Wednesday, August 02, 2006



Although the heat has been on nearly everyone’s mind lately, one of the most disappointing things about it has been the lack of colorful commentary.

Instead of our weathermen saying things like, “It’s hotter than a mugger’s credit card,” they simply keep giving us these little moral lessons about drinking plenty of fluids (but not colas or alcohol) and not leaving the baby or the dog inside a parked car.

Our politicians tell us to head for cooling centers, our medicos tell us to stay out of the sun. Our social workers tell the elderly to please open their windows. The elderly tell the social workers to go to hell.

I wish our news people would quit trying to teach us moral lessons. On a hot day even dogs seek the shade, and we’re probably smarter than dogs.

What follows are a few observations to help you get through this.

I like it when the squirrels are so hot they lie on the grass with all four legs spread out to the side. They look cute and I often wonder if I should try it.

We had a gutter man over to the house the other day, and during his lunch break he took a webbed chair from his van along with a large portable fan. As I looked out the window to see how he was doing, he was sitting in his chair in the shade, cigarette in one hand, cold drink in another, and enough of a breeze from his fan to flutter his hair.

I think it’s time to put away the news clips of the dog drinking water from either a water bottle or a garden hose.

When I was in elementary school I had a teacher who told us to go to the bathroom and run cold water over our wrists. I don’t recall that it did much for me back then, but I tried it just the other day and it really did give some momentary relief.

Neither my car nor my house is air-conditioned which strikes some people (most notably my kids) as terribly primitive. But I’m also free to let my body work out its own deals with the heat and it doesn’t do a bad job. Yesterday, for example, I was out watering the garden and, feeling about as hot as a pan-fried steak, I took my watering wand with its fat streams and turned it right on my head.

Feel free to use these –

As hot as …
…a flea landing on a barbecue grill
…a Snickers on the rear-window deck of a parked car
…walking barefoot on a shopping mall’s parking lot
…a priest’s ears hearing Dick Cheney’s confession
…five and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie

I just made those up so they don’t have the cachet of long-standing tradition. Naturally enough, your contributions here are encouraged. Just don’t tell me to drink eight glasses of water a day. I pee enough as it is.


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