Memorial Day has come and gone, which means the God of all seasons is upon us: summer. Over the next few weeks you’re going to see a lot of lists that tell you what to do this summer, but none of them are going to tell you how to do it. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some kind of ancient book that had guidelines for living as well as weird stories about grown men living in the stomachs of fish?
Never fear. I’m here to inject a little Judeo-Christian wisdom into your world with The Ten Commandments of New York Summer, passed down to me by the God of Summer himself —who, in case you’re wondering, looks like a giant can of beer wrapped in a Brokelyn™ koozie.
1.Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
When it comes to seasons, summer is the ultimate: the Truth, the Light, the Way. For the next three months you are its bitch and you will act accordingly. You must forsake the gods of Netflix and Sweatpants to honor to the beach-going, lemonade-sipping, mom short-wearing queen of the scene. (Don’t worry, the lazy day gods will be there waiting for you when the days get short again, for they are good, merciful gods.)
2.Thou shalt not make false idols.
Remember when there were two feet of snow on the ground? Remember when you turned onto an avenue and the wind made you feel like you were naked at the top of Everest? Don’t spend summer wishing for other seasons, because they’re never as good when you’re inside them anyway. Also, fall fucking blows.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.
Do not curse the heat. Do NOT say “It’s not the heat– it’s the humidity!” Not only are those wildly uninteresting things to say, but they also make everyone around you more aware of how fucking hot it is. If you take the name of summer in vain, I wish upon you a plague of dueling ice cream trucks on your block whose songs never quite sync up.
4. Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.
The perfect summer play day is sacred — treat it as such. Summer is not meant to be enjoyed in small sips, but in Big Gulps. Sipping is for hot drinks. Don’t be a baby, chug that shit. There is no such thing as a “beach hour.” Take a whole mother-fucking day.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
Ah, the family vacation, a rite as old as families and vacations. Sometimes annoying, sometimes inconvenient, but don’t miss it. Maybe you go on a yearly trip or your parents come to you, but whatever version it is, summer is the best time of year to create meaningful and lasting memories with the people you love. If you’re lucky enough to still be able to pile into a car and know the exact moment you enter North Carolina not by the signs but by the radio station suddenly changing to a mix of evangelical preaching and Faith Hill, cherish it. Don’t think about all the other things you could be doing (more on that in another commandment).
6. Thou shalt not kill.
…anyone’s good vibe. If thou art around, be down to play. Summer more than any other is the season of “yes,” so be prepared to say it and say it often. Barbecue? Yes. Swimming at McCarren Pool? Hell yes. Roof beers and watch the sunset? Yes every goddamn day. Also, don’t get bent out of shape about things that don’t really matter, like the fact that Kanye and Death Cab are playing at the same time at Governor’s Ball. (Or is that just me?) There are too many fucking cool and exciting things to do, especially in this city, to waste your time complaining about the things that aren’t.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
It’s easy in all this heat to get caught up—it makes the blood boil and the brain go haywire. But don’t creep on your roommate’s girlfriend. Don’t send nudes behind your boyfriend’s back to that rad dude with a lip ring you met at Union Pool. Just don’t fucking do it. Remember that everyone looks their best in the summer (re: tan), and sure, you’ve been feeling hot and bothered since the spring. But whoever you’re eyeing is likely a pale, cranky sweater beast in the winter months when their Vitamin D levels have dropped off. Will you still love them then? Of course you won’t, you judgmental piece of shit. Move along.
8.Thou shalt not steal.
I mean like, this one is pretty good on its own. Don’t steal anything. I don’t care how broke you are, you can’t enjoy summer from jail, and somebody else probably needs to make money for their life off of the thing you think you’re getting for free.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Don’t say you’re gonna go out when you’re not. Don’t swear you’re totally down for the picnic when you know your lazy ass is going to be sitting inside watching Rick and Morty. If you’re going to jump in on a group plan then you have to commit or quit, dammit, and if you know you’re a quitter at least be forthright about it. Those of us making cupcakes for the BBQ will thank you because, hey, more cupcakes for us.
10. Thou shalt not covet.
Social media blows up in the summer, so it’s easy to feel like everyone is having a great time while you’re just sweating to death on a J train with no air-conditioning. As the FOMO surges through your bloodstream, you might be led to believe that everyone’s summer is better than yours. But I’ll tell you a secret: everyone’s summer looks better online than it does in real life. Not in a “hot dogs or legs” way, I’m just saying that on social media someone can put a boring or awful day through a pretty filter, and all you get is the end result. Also, you’re in fucking BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. Your summer is, by definition, better than everyone else’s.
And you know what’s hard to capture on camera with a Valencia wash? The feeling of endless possibility that settles over the city come June. The taste of a vanilla-chocolate swirl from an ice cream truck. That delicious, giddy feeling you get when you’re off work at 5 and there are still hours of daylight left. The bright pops of fireworks on the 4th of July because seriously who has ever taken a decent photo of a firework on a phone camera.
So go forth unto this land and make it fertile, my children, for following these commandments will allow you to pledge your love to Summer. And guess what? Summer loves you right back.