On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

it would be remiss of me not to talk about the weather

On occasion you'll hear me blustering about how I used to live in Egypt, and how because of this, hot weather doesn't phase me.

Bullshit. I hate the heat more than anything in the world. Take me out of air conditioning for more than maybe three minutes at a time and I turn into a sweaty, sweltering, cranky hot mess. And making me run in it? Yeah. Most days I start sweating even before I start running. That's hot, right?

Still, the heat is responsible for one of my favorite memories from growing up: the Heat Wave of 1995.

No, the heat wave itself is not a pleasant memory. In fact, I still shudder (literally) thinking about it. I was about to leave Illinois for college, and we didn't have central air in our house. It was miserable. My mom, my brother, and I sweated through it, mostly by yelling at each other and by running the heck out of a window unit, taking a lot of showers, and praying for no brownouts to affect our power.

Nearly 1000 people died that summer because of the heat. It was a massive public health crisis. One of my brother's good friends at the time participated in a benefit event, with her youth choir singing to raise money for the cause.

That's where the humor comes in. My brother and I promptly put together a list of songs we suggested to her that she sing. Not only did she not think it was funny, but she was really, really angry about it. The angrier she got, the funnier we found it to be. It got such that either of us humming one of these songs instantly sparked a fit of giggles.

What can I say? We're terrible people with a dark sense of humor that tends to make us laugh when uncomfortable.

Here are our suggestions:
-Summer in the City, the Lovin' Spoonful
-Hot hot hot, Buster Poindexter
-The Heat is On, Glenn Frey
-Heat Wave, Martha and the Vandellas
-Cruel Summer, Bananarama
-Hot Child in the City, Nick Gilder
-This wasn't around in 1995, but I think I'd have to add Hot in Herre, Nelly. (I cleared it with my brother. He laughed.) My brother also added Sex on Fire, Kings of Leon and Burnin' Up, the Jonas Brothers, but I'm rejecting those two as I don't like Kings of Leon and I'm embarrassed that a grown man knows a Jonas Brothers song.

Now, whenever there's a miserable heat wave like the one we're under,* I think to myself, "You're not dead," and then I think, "Remember those songs." And I laugh. I LAUGH IN THE FACE OF A TRIPLE DIGIT HEAT INDEX. It never gets old.

What songs am I missing? What would you add to the list?

Also, thank you for all your thoughtful comments yesterday. I did go out and run yesterday evening and again this morning. They were good runs with good company, but they only confirmed that I need to run more and more and more.

*I know corn futures are tied to the economy and all, but I'm just going to put it out there and say I really don't care about the crop yield when 22 people are already dead and predictions say this heat wave could be as bad as 1995. I may laugh when I hear songs about heat, but the heat wave itself was no joke. There were morgue trucks. The morgues couldn't hold all of the bodies, so they set up refrigerated trucks in the parking lots. Yeah. Makes me really, really not care if I don't have corn on my plate this August.


  1. "I don't like Kings of Leon and I'm embarrassed that a grown man knows a Jonas Brothers song." Among many other reasons, *this* is why I love your blog. Oh, and you're right. Kings of Leon are (is? grammar fail) really annoying.

  2. The Kings of Leon do suck, even nature hates them http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20405066,00.html

    I have no additional comments to make at this time.

  3. I guess the talk of corn is not the corn that's missing on your plate in August, but all of the families that depend on farming that corn, that will have a lot harder time to put food on their table because of it.

  4. Point taken, Carla. I don't remember enough about economics to be certain, but I think it's probably tied into speculation on corn futures. I'd actually like to learn more about corn subsidies. I mean, I do know that what of our corn is not imported goes to ethanol, animal food, and other non-eating purposes.

  5. Glad you had a better run yesterday. Also, I'm willing to travel for good company for a run and I consider you good company. My mileage is not as high as yours but I'm willing to work on it.

  6. LOVE your sense of humor - lemme tell ya sometime about cracking up at my grandmother's funeral.

    Dude, you went running again this morning after last night's brutality? You are a badass.

    p.s. The films "Food Inc" and "King Korn" are both good primers about corn subsidies. Yuck.

  7. Ha! I love your list. And agree about the Jonas Brothers. And Kings of Leon.

    I am trying really hard not to be annoyed by the heat, but it's hard, especially when you're a runner. Or any person. Oh well, what can we do?!