Opinion Columns & Blogs

WALKER: Smack dab in dog days

I think of myself as a realist trending toward optimism. Maybe others don’t see me this way, but that’s the way I think I am. I hope I’m right about myself, but I must quickly add it’s hard to be optimistic about anything when you are smack dab in dog days. Yes, if you didn’t know, they start in mid-July and go through September.

Frankly, my view is that there isn’t much reason to commend July. I can really think of only two things. It does have Independence Day and the Walker Family Reunion (which doesn’t help you non-Walker readers, leaving you with only July 4th). Both have already passed, but we will have both next year, so I will go ahead and write about them.

Independence Day. It’s the day we celebrate our independence and honor our veterans (we should do that every day) and is by far the biggest positive about July. But, with Independence Day celebrations also come the fireworks which, once again, are legal -- and, once again, are causing controversy. Let’s take a cursory look at this problem.

Frankly, I think it was better when the fireworks were illegal and folks that cared enough slipped into South Carolina, or some other more enlightened place, and bought their wares. When the cherry bombs, bottle rockets and the like were illegal, at least the pyro-poppers stopped their show at a reasonable hour. You know, you have to be a little nervous when you’re doing something illegal and you’re making a big ruckus about it. It appears to me that we didn’t have as many problems under the old firecracker system as we’ve had the first year under the new system.

Another thing July has going for it, at least as to we members of the John F. Walker family, is the Walker Family Reunion. It’s on the first Sunday in July in rural Washington County. Most of the time, it’s hot as a firecracker. But, in the balance, at least for us, it’s a plus for July, which needs all the help it can get.

Lordy, Lordy, after July comes August. And, with August, you are in the middle of dog days. As I said, I believe I tend toward optimism and am a positive person, so I want to say something good about August, but the bottom-line truth is that it’s miserable. Let’s see.

August. Well it’s named in honor of the Roman Emperor Augustus. This is how the naming came about: During Augustus’ reign, the Roman Senate lengthened the month to 31 days, taking a day from February. They named the eighth month for Augustus, who must have been a popular or effective (or both) senator, or he must have known something on the other senators (or some of them), so they named the eighth month for him. I don’t think they did him any great favor.

I wish the Roman Senate had left the additional day in February, which is usually a pretty nice month with basketball, hunting, improving weather, etc. and not added it to August. I see that either this was a joke played on Augustus or the Roman Senate was making mistakes back then, just like our United States Senate is today.

Well, we do have September after August. Think football, cooler weather (we have hope), school is back in session, life is in a routine and there is some return to normalcy.

Let me add a cautionary note about dog days. Do not cut your hand peeling tomatoes or peaches, get your finger caught in a car door or step on a nail during dog days lest it, the injury, immediately become infected. But if you do, tie a rag (or medical gauze) around the injury and soak the cloth in kerosene (you can get kerosene at Ace Hardware -- I know, I bought some there) and it will get well quickly and, usually, with no swelling or pain.

I have learned one thing from this and that is you can subtract and add days to months. With that in mind, I’m going to request that our two senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, take five days from July and add to October and take 10 days from August and add to April. I don’t think naming the expanded months for either of them will be necessary.

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry, Georgia. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly, and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com.