Running From The Light


I’m not sure how old I was the first time I heard people joke about the weather in Wisconsin. It probably wasn’t until Elementary School that the jokes made real sense to me. My dad has always told me that I’ve understood humor since I was a toddler. His reasoning for this was that I knew when to laugh at jokes, even the adult ones. But there’s a difference between laughing at a joke and understanding one.


One of the constant jibes you’ll hear about the weather here is that it appears to be bipolar in nature. In a week’s time you can experience all four seasons. This is especially true in the Spring when you can go from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of hours. Even though it was the end of July, the oddity of Wisconsin weather was in full affect.


On Monday we had overcast skies, a high of forty-nine, and a low of thirty-seven. Today we managed to hit a high of ninety-four with eighty percent humidity. Even as I sit in Chuck’s parent’s cabin, a cabin that has air conditioning, I can still feel the sweat that soaked into my cotton t-shirt hours ago stick to my skin. What else is there to say besides “welcome to the northwoods of Wisconsin.”


“You alright? We were starting to wonder if you fell in.” Chuck said to me as I exited the bathroom. The remark earned a laugh from the boys and a backhanded slap to the shoulder from his girlfriend Wendy. “What? He was in there so long that I thought he was taking home the Steiny tonight for sure.”


The Steiny was an award we made up back in Middle School after a classmate of ours named Markus Stein. He had been a frail looking kid who also happened to have narcolepsy. While other kids teased him by calling him names like Marko Narco and Sleep’N’Stein, we were secretly mean to him by naming an undesirable award after him for the first person to fall asleep at a party. Although I didn’t realize how mean this was at the time, looking back on it now, it was a real dick move on our part.


It’s funny how stupid and bizarre traditions like the Steiny can live on in friend groups. We came up with that in sixth grade. How old would that have made us? Twelve? No, we would have been eleven when we came up with that shit. Here we are now, fourteen years later, still referencing a joke aimed at a poor kid with a sleeping disorder.


“I might take home the Steiny tonight,” I said ignoring his first question, “but it won’t be by passing out drunk on the toilet. You fuckers have already been knocked out, but I’ve got to roll against Adair tomorrow and I’m still in the boom-run as well. I’ll need a good night’s rest and a clear head if I stand any chance.”


“Come on now,” Greg said with a laugh. “You’ve got no chance against Adair and you’ve already won the boom three years running. Getting pissed tonight will make it more of a competition, and it will also make your annual visit a little more fun.”


Greg had a point. Not about giving the competition a chance, that was nonsense. He was right about me needing to enjoy my limite