Thursday, August 09, 2007

Top Ten Reasons I Hate Summer

Living in Georgia provides you with an opportunity to study life’s contradictions. It is an incredibly varied and beautiful place. From the “Hills of Habersham” to ”the Marshes of Glynn” it is blessed with nature’s best. And it’s worst. Mosquitoes, gnats and 4-out-of-4 of the poisonous snakes found in America come quickly to mind. Of course, the biggest contradiction is the warmth, grace and charm you’ll find in such abundance amongst its people -- right alongside the racism, ignorance and bigotry.

I guess I’d best move on with the list before the list moves on without me.

Number Ten -- Gnats

I don’t have to put up with gnats where I live but folks sure do in South Georgia. Unfortunately, I occasionally have to cross the Gnat Line and visit South Georgia. Yankees tend to think folks in South Georgia are friendlier than in North Georgia because folks down there wave at them more from their front porches. Not so. They’re waving the gnats away from their faces. Yankees just think they’re being waved at.

Number Nine -- Bugs

Yes, I know gnats are bugs but gnats deserve their own special place on any hate list. Ask anybody. Mosquitoes, chiggers and No-see-ums don’t try to get in your eyes. They’re irritating, but they don’t try to get in your eyes. They might get there anyway, they might bite, they might get in your ears -- but they don’t try to get in your eyes.

Number Eight -- Snakes

I know some folks that actually like snakes. I know some crazy people too. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all Copper-Mouthed-Coral-Rattlers until proven innocent. Georgians have a special hatred for Water Moccasins. You see, they’re called Water Moccasins ‘cause they like water. In that Georgians like water (‘cause it’s hot) it presents a problem. Rattlesnakes are bigger, coral snakes are more poisonous and copperheads are more likely to bite you. But the Cottonmouths like to hang around in the water. In that every other water snake looks a lot like a Water Moccasin and I’m not going to get close enough to inspect them...I’ve decided I’ll just stay out of the water and sweat.

Number Seven -- Grass

Yes, I have a lawn. Yes, I fertilize it, aerate it and water it. Nobody ever said I was smart. Grass looks pretty. But it grows like crazy in the summer (along with the weeds.) You won’t find me complaining about it in the winter (yes, I have a lawn that grows all year round) but when it’s 95 degrees outside and the humidity is 85% I still have to cut grass. There is some primal pleasure in viewing a green pasture. It stirs something deep inside all of us. But until my wife lets me have that 40 acre pasture and the air-conditioned John Deere that goes with it...I’ll hate grass. At least in the summer.

Number Six -- Holidays

I know. How could anybody not like holidays ? I’m all for celebrating the nation’s birth on July 4th. Just so long as I’m in an air-conditioned room watching it all on TV. Unfortunately there’s always some fool that expects me to be outside turning the crank-handle on the ice cream churn (‘casue it’s better than store-bought) when it’s 95 degrees and the humidity is 85%. It must be the sweat dripping off my nose that makes the hand-churned ice cream taste better. And standing over a grill when it’s 95 degrees ? No wonder people think we’re kind of slow down here.

Number Five -- Long Days

In a perfect world, the days would be long in the winter instead of the summer. The nights are the only time it cools off down here. Well, it sort of cools off. The low on August 8th was 81.2 degrees. Seriously. I think it was some kind of record. Check it out. At least the humidity was only 51%.

Number Four -- The Haze

The visibility today is 10 miles. This is a good day. A normal day is about 5 miles. A bad day is about 2 miles. Yes, some of it’s smog but some of it’s natural. The Blue Ridge Mountains get their name from the haze that makes the mountains look blue. With no mountains down here south of Atlanta it’s just a murky gray, thick enough to cut with your pocket knife. (All real Georgians carry a pocket knife. Even the women.) The normal summer forecast is summed up as the “Three H’s” -- day after day. Hot, Hazy and Humid.

Number Three -- The Humidity

It’s not just the fact that we have to live with the humidity...we have to listen to everybody talk about the humidity. (Yes, I realize that is exactly what I’m doing.) “It’s not the heat -- it’s the humidity.” You’re out in the heat, drenched with sweat that won’t evaporate because it’s so humid and you have to listen to some guy drone on about, “It ain’t the heat that’s gettin’ to you so much as it’s the humidity.” After listening to that for about 3 months you’re ready to take your shovel (or pickax, sling blade, hoe or whatever) and whack them. “Crazy from the heat” is a widely recognized legal defense down here in the South.

Number Two -- The Heat

It’s hot. Good Lord it’s hot. The forecasted highs for the next 5 days are 100, 99, 97, 95 and 94 degrees. The best we can hope for is that it might “cool down” to 85 degrees or so. Day after day, month after month, it just drags on endlessly. Folks wonder why the South is known as “The Bible Belt.” It’s simple. We know first hand what a half-eternity in the heat of Hell feels like and we’re scared. The thought of it never ending -- never having the respite of winter -- will keep us on the straight and narrow for generations to come.

Number One -- The HEAT !

That’s what it’s like. It just keeps repeating itself. Day after day. And NO !, unless you live down here you really don’t have any idea. Up North you have hope. It might get hot but you know the heat will break. It NEVER breaks down here. NEVER ! EVER ! We have no HOPE ! Only heat.

I hate the heat like Yankees hate the snow. I don’t care if it never gets above 80 degrees for the rest of my life. It’s no coincidence that a Southerner has taken the lead in warning us about Global Warming. Al Gore lives in Tennessee and he’s scared Global Warming will turn Tennessee into Georgia. Somebody from Georgia really ought to take the lead but they’re too busy swattin’ skeeters, waving at gnats and looking for snakes. Actually, I think they’re secretly hoping for Global Warming. If Greenland will melt, Georgia will turn into Florida and we’ll have some place to take a cool swim without Water Moccasins and maybe -- just maybe -- even a sea breeze. Then we can sell out to the Yankees and move to Greenland -- someplace cool without Yankees.

Don Brown
August 9, 2007

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