by Isabel Hardwig
[originally published April 22, 2022]
It’s been a week since it snowed, people are throwing Frisbees in circles, and I just cut my toenails for the first time in 3 months, so summer is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER here at Oberlin College!
I was really excited to have a hot girl summer. It feels like all my friends are constantly talking about their hot girl summers and other things that sound like a really productive use of the warmer months. So you can imagine my disappointment when I learned that this summer my hometown’s going to have a huge uptick in supervillains, and all of their villainous speeches will include commonly-misused words like “irregardless” and “inflammable.” Sorry to break it to you, gang, but it looks like this one’s gonna be another WordGirl summer for me.
I’m upset about this too, believe me. Historically, most of my summers have followed the same patterns. Take a look at these figures.
Hot girl summers: 0
WordGirl summers: 19
Those are some severely imbalanced statistics. In fact, some would say that my WordGirl summers are kind of eating into the space that should be allotted for hot girl summers. I’m right there with you. My goal was to even out these categories a bit, and maybe even start a new chapter of my life where I could have majority hot girl summers with few, if any, WordGirl summers.
I’m really not as passionate about WordGirl summers as I used to be. When I was a kid, there was nothing better than running around in a cape all day, telling local kids to listen hard for the word “flabbergasted” because I was going to use the word “flabbergasted” at least twice and they better be listening or they were never going to learn how to read. But these days it’s kind of like, whatever, you know? If people want to say “poisonous” when they really mean “venomous,” I think they should be allowed to. It’s a free country. And if they want to rob a bank while doing it? Oh my god, be my guest. Those things are insured. Literally nothing will even happen to them. (See how I just used “literally” when talking about something nonliteral? I’m fine with doing that now, because I’m an adult).
I’m not denying that some parts of WordGirl summers still have their charm. I’ve got nothing against educating children about words. I’m still a big fan of words, and I use them every day. Kristen Schaal was in 8 episodes of WordGirl between 2010 and 2015, so that’s pretty fun. You never know when Kristen Schaal is going to pop up on an IMDB page, and it’s always exciting.
But at some point the WordGirl summers have to start winding down, you know? When you see a 10-year-old having a WordGirl summer, it’s always a good time, but a grown woman having a WordGirl summer is just not that cute. Maybe you’d start wondering why WordGirl hasn’t gotten a real job yet, or if there isn’t anything better she could be doing like, I don’t know, having a hot girl summer for once.
My parents keep saying to me, “everyone has a lot of WordGirl summers before they have any hot girl summers, it’s just something you have to get through.” But it really seems like I’m the only one who’s having WordGirl summers, and most of the people I’ve talked to have never had a single WordGirl summer. It feels like the burden of WordGirl summers is pretty consistently falling on me, and I think I’ve had more than my fair share of them. If you want to have a WordGirl summer, be my guest. I’ll give you the cape myself. There’s only three words that I want to use this summer, and they’re bang, screw, and boink.