LESLIE CRISS: Southern summers too hot to handle

By Leslie Criss

“It ain’t the heat; it’s the humility.”
- Yogi Berra

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”
– Stephen Wright

I’ve never tried to fry an egg on hot pavement during a Mississippi summer, but I’m told it can be done.
In fact, the humidity was so unbearably high the other day, I believe an egg could have been poached.
The walk across a parking lot from car to door these days is tough going. Any attempt at yard work is risking heat stroke.
And when I couldn’t sleep and was up and on the computer at 4 last Thursday morning, I was horrified to see the temperature that early, in the dark, was 71 degrees.
It simply doesn’t cool off, even when the sun goes down.
And I, for one, am tired of this summer that only began in earnest a week ago.
It’s going to be a long, hot one. And I am not happy about that.
When I was a little girl, my family would travel to Arizona some summers in a car with no air conditioning. I don’t recall short tempers or heat strokes among us. But thinking back on that time makes me awfully uncomfortable.
And my first three years of teaching junior high kids on the Gulf Coast, the only air conditioner was in the principal’s office. How kids learned – and how teachers taught – remains a mystery. And a miracle.
I shudder to think of those days.
Rather than wallow in my sweltering suffering, I’ve searched for some suggestions on cooling off.
And I’m happy to share.
- Eat to sweat. Though this one makes absolutely no sense to me, I’ve heard this tip more than once. Apparently, when we eat hot, spicy foods, we sweat but our body temperatures do not rise.
Scientists say when we sweat, we will feel cooler as the sweat evaporates. It will feel even better if, while sweating, we plop down right in front of a fan.
- Cool heat-radiating body parts. That would be the hands, feet, face and ears. I’m told if we stick just our feet into a bucket of ice cold water, we’ll feel better.
- Try a heat-snorkeling system. This one puts me in mind of something kids would do to be funny. Fill a glass with ice, hold it to your mouth and blow into the cup. I get it – this would be like having your own personal, hand-held air conditioner. No wattage. No electric bill.
- Don’t move. Moving around while hot makes one hotter. This suggestion, however, does not seem practical. Sitting still from June until mid-September just won’t work for most of us.
- Veg out. Slice a thin piece of cold cucumber and stick it in the middle of your forehead. Just remember it’s there before answering the door. I promise I did not make this stuff up.
- Practice positive imaging. Think cool. Read books that take place in winter and somewhere it’s freezing cold. Watch Christmas movies or “March of the Penguins.” This might work since you’ll also have to sit still to read or watch.
- Pray for an early fall.
- Imagine making snow angels.
Hope this helps. Stay cool.
Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@ djournal.com or (662) 678-1584.