Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 08.13.11
Stanstead, Quebec


Summer 2011: I wanna know what glub is

How would you describe your summer so far? Has it been "I've been swimming in my pool a few times" okay? Or "I've been skinny-dipping in my pool a few times" excellent? Or maybe even "I've been skinny-dipping in my neighbour's pool a few times when they're not home" downright awesome?

But really, how would you describe this summer? Can it, in fact, be summarized? Or should that be "summer-ized"?

Either way, it's rare to be able to capture the essence of an entire season in, say, a single word. The most famous example, of course, is the Summer of Love back in 1967. I was a year-and-a-half old at the time, so I don't remember the Summer of Love. For me, 1967 was the Summer of Being Adorable.

But enough about me and my enduring allure. Let's get back to iconic seasons. There are actually very few of them.

Besides your Summer of Love, you have your Winter of Discontent, your Spring of Hope, and, of course, your Fall of the House of Usher.

Worth mentioning as well is the Prague Spring of 1968, which ended with the crushing of liberal reforms under the heels of the Soviets. This is not to be confused with the Frog Spring of 1999, which ended with the crushing of several small amphibians under the wheels of my Ford Tempo.

But what about this season? Will it stand out in history as an iconic period? If so, whatever shall we call it?

In keeping with my opening query, how about the Summer of Glub? That's the sound people make as they jump into strangers' backyard pools, which, according to The Globe & Mail, is happening across heat-stricken North America. (The paper neglects to report on whether they are suited or unsuited.)

People are going so far as to break into municipal pools after hours. This is a serious problem because, with no proper supervision, people are failing to wait half an hour after a meal before swimming, and they're peeing in the pool with impunity. Where they're getting their hands on the impunity is anyone's guess.

Perhaps the Summer of Huh? is an apt epithet. Certainly the Summer of Huh? would capture the head-scratching nature of events this summer:

  • death by mud-wrap;

    the debt squealing crisis;

  • the emergence of the word "haboob" to describe dust storms, because simply calling them "dust storms" clearly isn't smutty enough;

  • my children's inability to follow the simple directive whereby if you take a cold Pepsi from the fridge, you replace it;

  • Montreal's entire infrastructure disappearing into a vast sinkhole.
Oops, wait, that last one doesn't happen until later this summer.

How about this: the Summer of Tubs, as in "tubs of ice cream." Rarely has more ice cream been eaten than in the summer of 2011.

Ice cream consumption is sky-rocketing, and not limited to any particular flavour: Cookies 'n Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Heavenly Hash -- all of it being voraciously devoured, an unfettered frenzy of frozen foodstuff, a milk-fat meltdown, a lactose luxuriance, a... oh, wait, that's just me.

Maybe the ice cream is just the anxiety talking -- or binging, as the case may be. In that respect, perhaps we should call 2011 the Summer of Ugh. After all, who hasn't grunted in consternation this summer while being pummeled by news of famine, killing sprees, the insidious way the Conservative government has made Canadians look askance at their immigrant neighbours as potential war criminals, the Tea Party, ongoing chaos in the Middle East, the Tea Party, famine, the Tea Party.


Maybe what we need as a society is to spend the rest of the summer focused on luxuriant, non-mud-wrap pampering, something involving lotions, hand care and beauty bars with one-quarter moisturizing cream.

Yes, the Summer of Dove.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my neighbours have foolishly left their pool unguarded.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at