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Jul 16, 2021

Beating the Heat and Drought? Some Hydro Hints

Our redoubtable—no, make that waaay-doubtable—fact-checker weighs in

By Ed Goldman
If you don’t think climate change is real, and you further believe that hot summer weather stops on a dime after Labor Day, feel free to: (a) skip this column; (b) splash baby oil all over yourself, and (c) sunbathe from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a week in Phoenix, Arizona (motto: “We’re America’s Armpit!”).

Otherwise, it’s not too late to memorize these Beat-the-Heat suggestions— which this column’s sometimes ambiguous fact-checker, Ida Noh, has compiled and translated from Esperanto to Klingon to English. And possibly, back. You be the judge.

Edgy Cartoon

To Air Is Human

  1. Get the hell indoors. “I recommend this most strongly to people who live in homes equipped with air conditioners, whole-house fans or even swamp coolers,” Ida tells me. “But not to people who live in brick pizza ovens. They may be better off in Phoenix, Arizona” (alternate motto: “Our Golf Courses Have Inhouse EMTs!”).
  2. Hydrate constantly. Ida says that drinking 40 glasses of water a day might not be enough for people with conditions ranging from hydrophobia to acerbic wit. She says that experts recommend you give up dry martinis, dry cleaning and dry-wall plastering, replacing them with excessive vermouth, clinging, damp apparel, and insulation made from bubble-wrap, respectively.
  3. Encourage your neighbors to disobey your city’s anti-drought lawn care rules and to turn on their sprinklers full-blast during the hottest part of the day. Then strip off your clothes and go from front yard to front yard running merrily through them. If asked about your aberrent behavior, mention Sisyphus—or, better still, John Cheever’s classic short story, which became a minor motion picture, “The Swimmer.” Each concerns what psychologists often call people with IOAQ Syndrome (Idiots On A Quest). But the best version of Sisyphus is an essay by Albert Camus, and the best version of his essay is in the original French. Or, less likely, Esperanto.
  1. Become a Drought Denier. While almost as loony as being a climate-change denier, this one’s trickier because it involves neither nuance nor comments from distinguished scientists with Icelandic names. You can just look at parched meadows, rapidly withering lakes and flowers using their sagging stamens to write suicide notes. Climate change won’t stop waiters from refilling your water glass, but a drought will. Two things you can do to adapt to the latter are the following:
  • Take your own bottle of water into restaurants (and hope they don’t charge you what I imagine is called a “cappage fee”); and
  • Take a break from ordering the meals marked “spicy” on the menu at places that not only specialize in Thai, Ethiopian, Szechuan, Mexican, Indian, Jamaican foods but also have inhouse EMTs.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).