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Advice & More August 2016

Gray Matter

Crazy from the Heat

By Jody Lebel

The truth is that extreme heat causes sun poisoning, burned shoulders, and looser ear wax. Hot weather makes us irritable, violent, and depressed. In other words, the heat makes you crazy. And I'm not kidding about the ear wax thing.

I have one word for recent summers: Stupid hot. Okay, two words. What's going on? I used to love summertime. It's a time of lazing around and swinging on hammocks. It's a time of pool parties and cold watermelon. It's a time where folks are filled with the fun of the season – relaxed, amorous, and free spirited. Right? Wrong. The truth is that extreme heat causes sun poisoning, burned shoulders, and looser ear wax. Hot weather makes us irritable, violent, and depressed. In other words, the heat makes you crazy. And I'm not kidding about the ear wax thing.

I decided to go on the internet and do a little research on keeping cool and dealing with the heat. Here's what I found.  

Site #1) "The Egyptian method." This involves dampening a sheet or towel in cool water and using it as a blanket. They recommend laying the damp sheets on top of a dry towel to avoid soaking the mattress. Are they out of their minds? Has no one ever heard of mold?

Site #2) This site talked about hydration. It urged people to practice common sense in the heat: "Stay hydrated, and listen to your body.” Okay, I agree you need to stay hydrated but every drop of water I drink gathers its buddies and wakes me up at three in the morning for a trip to the loo. Listen to my body? My body says stay indoors in the AC, sprawl on the couch, and watch old movies until October.

Site #3) "Focus on aspects of your life you can control, and realize that eventually, it will cool down." Duh. That's their big advice? Wait until winter? I'm starting to get discouraged with my quest for coolness.

Site #4) This site discussed how hot weather tests our tempers and leads to increases in aggression and violence. It stated that there are more crimes reported during summer than other months and that August is actually the peak month for homicides largely due to the prevalence of heat waves. Yikes. So the take-away on this one is if you don't want to be riddled with bullets standing in line at the ice cream shop, stay home stretched out in your big recliner. Well, that's the way I took it anyway.

Site #5) The author of this site suggested we ease into the muggy weather to make heatstroke less likely. What? Maybe in Alaska you can ease into muggy weather, but I live in Florida. We can't ease into muggy weather. It jumps on us like a starving man on a pork chop.

Site #6) "Summer is a good time to hold a yard sale and clear up the clutter." Not sure what displaying your pathetic junk on little tables scattered about your front lawn has to do with keeping cool, but I decided to play along. The sign said: Garage sale today, from 10 a.m. till 95 degrees, so I stopped. As I stumbled up their blazing hot driveway, the heat swarming up my legs like a living thing, keeping my eye on that lampshade with the ball fringe, I remembered that people also hold yard sales in the fall and I made a quick u-turn back to my car.

Site #7) "Summer is a good time to take car rides." I learned two things; the seat belt makes a great branding iron, and I really only need one finger to turn the steering wheel.

Site #8) This site talked about exercise and advised me to do it in the morning or evening rather than the middle of the day to avoid the heat. What a bunch of hoo-haw. All gyms are air conditioned. Where is this site from? Sure, I like to exercise. We have a great little walking path where I live, but in that kind of heat I'm afraid I'd keel over and cook to death right there on the sidewalk.

I give up. I spent all afternoon searching for some good advice on how to beat the heat, or at least how to cope with it, but the truth is none of the sites had a WOW answer. I started asking real people for their advice on the subject and when I quizzed my girlfriend from Massachusetts she quickly emailed me back with the best suggestion I've ever heard: Marry a rich man. Hey, I know it has nothing to do with handling summer heat, but you can't say it's not great overall advice. And it did get me off the couch.

 

To balance out her dark days as a criminal court reporter, Jody Lebel writes romantic suspense novels and humorous short stories.

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