Summertime Soothers

Summer has sprung here in the northern hemisphere, and as the season of softball, sunburns, and sand-filled swimsuits heats up, so does the steamy weather. A recent study showed that the Earth is hotter now than it has been at any time in the past two thousand years -- and that's not just because the Olsen twins are finally legal. This summer promises to swelter like a sumo wrestler in a Seminole sweat lodge.

For those of us who suffer through the dog days without the luxury of central air conditioning, here are a few alternative -- and highly practical -- ways to beat the heat this summer:

Take a break on a bed of ice

What would feel better on a hot summer day than having a nice lie down in a soothing ice bath? Leave it to a tub of freezing-cold cubes to refresh the spirit, recharge the batteries, and render the nipples glass-cuttingly erect. But buying that much ice yourself would be expensive and inconvenient. So where can you find an icy oasis, without all the fuss?

Luckily, there are many places to sneak a quick frigid soak, if you're quick and careful about it. Many convenience stores sell ice by the bag from a large, super-refrigerated machine. If you slip through the hatch -- and pull your legs in before the clerk can catch you -- you can rest undetected and toasty cold for hours. Or until the next barbecue-planning suburbanite comes through looking for ice for the Niller Lite cooler.

The truly adventurous might consider a nap at the local raw bar restaurant. These eateries often have long, sprawling ice beds, with various 'Mollusks of the Day' arranged thereon. Getting your cool on at these places is a bit trickier, however. First, the staff at a restaurant is far more likely to notice you than your average 7-11 flunky would be. Lounging on a load of littlenecks in a display case tends to draw the chefs' attention -- and those people have knives.

There's also the aroma to think about. Some restaurants are fresher than others; do you really want to spend the rest of your evening reeking of sketchy scallops and oysters gone off? Finally, there's comfort to think of.
You can probably ignore a few half-shell clams underneath, but if the place serves lobsters or crab legs, watch out. You might find yourself 'pinched', even before the cops show up to drag you away.

Dip your lid in liquid nitrogen

Here's a handy way to stay cool in the heat. Find yourself a bucket of liquid nitrogen. Your local hospital, pharmaceutical lab, or high-security government research facility should have plenty to spare. Just wander around the premises and rummage through the supplies for a while. You'll find it.

Then simply take your favorite hat -- better make that your second-favorite hat -- and dip it in the cold stuff. You'll be rewarded with an exquisitely cooling subzero chapeau that'll really take the edge off the summer sunshine.

As an added bonus, your frozen lid should really take the pesky hair off your scalp, too. Your moist, tender skin will stick to the supercooled sombrero like a tongue to a January flagpole. But think how much cooler you'll be in August without long hair. Or any hair, or eyebrows for that matter. Just remember, when you're removing your hat -- do it like a Band-Aid. Right off!

There's nothing cooler than a hood ornament

Dogs have the right idea in the summertime. If you've got no A/C in your ride, the best way to cool down is to use the wind rushing by to your advantage. But there's only so much air you can get with the windows down, or even with your head hanging out. You'll never get properly cool with your swampy thighs stuck to that sticky driver's seat.
No problem. Simply find a friend to strap you to the hood, and hit the highway. Steady winds of sixty miles an hour or more should be just the ticket to a cool, comfortable afternoon. Just be sure to switch with your buddy after a while, lest he get jealous and drive you in the slow lane behind a trash truck for a few miles. You might also want to invest in a crash helmet, or at least a mouthpiece. Not in case of an accident -- in your position, you're clearly a vehicular casualty waiting to happen.

Rather, you'll want protection to keep the bugs out of your grill. At sixty miles an hour, you wouldn't 'swallow' a moth, so much as you'd 'engulf' it. That's no summertime snack.

The 'Belligerence at Baskin-Robbins' approach

What if you're out on the town on a steamy summer night, eager for some relief? Your best bet is to stop by a local ice cream shop -- or 'shoppe', depending on the fanciness of your neighborhood -- and cause a ruckus. It doesn't matter what sort of ruckus, particularly. You can argue with the employees, knock over a sundae or two, or throw around chocolate sprinkles like a monkey flinging poo. Just be sure to create a distraction large enough to get the whole store involved, so you can slip behind the counter for some free frozen treats. Once there, you've got several options

-- eat the ice cream, wear it, or stuff it in your pockets for later. If the freezers are large enough, you can even try the 'ice bath' idea above. But be warned -- chocolate chunks and praline chips are very tricky to dig out of your underpants. That's thirty-three flavors of icky, right there.

Build your own Slip 'n' Slide

Heaven forbid the air conditioning in your office complex or local mall should conk out on a sweltering July afternoon. But if it does, there's a simple solution -- and a bit of fun to be had, to boot. First, you'll need some water. Maybe there's a water cooler handy, or a long fire hose, or an oversensitive sprinkler overhead. Siphon a fountain, overflow a urinal, whatever - be creative out there.
Then, you'll need a mobile walkway -- or better yet, an escalator. Stream your water over the target; take a running start, and belly flop your way to quick and cool summer fun. And unlike the original, low-tech version of the Slip 'n' Slide, you don't even have to trudge back to the start. Just hop on the 'up' escalator, and go again. Modern technology makes every summer better!

Hopefully, these techniques will help you keep your cool in the summer sun.

Of course, they may be deemed inappropriate, irresponsible, or even illegal by your local authorities, so be cautious. And if you should be apprehended in the act of cooling your jets in one of these unorthodox ways, just remember the first rule of summertime incarceration: 'Never let 'em see you sweat'. Happy summer!

Charlie Hatton is an overzealous blogger and aspiring standup comedian offering smart, sophisticated humor about life, language, and the size of his naughty bits. Not necessarily in that order.

Charlie lives in the Boston area, and spends most of his daylight hours stuffed in a cubicle, where he's less likely to bump into anything expensive or upset the neighbors. At thirty-five, he's due for a(nother) midlife crisis any day now.


The Musician's PlaceTo Shop!
Instant Gift Certificates!

© 2001-2005 Issues Magazine.
All Rights Reserved.

Get 15 FREE prints!