, and the owner is a cranky older guy who falls victim to many pranks. The rich-kids camp from across the lake buys us out, but we convince them to wager the deed to the land on the annual Camp Olympics, which we’ve never won. The fate of our camp depends on a gang of rag-tag misfits.

Things don’t go so well for us at first. We lose the first event when the rich kids drill a secret hole in our canoe, with hilarious results. On the court, our basketball team finds that someone has put poison ivy in all the jockstraps. We can’t even win the arts & crafts competition because at the last minute, all our macaroni and glitter has been replaced with fish guts.

Hoping to inspire my team, I lead a night-time raid on the rich-kids camp. We also manage to deface their beloved mascot, and the nerdy Asian kid is able to set up a secret video feed from the girl’s shower. I give a motivational speech about how the summer is our time, and our fortunes begin to change.

We win the archery competition by entering the blind kid, who gets very lucky. Our sexpot counselor distracts the opposing tennis team by doing stretches in a thong. The hot dog eating competition is won by our resident fat kid, who then pukes all over his Hawaiian shirt. The score is tied, and it all comes down to the sailing event.

It looks hopeless, because the rich kids have a state-of-the-art sailboat while we only have a dented bathtub with a sail made out of sewn-together underwear. Chad, the leader of the rich kids, is out in front, taunting us as he approaches the finish line. But a well-timed fart by yours truly surges us ahead, and we win the race, the Olympics, and the deed to our camp.

I’m a hero. All the girls want to jump me, the grateful camp owner reveals he’s actually my long-lost father, and there’s even talk of turning my story into some kind of movie…


(Editor’s Note: The following was received and transcribed via 7 text messages. Dude, where’s your internet? …WHERE’S YOUR INTERNET DUDE?!!)

Confirming summer plans for me is much like asking a 7-year-old what they want to be when they grow up: I may say I want to be a fireman, but I'm more likely to club baby seals around the Arctic Circle. What can I say? Nothing says lovin' like baby seal clubbin'.

But I digress, I simply don't describe plans until I see things in writing. Until I see plane tickets, there's little chance that I'm flying. Until I fill out a W-4, I'm not officially working. Until I find a decent price on an 8-ball of coke, I'm not snorting lines off a one-night stand.

For the sake of this article, I'll commit to the following: As of today, I'm sky-diving over the Great Barrier Reef. From which I'll swim to Malaysia and access the South China Sea. Posing as a Bible salesman, I'll infiltrate Vietnam. I'll marry a local, thus concealing my deep-cover disguise as director of an All-Vietnamese production of ” Miss Saigon.” During the debut performance, I'll link up with Jack Bauer in the season finale of 24. That's about all I can confirm at the moment…

(In hindsight, I'm glad I bought the text bundle from Cingular.)

COURT SULLIVAN – Public Pool Bum

My thoughts on an ideal summer at the public swimming pool, as expressed by my 12-year-old self:

“My god, I hope Jenny finally starts filling out that bikini top before my 13th birthday (June 5). How long can she possibly hold on to that pancake chest anyway? She would probably be the hottest girl in school if I didn’t want to pour maple syrup all over her every time I see her in the cafeteria.”

“This summer, I swear if that stupid 3rd grader cuts in front of me for the low dive one more time, I’m going to slash him across the wrist with the edge of my slap bracelet, then leave him to drown in a pool of his own blood.”

“Maybe the soda machine will malfunction and we’ll get free Grapicos whenever we want! I bet Todd could rig that piece of shit thing with his dad’s lock-pick set!”

“Rest breaks should only be 5 minutes. Seriously, I’m not in 5th grade anymore. I know how long it takes me to digest lunch. I’m going to spit in the corner of the pool for every rest break minute over 5.”

“I’m going headfirst down the slide this summer as much as I want. I don’t care what that stupid Abercrombie and Fitch, high school douchebag lifeguard says. Work on re-slathering that SPF 1, asshole.”

“I wonder if they’ll ever put in that KY slip ‘n slide. Jason told me in 6th period last year that the pool manager was thinking about it. That would rule.”

“Anyone know what happened to the high dive?”

NATHAN DEGRAAF – Storm Tracker

I live in Florida, where we have a nickname for summer. We call it, “hurricane season.” During hurricane season, it rains every day, it’s hotter than hell (I would know—I interned in hell shortly after graduating college), and the only breaks we get from the humidity and heat come in the form of freaking hurricanes. So, my ideal summer would be somewhere else. Preferably up North in say, Vermont, with a barbecue pit, hot naked women, aged Angus beef and cold beer.

But since that ain’t happening, I guess my ideal summer involves not getting hit by a hurricane, not losing power, and not having an air conditioning unit that dies in the middle of the night, causing me to wake up in a sweaty haze and ponder just exactly where my balls begin and my legs end.

Oh yeah. That would be ideal.

MIKE FAERBER – Hopeless Romantic

I feel the sun envelope me in a blanket. One that I would kick off if I was trying to sleep, but now, I let it rest on my scrawny frame. Grass
prickles the back of my neck, and it reminds me of that time Kylie rubbed her fingers there. She said she was fixing my tag, but I seriously think she was trying to make me cum
my pants. Had me fooled anyway. Speaking of which, the other day, there was some wetness after I jerked off. I’m about to have semen. That makes me excited.

I lie here, feeling like I could combust at any second, and float away like ashen remains of some junior high memory. God I’m getting old. I’m about to be in high school, going to be 15 soon, and still I’ve only had one girlfriend. She lasted a good two weeks, so maybe I should be thankful for what I have, but I just can’t help but think I’m ready for something a little more serious. Maybe even date somebody for a month. My eyelids glow red despite being closed. That keeps me aware of where I am despite being lost in a state of pure thought. What makes me think these things, it’s almost like the sun’s rays are soaking me in with thoughts of maturity, life, relaxation, sexuality, breasts, coolness, Kylie’s face, and dreams. I want to be older, be able to drive. I think my armpit hair is about to come in. That makes me excited.

My skin vibrates with heat, the same feeling you get when you first enter your mom’s van, parked in a sun-scorched parking lot. The heat penetrates you deep, chills you with warmth, and kinda makes you have to pee. Like when we went tubing down that river over Spring Break, and I just urinated all over myself. Best feeling in the world. God masturbation feels good; I can’t wait until I have sex. I bet it feels even better. It has to right? I really need a girlfriend.

Okay, I don’t need one, I just want one. Let’s not be desperate. If I stay out here long enough, I can probably get a tan. Chicks dig that right? High school is going to be different. I’m not going to stay at home all the time. I’m going to party, call people up, do stuff. It’s going to be so great. I should get some people together right now. Damn, that’s right Chris is in Mexico, and David has a job. I guess I could see if Kylie wants to go see Me, Myself, and Irene. I don’t know how we’ll get in, though. Maybe we’ll just rent Varsity Blues. I hear it has nudity in it. I bet she would let me feel her bra.

Damn it’s hot. The cicadas are buzzing loud. It’s amazing how many sounds you can hear if you really listen. Somebody just walked by with their dog, and probably wondered why I’m lying out here with no shirt on, but I’m almost 15, I don’t care. I would stay out here forever if I could. But my mom will be home soon. I’ll probably call Kylie after dinner. Right now, I think I’ll go measure my dick. It’s been almost three weeks since last time. I bet I’m at least five and a half by now. And that makes me excited.

CHAD CHAMLEY – Unemployed Optimist

Currently I’m in the right position to actually experience my ideal summer. Since I’m unemployed, I have no responsibility, meaning I
can pretty much do whatever I want and not worry about how I’ll feel the next afternoon when I wake up.

I will drink the same beverages that I drank in the winter to keep me warm, except they will now serve as refreshments used to cool me off after a
hard day of doing nothing. This drinking will most likely take place on a boat where the Hawaiian Tropic girls will serve as my crew. The “S.S. Master Baiter” will
come fully equipped with a satellite dish, a plasma HDTV, and the MLB baseball package.

When I’m not on the boat I will spend a lot of time playing one of the many yard games Minnesotans play while holding an ice cold beer. My favorites include, bean bag toss, bocce ball, washers, Polish golf, cups, sticks, waffle ball, and of course, running through the sprinkler naked. Having that cold water shoot up into your scrotum is much more satisfying than you would imagine.

A summer fling with Jennifer Anniston would also be ideal. We would meet at a summer camp and catch each other’s eye. After a few awkward encounters we would sneak off at night to go skinny dipping where we’d meet up with her hot friend, Jaime Pressly. During daytime arts and crafts I would help her mold some clay while “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers plays in the background. Then we’d come to a rocky point in our fling because she’ll know what I did last summer. But I’ll totally redeem myself by saving her from the homicidal killer in a hockey mask who tried to kill her while she was showering. She’ll then finish her shower in a nearby waterfall and then Jamie Pressly would rejoin us for a threesome in the rain.

Jennifer and I will then have to go our separate ways at the end of the summer. She’ll ask if we can stay in touch, and I will tell her yes, and give her a fake email address and phone number. The last thing I want is to do on my ideal summer is make the Hawaiian Tropic Girls jealous.

NICK GAUDIO – Evil Dictator

After reading the other writers here at PIC, you might already be asking, “Gee Nick Gaudio, what are we going to do this summer?” Well, we’re going to do the same thing we do every summer, Pinky…try and take over the world.

First you’re going to steal several million dollars from Bank of America, take three hostages, and then demand that your getaway vehicle be Snoop Dogg’s Soul Plane. Not only is it utterly pimpin’, when you fly to Africa, the bright colors will astound the locals into thinking you’re a god. The only thing I request of you is that you round up the ten hottest women you can find and force them to come along. Also, you can tell them that they won’t be needing a change of clothes; I’ll be waiting in Africa with a box full of Princess Leia costumes. Then, once we round up a few slaves, get a hold of some weapons of mass destruction and lots of S’more-flavored Schnapps, the world will fall like a deck of cards. We can kill all the men and send the ugly bitches out in the fields to cook us steaks after.

That is, if you’re a guy…and not a douchebag.

If you’re a girl…my ideal summer would be you and twelve of your hottest friends running my bath water right now and putting on something sexy. Go on. Chop chop. Oh, there’s a box of golden bikinis on my bed, y’all can use those.

SIMONNE CULLENAmateur Photographer

My ideal summer is spent dining with my friends, eating everything we want and never weighing more that 130 pounds; having unlimited credit cards attached to bills that we'll never have to pay that will be used whenever we decide to emerge from the former Aniston-Pitt residence we turned into our summer home; challenging Tiger Woods to a miniature golf championship during the Fourth of July weekend where I, and I alone will emerge victorious; and finally, ending the summer with a huge party celebrating the baptism of the TomKat baby in the pool/Jacuzzi area…. Now that I think about it, that baptism/informal BBQ will have to also involve a quick kidnapping. Don’t worry, Katie’s parents know all about it—they’ve already offered to bring the Jell-O Mold and their blessing.

Maybe my ideal summer sounds too superficial, but if you had my summer reality, which would you choose?

My summer reality. Have you ever been forced to pose for one of those novelty photos at an amusement park? Have you ever wondered where the person taking the picture came from? How they got this random “bombard the tourists for an overpriced snapshot” picture-taking job in the first place? Maybe they’re aspiring photographers trying to make a living while their photos of canyons, cloud coverage, and baby animals have been waitlisted for 2007 calendars. Perhaps these people are just serving out their community service hours as indicated in their parole hearing, or possibly some student immigration program that helps foreign student learn English, even though you have to ask them “what?” a dozen time before you realize they want to take your picture and are not trying to sell you a stolen camera. (Disney, I’m talking about you.)

Well, I’m going to save Mythbusters some time and just confirm that it’s not any of those mentioned above. Those picture-taking people, are…well, me.

And if you think I left my cozy office job to take pictures of people entering Wrigley Field because I thought it would advance my career, you’d be wrong. But after fixing my hair the other day and looking down on my bureau trying to locate the “CTRL-Z” button to undo a curl, I knew it was really time to leave my current job staring at a computer.

So now I have several odd jobs. I take pictures at Wrigley for a living. I’d take them at the Sox Park too, but that’s a serious betrayal of my religion. It’s like asking Rebello to work at Yankee Stadium taking pictures of smiling Yankee fans and not allowing him to bitch slap them afterward. Even though I’ll have to forcibly guilt families into posing for affectation purposes, I will be able to see every Cubs game, and I will have my own little pass. We’ll see if that, combined with my charms, can get me into the locker room. I really don’t mind doing odd jobs. In fact I expected it, but only because it said so on my diploma, right under my stated theater major, next to the “Good Luck You’ll Need It” section, and appropriately above the “Try and Marry Rich” paragraph.

I’m going to have to find another job obviously. But it’s going to be something short-lived, that much I can tell you…like acting in one of those Chicago gangster tours where you’ll find me in 90-degree heat wearing a flapper outfit while smoking and directing tourists to Al Capone’s favorite place to take a dump in the late 1920’s. It all comes down to an acceptance letter. If I get into a theater program, I move to LA in August; if I don’t, well, thank God baseball season drags well into October.

In the beginning of spring I told my dad I’d help him build a fence and paint it. I promised to turn myself into Tom Sawyer for two reasons. 1) My next door neighbors own a rooster, regardless of how many times I have alerted the authorities. And 2) All my neighbors spend their weekends and weeknights out there drinking, offering my dog Coronas, and watching me avoid eye contact with them as I walk from the house to the garage. Originally I discovered that the present fence (which a kindergartener could climb with monkey-like capabilities) was on their property line. This seemed to be a setback until I found out that all twelve of them living in two flats are illegal, and the legal jargon doesn’t seem to pose a problem anymore when the word “policia” is brought up in conversation.

And let me make it clear right now that I support immigrants and that if they have worked here for a significant amount of time have the right for citizenship. After all my Canadian father is an immigrant. Probably the only Canadian immigrant ever who had to marry a Mexican just to get into America. But that’s not the point. The point is that I tutor the kids across the alleyway from me. They’re legal, but their parents aren’t, and all they need is a little extra free help with their schoolwork so they can live a better life later on. It’s really rewarding too. Not only are they beginning to excel in English and math (fractions are still fucking hard btw), but occasionally I get to teach them life lessons too. Like the other day, I told them not to poke the passed out drunk bum in the alleyway with a stick like he was a piñata, but to alert the nearest legal adult to call the police instead…then run into the house and hide.

I’m sure sometime this season there will be the annual camping trip. I tend to promote campgrounds near water parks and miniature golf courses, but this year the seasoned campers going on the trip have outnumbered me and the other Wisconsin Tourist Trap lovers considerably, and we’re going camping near a park where these people can also scuba dive. Three really good friends of mine took up this hobby when they spent a semester in the Cayman Islands, and now they’ve almost acquired professional certification as Dive Master—whatever the hell that means. The only diving equipment I own are goggles and a snorkel I purchased in the toy section of Walgreen’s. I’m more of a “let’s find sea shells and pretty rocks on the beach” person than a “let’s really try to find Nemo while floating around one mile underwater with my oxygen life support system on my back” kind of gal.

But at least it’s the only place where photographers trying to take your souvenir picture won’t bombard you.

YOU – Your Summer Label

Tell us about your ideal summer in the comments!