Columns » Bob Lancaster

Boiling over



The TV weathermen can be a little melodramatic about it, but it's a fact that this kind of heat can be dangerous, and not only to codgers and what Popeye called infinks. Let me pass along some documented cases from the Heat Awareness Council.

The vice president was almost completely sane before he went out to grill some burgers on a day several years ago that was only about as hot as we've had this week. Summer heat can do that — turn an ordinary upstanding man with a bitch wife and a gay child into a sneering lunatic running around starting wars, outing spies and listening in on Americans' phone calls. Don't let it happen to you.

It was after going out on a day just about this hot — different days, but all of them extremely hot — that Jerry Jones, Kenny Rogers and Jessica Lange decided which plastic surgeon they'd use.

Look what that one little noontime jaunt into the overheated Baghdad marketplace did to John McCain's presidential chances. Remember that if you have political ambitions.

It was after patrolling left field on just such a long hot afternoon as we've been having that scrawny little ol' Barry Bonds said to himself, “What harm will one little injection of the stuff do? It's not like it'll balloon me up into looking like the Michelin Man.”

The top executives at Enron Corp. were honorable men until one day — yes, it was one of these scorchers -- the air-conditioning went out in their corporate tower for just a brief time. The heat seeped in and they had a meltdown even worse in its way than the Wicked Witch of the West's. That brief exposure to the breath of Hell turned some regular guys into some of modern America's sorriest bastards. Summer heat can do that — scorch your Jekyll into Henry Hyde. Don't let it happen to you.

Heat like this is par for the course in Australia, which goes a long way in explaining Rupert Murdoch.

It was in just such heat as this that Saddam Hussein decided they'd never find him if he shinnied down into that spider hole. His worthless boys had already fried their brains — and sealed their doom — during their infamous 150-degree convertible joyrides. The heat-ruint house of Hussein. Don't let it happen to you.

Without damaging exposure to heat this intense or even intenser, nobody, not even Brains himself, could've thought of making so calamitous an utterance as “Bring 'em on.”

Heat exhaustion is the most plausible explanation for the redcaps freely choosing Pope Ersatz Schicklgruber or Twenty Mule Team picking assmunch Scalia uncoerced.

It was in just such heat as this that the Senate passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

Hate didn't light the first Klan cross; the thing spontaneously combusted on a day like one of the past few, and a myriad of bigots saw it as a sign.

Getting too hot, when you're a fighter and an imbecile and a nut, can inspire you to such nasty behavior as, in clinches, gnawing away pieces of your opponent's ears.

“I fell into a burnin' ring of far” is a line from a Johnny Cash song about merely going outside on a day like this. You go down, down, down and the flame just goes har. Your chances of ever getting back to normal? Not good. Not very good at all.

Heat like this up from Mayheeko had obviously affected the old Texas lawyer's judgment when he told the missus, “Yeah, me and Dick are going out to shoot a few birds. What possible harm could come of that?”

Just a tiny bit of relief, say from slow-passing gray-bottomed clouds, and Pickett never would've made that charge.

Col. Oliver North is said to have been conceived during a very hot spell that might or might not have involved demonic visitation.

Just before rah-rahing the old seg, Trent Lott sure enough had been out in just this kind of noonday sun.

Joan of Arc stuck to her mail not only during the sendoff but earlier in the field on the Hundred Years War's sultriest day. No sunblock then, and she was just too fidgety to follow the smiths' non-stick guidelines — taking it off for 20 minutes of cooling, putting it back on, taking it off, putting it back on. Just too much of a hassle, she thought. Foolish girl.

If heat didn't drive O.J. to it, it almost certainly turned him into the sorry sack of excrement that didn't regret having done it. Don't let overheating turn you into this kind of a prick. Shade. Electrolytes. Serenity now.

Heat-crazed was the Warren Commission's verdict on Oswald.

Likely also it impelled hot-blooded Booth.

So keep cool. Wear white. Hydrate often. If you can't afford a window unit or electric fan, call the Heat Awareness folks and ask them to send over one of the community-service chain gangs, which will be glad to blow on you in shifts during the hottest hours at no charge. And remember, that Coors cold train is just a metaphor so don't be waiting around on a hot streetcorner for it to show up.

Or if you do, wear a hat.

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