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Games Bored People Play
Stuck in the seasonal doldrums? Switch on your brain and create a brand-new summer pastime

Whether it’s the heat, the extra daylight, or the overall feel of the season, summer can make people do crazy things. Or, some might argue, it inspires them. Summer can force us to be creative, especially those of us living in areas with very little to do. Sometimes, when another evening of sitting inside and watching summer reruns sounds absolutely unbearable, a little ingenuity is in order, say, taking what you have around you and reimagining it in different ways. Like the following, a couple of cheap, alternative, and original summer activities we’ve heard of that were concocted, surely, out of sheer boredom.

If you feel the need for speed, and relief from the sweltering sun, try ice blocking. What could quench your desires better than sliding down a hill on a piece of ice? Ice blocking is an inventive way to beat the heat, and answers the age-old question: What is there to do with a block of ice?

The two essentials one will need to go ice blocking are a block of ice and a grassy hill. Grass is the key word here; you want to make your ride as smooth as possible. Or not, if offroad ice blocking sounds appealing to you, but the objective is to make the ride last as long as possible, and getting stuck on twigs and roots would certainly prevent that from happening. Besides, getting stuck on a root while sailing down a hill on a block of ice would cause one to fly down the hill face-first. Which can happen with grass also, but you want whatever your face comes into contact with to be as soft and nondamaging as possible.

Towels are optional, though not necessary. At first they may seem like an accessory for wimps, but after your third ride down the hill, your numb, wet butt will thank you for that towel. Obviously, the towel should be small enough or folded enough to only cover the portion of the ice you plan on sitting on.

There are many opinions on the best way to mount a block of ice. Some favor sitting squarely on it, while others prefer to place it under their abdomen and go down headfirst, fulfilling childhood Superman fantasies along the way. The more adventurous—or intoxicated, you decide—try going down sitting backwards. It really doesn’t matter how you do it, the only thing that does matter is keeping your arms and legs off the ground long enough so they don’t interfere. So hop on that block, give yourself a push, and away you go! Think of it as summer sledding. It’s an entertaining way to kill an evening and competitive enough to be considered a team sport, and it’s always fun to break up your block of ice when you’re done by throwing it against cement. If you want to up the ante a little, try doing it naked. But don’t forget to bring a towel, or you could end up like Flick in A Christmas Story, and the fire department probably wouldn’t think it was very funny.

Another bizarre summer activity, and one that is far less advisable, is rock rolling. Rock rolling is a kind of outdoor bowling that, much like ice blocking, involves hurling objects down a hill as fast and hard as humanly possible. The appeal to rock rolling is its DIY attitude. If digging a giant boulder out of the ground with your bare hands sounds like fun, this may be the summer activity for you.

Practicioners of this “sport” say the ideal setting is a hillside crammed with as much stuff as pos- sible. Trees, shrubs, other boulders, you name it. Obviously, conscientious rock rollers make sure there are no people, animals, or structures waiting at the bottom of the hill—and that they’re not trespassing on private property. There’s nothing like a lawsuit or a trip to the hospital to kill the fun of a breezy summer evening.

After dragging said boulder to the top of a hill and heaving it down, the object is to see how many things can be knocked over, at least audibly. Points can be assigned to the various types of flora present on the hill, and also designated to the level of destruction attained. It’s cheaper than going bowling, and hey, who wants to knock over 10 measly little pins when you can take out a bush?

So on a balmy summer night when there’s seemingly nothing to do, crack open a beverage and take a cue from the young folks whose boredom drove them to invent these unique summer pastimes: Put your mind to work and create a brand-new summer activity. All one needs to survive the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer is a little resourcefulness, and a big sense of humor.

—Ashley Thiry

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