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Many people have probably noticed what seems like a small population growth in Bismarck-Mandan recently. A few months ago you could get a meal and have it in your hands in about three minutes at a fast food restaurant, but now it takes about five minutes. The streets used to be less crowded from 8:00 to 3:00. Even the mall and the supermarket are more crowded during the daytime hours. Why the population growth spurt? Well, the words 'growth spurt' should give you a clue.

The reason, of course, is school is out! Finally we kids get some chance to have a little (make that a lot of) free time to ourselves. But you say, "Don't you kids get free time during the school year?" How can we? First, kids have to keep their grades up, which means dealing with homework. Then we have to remember to do things such as washing the dishes, vacuuming, and cleaning up Rover's Christmas presents for us in the back yard. Don't forget ongoing church projects, family reunions, school activites, and lots of other very important things.

The good thing is that summer is finally here, though. Now all of us students just get to sit back and do what we love to do...be bored. This is one phrase that is used a lot by us teens, and it's now gotten to the point that it's very cool to be bored. Never since Seinfeld has doing so little been so great!

So now you may be thinking, "I don't want to be bored this summer." Neither do I. So, to help kids, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens everywhere, I'm gonna make a handy reference on things to do during the summer. And let me start it off by saying sweat. I know, it's not the most pleasant thing to hear, but it really applies to summer. When you sweat, you're probably having a lot of fun. Whether it be playing a

good game of baseball with your friends or hiking up Pikes Peak, you'll probably be enjoying yourself.

One thing you must do this summer is be outside a lot. If you're cooped up all day in your climate-controlled icebox, you'll start to get crabby, possibly get a headache, and in some cases you'll develop some nasty 'Screen Skin (patent pending) .' Screen skin is, of course, what happens when you hang on the screen door for too long. Actually, what I call screen skin is that pasty appearance that you get if you stare into a television screen or computer monitor all day, never going outside to have fun. I know there are lots of people out there who love jamming on their Macs (Don't tell me you're using anything else!) and sadly watching reruns of Seinfeld, but even the most devout indoorsman should come outside and have some fun.

Now that I've got you outside, you have a number of things you could do. You could weed the garden, trim the hedges, paint the fence, mow the lawn, collect some summer 'bags o' fun' left for you by Rover, or even reshingle the house. Even though we all enjoy these things, make sure you leave some time to do your chores.

Now that you're outside, you have to (As quoted from the movie Back to School) "look out for number one, but don't step in number two!" Ha ha! You should look out for yourself though, and that means taking some safety precautions. First of all, whenever you go outside, you should remember to put on some zinc-oxide. Having some nice white goop on your nose should be a high priority in everyone's book.

Also, never forget to pack plenty of water wherever you go. Maybe the car will break down while you're stuck in the middle of nowhere along the interstate,

watching cars go by, not stopping to help you. With water, you could (with a little cardboard and a marker) put up a little "Free Ice Water" stand, and that might encourage someone to pull over to get some water. Then they in turn might give you some assistance, or they may call the Better Business Bureau before they drink you're water to make sure your business is legitimate.

Okay, my summer fun book was pitifully small, but what do you expect to fit into 800 words? Hopefully it has you more excited about summer, and maybe my little list of fun things for you to do will make you drop that basketball and decide to have a little fun instead. Hey, does anybody want to get some early birthday presents? You can pick them up in the back yard...

Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Dinner and a movie? Contact us.
Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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