It looked like a winter day in reverse: The windows at Arthur’s were all steamed up during the Coffee Clutchers convocation, but this time the condensation was on the outside.
Arthur and his staff had heard every complaint about the heat and humidity that they cared to.
When I drove up, Arthur was putting up a hand-scrawled sign on the front door – “NO COMPLAINING ABOUT THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY.”
He’d taken his inspiration from cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, who the other day had publicly mused, “Complaining about a hot day in Mississippi in August is like complaining water is wet.”
Inside, waitress Sandra and cook Herb had equipped our table with an empty pickle jar labeled “HEAT COMPLAINTS $1 EACH – GOS TO HELP PAY AIRE CONDITION BILL.” I sympathized with the sentiment enough to forgo correcting their spelling.
Bro. Earl (no relation) mused, “Complaining about the weather is low-level blasphemy.”
The jar caught several regulars customers by surprise, if only because so many missed the new sign atop so many others.
Pete was the first. His glasses were all fogged up from the 15-foot walk between his truck and front door.
“I don’t mind the heat, but it’s ridiculous when you have to go from measuring the air’s humidity to its viscosity,” he said as he grabbed his coffee mug from the rack.
We ragged him – “Complainer! Complainer!” until he ponied up a George Washington.
Mark, who’d bicycled over to “enjoy” one of his last student-free days of the summer, was as soaked as if he’d ridden through a thunderstorm.
“Only mad dogs and Englishmen,” he said as he trudged in, his brow dripping sweat onto his glasses. Bro. Earl proclaimed that statement a complaint, and when the rest of us hooted loudly enough, the pickle jar netted eight dimes and four nickels.
Bud’s declaration, “A man could drown in that air,” cost him a quartet of quarters after the growing crowd crowed over his lamentation.
Clyde missed the sign, too.
“I can’t understand why people will pay for saunas when they can live in Mississippi and suffer for free,” he grumbled.
“Complainer! Complainer!” several of us yelled, until he added a wadded one to the jar.
Walt’s whining took a different tack.
“If August isn’t one of God’s only mistakes, why don’t tomatoes grow in the shade?” he challenged.
“Complainer! Complainer!” we jeered, drawing up just short of calling for a rope and a tall tree.
Arthur emerged from the kitchen, grabbed the pickle jar and dumped the money on the table before striding to the door and ripping off the new sign.
“It’s worse hearing y’all ragging the complainers than hearing the complainers themselves,” he told us. “Complaining about a hot day in Mississippi in August is pointless and tiresome. But we’re about as likely to change the complaining as we are the weather.”
Contact Daily Journal reporter ERROL CASTENS at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 816-1282.