(Originally published in 2002)
Well, if you’re anything like me, then you’re likely wanted by several law enforcement agencies. My advice is to stick to the back roads and grow a beard. If you already have a beard, shave it off. If you’re a woman, try testosterone treatments. And if you’re a woman in Arkansas, I’d tell you to shave off the beard, but there’s really no need as you can easily kill anything foolish enough to come after you.
But if you’re anything like me and are not being pursued through the swamp by hounds, you’re probably really feeling the effects of summer right now. For in case you were wondering as to why the days are so long and you’re sweating so much, it’s summer.
But have you really thought about summer? Of course not. Knowing you, you’re probably too busy checking out attractive members of the opposite sex as they glide by in skimpy outfits. You’re probably doing that right now, aren’t you? You’re not even bothering to read this column, which I spend countless minutes sweating over. Well let me tell you something, you toad! None of those attractive people will ever do anything but glare at you with mild disdain. Nothing I do will ever be good enough for you, will it, Gigi? I fly down to New Zealand and kill a studio guard just to get on the Farscape set, and all you do is stare at me and call the cops when I address you as “Chiana!” Well, fine, you elitist snob. I’ll just start sending my haikus of eternal love to Claudia, instead!! W’ell just see who’s laughing then, won’t we??
Let’s start by looking at the word “summer.” “Summer” comes from ancient Australian, where it meant, “Crikey, It sure is bonza hot!” The Aborigine explorers who later colonized the island quickly picked up the word they heard the strange, pale, khaki-wearing natives use whenever it got hot, and a new word entered the English language.
But summer really never had any special significance until the 1960s came along, and bringing with it two things: Public schooling in the United States, and “Frankie and Annette” movies. Both of these seemingly unrelated institutions of pop culture served to popularize summer as a time for the young, ages 16 to 24 only, to frolic and play.
See, it was typically May or June when the few remaining teachers who hadn’t died of malnutrition brought about from low pay or been driven mad by the utter unteachability of the average American student died of heat stroke, brought about by the thick asbestos insulation that all schools have to this day. This left American students to their own devices, and those with enough intelligence to find their way out of the school building went to see “Frankie and Annette” beach movies.
It was the legendary “Frankie and Annette” beach movie (so named for their ubiquitous leads, the legendary team of Jerry Lewis and Lou Costello) that really popularized summer as a time to go to the beach and have cook-outs with your friends, then get in a surfing duel with the head of a passing biker gang to see who is “King of the Beach.” It was such candid pictures of youth culture that paved the way for reality television.
And now that you know the history of summer, let’s look at a few sure-fire ways to “beat the heat.”
Sure-Fire Method #1: Turn the air conditioning down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, then sit in the kitchen directly in front of your refrigerator with its door open. Strip down to your underwear and place your feet in a large bucket of ice water. Make sure all the lights are off to eliminate the radiant heat the light bulbs produce. Then watch a Discovery channel special on something cold, like the last Ice Age or penguin mating rituals or something. Stay as still as possible. Run off anyone else who may happen by: the heat from their bodies and exhalation will raise the ambient temperature.
Sure-Fire Method #2: Become an astronaut. When up on your shuttle mission, trick the other astronauts into flying the shuttle to Pluto.
Sure-Fire Method #3: Kill yourself.
Well, there you have it. Everything you need to get the most out of summer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my computer is giving off far too much heat.