“Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else,” quips a character in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
I used to worry that everyone was trying to talk about the debt ceiling.
“This temperature sure seems to be rising,” they’d say.
“I don’t want to default!” I would scream.
But these days it is too hot for double meanings. A heat wave is sweeping across the country, devastating everything in its wake in exactly the way the Miami Heat didn’t. Everyone is doing the heat wave! The heat wave is like the wave, except that instead of moving your arms, you lie very still on the ground and moan quietly.
Going outside is like walking into the mouth of a dog. It’s like a Turkish steam bath. It’s like visiting Venus.
You know that it’s hot when strangers come up to you and say, “Boy, is it ever HOT! I almost melted earlier,” and you can tell clearly that they are not witches of the West or otherwise.
But for anyone looking to convey how hot it is, the usual words seem inadequate. “It’s too darn hot,” wrote Cole Porter. “It’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk!” “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!” Scientifically, this is so, but I just want the heat to have one day where it can take credit for things. I feel as though the humidity needs to be more of a team player.
But for anyone looking to talk about the weather, here are some newer responses to the inevitable question. Try one!
How hot is it?
It’s so hot that if I were a lobster I would avoid the outdoors. If I were one of those small shag dogs that looks like a slightly worried ottoman, I would avoid the outdoors through any means necessary. It’s hot enough that if I were a person I would avoid the outdoors.
It’s so hot that the Hottest Man Alive is no longer Ryan Reynolds. Instead, this distinction belongs to a man in Minnesota named Grover who fell asleep on his porch and is now being rushed to the hospital.
It is so hot that I worry that the Rapture has already occurred and apparently my life was not as virtuous as I’d hoped.
It is so hot that it is frankly unreasonable for us to ask Congress or Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling. Have them lie down somewhere with ice cubes. Besides, at this rate, the combination of heat and pressure will eventually blow the ceiling off.
It is so hot that if Earth had a superintendent, I would be placing an indignant call right now to complain that the cooling system seemed to be malfunctioning. Al Gore claims he is Earth’s superintendent, but he just yells at you and it doesn’t seem to help.
It is so hot that there will be more casualties involving Civil War reenactors with heat stroke today than there were in the actual battle of Bull Run.
It is so hot that we can’t focus, read or think about anything. We couldn’t before, but that is now a good excuse.
It is so hot that, for a Klondike bar, I would commit murder-larceny.
It is so hot that I am actively thinking of buying tickets to see “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” because I hear that the theater is air-conditioned.
It is so hot that Heidi Montag’s face looks like it’s melting, although that could just be her general face. It is so hot that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is walking around his hotel suite without any clothes on at all. It is so hot that Rupert Murdoch is sweating under his collar and glancing around nervously.
It is so hot that Billy Dee Williams is only kind of cool.
It is so hot that dogs in heat are just regular dogs. It is so hot that people talking in a civil, reasonable manner about important issues are having heated discussions. It is so hot that I actually laughed at those jokes because I think my cranium has melted and damaged my capacity for discrimination.
It is so hot that the Dos Equis guy is switching to water. It is so hot that you should monitor your aged relatives very carefully because this is dangerous weather!
It is so hot that I have run out of analogies! It’s just too darn hot.