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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Looks don’t really matter at the end of the summer, especially in North Florida. The entirety of the Gainesville population is dripping with sweat and unbothered by unkempt appearances.

We speak from experience. Picture this: You’re walking to campus early on a Wednesday morning in an attempt to beat the middle of day heat and its wrath.

Your backpack is glued to your shirt. Your clothes are no longer vestments, but rather, colorful extensions of your epidermis.

You shove your matted hair into a ponytail, finally pulling the back through a baseball cap in a Hail Mary attempt to look presentable for class.

Most may know this state of being as the “dog days of summer.” But you know better than that. You see through tired cliches and innuendo. You know these dark, brutal times as the trials of…
DARTS AND LAURELS.

If you’re a true Floridian, you know that the end of July to the beginning of August is the absolute hottest time of the year. This year in particular has been especially scorching, with temperatures in the high 90s.

The kind of hot that makes you want to enter into a committed relationship with an air conditioner. We don’t judge. In fact we bestow a laurel on the effectiveness of modern-day air conditioning units in keeping us cool. So go ahead: Feel free to shove your significant other to within an inch of falling off the bed at night. We all know who your real love is.

This was the case for much of the country, with states like New York and Illinois experiencing some of the worst heat waves in modern history. This “Second hottest July on recordmost definitely deserve a well placed dart.

Instead of lumping our criticism on the environment we will give credit to the true protagonist of the story. We serve Florida lawmaker Rick Scott a flaming dart for his frequent greenwashing and cuts to the EPA budget that have left enormous impact on the state.

Which brings us to the latest crisis. Southwest Florida remains hostage to an outbreak of red tide that has well outlasted its typical season by three months and shows no signs of weakening.

Until it abades Florida’s marine life and those who profit from it will continue to suffer. We award a laurel to the local aquariums and animal hospitals dealing with this outbreak.

Might we suggest an outing of sorts to escape from reality? This Friday marks the statewide holiday known as tax free weekend.

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Created in the late twentieth century, the event allows parents and students to save on a plethora of school supplies, repairs to equipment and clothing under $60. This year’s holiday runs from Friday to Sunday.

So we throw a laurel to tax free weekend savings.  Nothing is quite as American as duking it out over a reduced-price Macbook Air in a dingy Walmart aisle. Nothing is more Floridian than trampling over a bearded man in a tank top for the last of the pens you prefer over all others. Count us in.

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