The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Florida heat and summer schools

By : Michael Wanzie
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Why is it when a svelte, smooth-chested, swimmer-type guy goes jogging shirtless on a scorching Orlando summer day, it is said of him that his luscious perspiration, glistening in the sunlight, gleefully beckons adoring tongues to lap up his liquid masculinity from a bronzed canvas of sensual, sun-drenched flesh, but when a big boned (read: fat) guy like me does the same thing the only thought it brings to anyone’s mind is, “Christ that tub of lard sweats like a fucking pig!?”

Never mind your snarky answers. It was a rhetorical question to which I already know the answer all too well—and thus Summer is in full stride in Central Florida. Thus continues my annual stint of carefully navigating my way into various pools at various parties with my shirt still on because I have body issues regarding my man boobs. Too much information? OK then, we’ll move on.Let it be known that among my summer exploits I have tasted the much hyped Impossible Burger—a plant-based, simulated beef patty that purports to taste, look and feel to the mouth exactly like ground beef—and I am here to tell you that the scientists at Impossible Meats, Inc. have indeed achieved a minor miracle.

Not only does it taste exactly like ground beef but, if ordered medium or medium rare, it even bleeds like beef. It’s really amazing albeit a bit expensive during its rollout. It’s only available in four or five Central Florida locations, topping out at $24.95 if ordered at The Edison in Disney Springs. However, it can be obtained for as little as $12.95 at Grillers Lakeside on Lake Fairview located on OBT. Give it a try. I promise you’ll like it… a lot.

Now, WTF is up with our local school boards making kids head back to class during the single hottest month of the year, and in many counties designating a Friday of all days as the first day of class? Both are absurd premises. My pals in the system tell me that last year, after the first month of classes, many schools were officially scolded by county administrators for racking up utility bills which far exceeded the anticipated monthly average. Duh! It’s fucking 100 degrees outside and it costs money to cool a school during the hottest month of the year here in the Sunshine State!

Another disadvantage of dragging kids back to school mid-summer is that theme park and hotel employers, depending on seasonal help, still need a lot of those middle and high school students to work. Nothing about starting the Central Florida school year in early August makes any sense whatsoever. At precisely the time most kids are, understandably, craving days at the beach or in the pool or working that all-important summer job to save up for their first car—and those work hours are actually available to them because it’s the height of the tourist season—the school board interrupts with, “Stop everything you are doing! We know summer is still in full swing and this is time off for students in 49 other states, but we want you to go back to school right now. In the hottest month of the year, with tourist season still in full swing and your minds focused on the things youth should be allowed to focus on during the summer. Yes, we have concluded THIS to be the ideal time to extract your best efforts as we endeavor to educate you in direct opposition to all that most would consider to be common sense.”

I think we need more LGBTQ persons involved in our local politics, including on our school boards (I know this is a sucky segue, but just deal with it, please. After all this column started with desirably sweaty fit twinks vs. smelly chubs). We need more representation in every arena where governance occurs. The time of Patty Sheehan being a stand-out civil servant based partially on her sexual orientation has long outrun its course. Not disparaging Ms. Sheehan in any way here, just saying that in a geographical center where the percentage of the population who identifies as LGBTQ far outpaces the national average, the makeup of the body politic needs to more accurately reflect the makeup of the community at large.

Speaking of politics, August in Florida brings with it primaries for the midterm elections—Tuesday, Aug. 28, to be exact. Be a good gay, and an even better citizen, by becoming familiar with the candidates and issues and then exercising your right to vote. If you desire a bit of well-researched and well-informed voter guidance from a longtime community activist who is on the right side of all the issues from a liberal, homeless-advocacy, pro-diversity, human rights-protective and feminism standpoint you may access my dear friend Jeff Horn’s Voter Guide by visiting his Facebook page or logging onto my website at

In the meantime, if you are a Central Florida student, I apologize for the lack of wisdom on the part of the adults making decisions that affect your life. All I can tell you is that I for one am an adult who is putting great hope in your ability to do well in school, despite its ridiculous early August start time, and to do all you can to master the art of critical thinking; to keep an open mind; to be receptive to a dialogue, and perhaps even a measure of consensus in all situations and debates; to cultivate empathy for those less fortunate then yourselves; to learn the true value of diversity, then insinuate yourself into the process of making our community—and ultimately the entire country—a better place to live for ALL people, aromatic glistening bronzed beauties and smelly lard asses alike.

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