Summer’s Over, Dude, It’s Time for Pants

Aaron Gilbreath
6 min readJan 7, 2020

We all know you’re freezing.

To: Jack LayBack Tilsdale

From: Ryan A. O’Donahue II

Subject: Real Talk

Hey Jack,

It’s Ryan. I’m writing on behalf of numerous friends and family, and we speak from the heart when we say that it’s time to put on some pants. Have you looked outside? There’s frost on the cars here in Columbus. Fall leaves have fallen. We dig your dedication to summer vibes and summer jams. No one loves sand volleyball and a barbecue more than you. It’s part of your charm, but this hypothermic weather makes us worry about your health. Also, your appearance. You’re a forty-three year old father of two dressed in Billabong tees, board shorts and Rainbow sandals, and squirrels are scrambling past you gathering nuts. It’s time to add “Respect” to your summer Spotify playlist, because if you can’t take yourself seriously, who can?

Listen, I’m not trying to be a buzzkill. You’re my bro. We’ve been tight since sixth grade, but I have to harsh your mellow and say what no one else will: you look like a tool. We all know you want it to still be July. And May and June and August. But the earth’s axis squeezed summer right out of the northern hemisphere, which is where you live, despite your forwarding address in Fantasyland.

We all wish it was summer. You don’t think Mike, Alex and Bart and I want to keep looking at shapely lady legs? We don’t live in Ohio because we like ice, dude. We’re stuck. Exposing our chapped red calves in thirty degree weather isn’t going to change that.

This is hard for me. Hearing this must be hard for you. You can crack open a bottle of Corona with your teeth, but inside, you’re a softy. Your spirit animal’s a fucking manatee. It’s so right on. Never lose that. But also never forget that you’re going to lose sensation in your toes if you don’t put on real shoes.

You’re a sweet guy who just wants to kick back and pop a tab and let everyone know that it’s cool, bra. Life’s a beach. No worries. But we are worried. About your arms. They aren’t blue yet, but by Christmas they will be without protective layers. Being chill isn’t the same as being frostbitten, which is the real reason you stroll with your hands in your pockets.

Aaron Gilbreath

Essayist, Journalist, Burritoist. Longreads Editor. Writing: Harper’s, NYT, Slate, Paris Review, VQR, Oxford American, Kenyon Review. 3 nonfiction books.