TWENTY CERTAIN signs that summer is arriving all around us:
* 1. In the booming American economy, new graduates will be delighted to find many worthwhile positions waiting for them - ironically, the very same worthwhile positions from which their parents were "downsized" only a few years ago.
* 2. Five million teen-agers will swarm to the beach at Ocean City. Two will be seen entering the ocean above their ankles. The other 4,999,998 will lie beneath the sun until their skin becomes the texture of curly fries.
* 3. Whenever the temperature tops 85 degrees, all local television stations will lead their newscasts with reporters asking people at the Inner Harbor the imaginative question, "How are you coping with the heat?"
* 4. Those pondering a campaign for governor will dash across the state: Parris Glendening, in search of people willing to acknowledge they voted for him in the last election; Ellen Sauerbrey, in search of people who have forgotten her embarrassing post-election accusations of voter fraud; Eileen Rehrmann, in search of voters who aren't familiar with her; and Ben Cardin, in search of another poll telling him whether to take a chance.
* 5. In the grand tradition of the Land of Pleasant Living, families will gather for crab feasts. They will pool all their money to purchase one dozen crabs. To do this, many will take out second mortgages on their homes.
* 6. The city of Baltimore will close numerous recreation centers. Juvenile crime will rise suddenly and dramatically. No one at City Hall will perceive the connection.
* 7. All members of the Baltimore County Council will take lengthy summer vacations from their vitally important jobs. No one will notice the difference.
* 8. Radio disc jockeys, newly arrived here from distant places such as Iowa, will tell listeners it's time to go "danny ayshin," in an attempt to imitate the locally accented cry to go "down the ocean." They will be perceived as patronizing, condescending and minus all originality. Thus, they will feel perfectly at home on the local airwaves.
* 9. Washington - oops, Landover - Redskins fans will complain about high ticket prices at the new stadium named after former 'Skins owner Jack Kent Cooke. A voice will say, "Yeah, but at least Cooke spent his own money to build a new park." The voice will not be Art Modell's.
* 10. Commissioner Tom Frazier will assert that he's doing everything to heal racial divisions in his Baltimore Police Department. Col. Ron Daniel will assert that Frazier's not. Some will call for Frazier's resignation; others will defend him. City crime will continue to go down. This will be considered strictly irrelevant.
* 11. Students across the state will get their annual 10-week break, but the poor fish at the National Aquarium will have to stay "in school."
* 12. Nearly 4 million people will migrate to Camden Yards to watch the Orioles play baseball, and to complain of difficult parking, high food prices, high drink prices, and the impossibility of getting a ticket to watch the Orioles play baseball.
* 13. Political leaders will predict - as they are this week - that slot machine gambling is on its way to Maryland, thus stopping the flow of millions of local dollars to Delaware and easing the strain on Maryland horse racing. Parris Glendening will find a way to take credit for this.
* 14. The friends of Leakin Park will tout its grand renaissance, with its hiking and biking paths, its ball fields and tennis courts, its lush greenery. But traditionalists will bemoan the loss of ancient park rituals, such as the annual summer uncovering of the bodies from late-model car trunks.
* 15. With neighborhood snowball stands opening for the season, a new generation of children will have to be advised how to avoid miniheadaches from eating too much of the ice too fast.
* 16. With Home Team Sports gathering its biggest TV audiences to watch the Orioles go for the pennant, a new generation of viewers will have to be advised how to avoid maxiheadaches from listening to Michael Reghi's nightly Festival of Baseball Cliches and Top 40 rock 'n' roll delivery.
* 17. Leaders at Baltimore City Hall will continue their imaginative and insightful discussions about raising taxes. And another 15,000 people will head for Harford County. And another 10,000 to Howard County. And another 8,000 . . .
* 18. Baltimore police will continue patrolling the streets outside Oriole Park to make certain no one breaks the law on ticket scalping. While this brilliant saturation-coverage tactic continues, actual crimes against human beings will be committed only blocks away, because all the police are working the ballpark.
* 19. Some will notice the city hasn't exactly made the most of its 200th anniversary. Leaders at City Hall, leaping into action, will declare, "Oh, was that this year?"
* 20. Schoolchildren will discover that summer vacation lasts a thousand years, and still ends too soon.
Pub Date: 6/10/97