Saunders: Not enough hot fun in the summertime

barry.saunders@newsobserver.comAugust 11, 2013 

OK, by a show of hands, how many of you miss the 90s?

Naw, not that decade that brought us the Macarena, Monica Lewinsky, fluorescent sweatsuits and crack.

I’m talking about temperatures in the 90s, so hot that it makes you go to the movies – who cares what picture you see? – just for the air conditioning. Or temperatures so stifling that they force you to slow your roll as soon as you hit the door because it feels as though you’re slogging through melted, unsweetened Jello.

Now, that’s summertime in Carolina. And boy, do I miss it.

Ever hear the story of a guy who groggily awoke from a coma but thought he was dead? His first words were “If this is heaven, where are all of the strip clubs?”

That’s the same attitude some of us have about this weather: If this is summer, where are the temperatures in the 90s and, as a result, all of the whining weathermen and weatherwomen?

It can’t really be summer because when you turn on your TV sets, there are no meteorologists lamenting the heat – as though heat in N.C. in July and August is a surprising development. Also, by this time, we’ve each usually been asked 1,723 times “Hot enough for ya?”

It’s hard to ask that when it’s 82 degrees in August. So far this summer, we’ve had only 18 days where the mercury rose to 90 or above.

Terry Click, a National Weather Service employee, said that by this time last year, we’d had 43 such gloriously steamy days.

With no whining weatherpeople, we, in turn, are deprived of the ability to whine about them. During a typically hot North Carolina summer, I receive at least 10 calls or letters from readers asking, in essence, “What’s up with these meteorologists? Don’t they realize it’s supposed to be hot in North Carolina in August?”

You’re darned right is supposed to be hot. So where is the heat?

There’ve been no feature stories on people who make and sell ice working overtime, of children frolicking through open water hydrants or air conditioners exploding due to overuse. The most overused word used to describe our weather this summer of our discontent has been “mild.” That is the milquetoastiest of words, and one you only want to hear when describing cheese, cigars or February.

Someone described our wet-blanket summer as like being in Seattle without the Space Needle. Not that the unseasonably cool and wet temperatures aren’t without some small benefit. It has rained so much that even my usually mercenary yard guy took pity on me and promised me two free cuts once when it rained at least twice before he’d even packed up his mower.

Our hearts and prayers should go out to the people beset by flooding and droughts and triple-digit temperatures – although I’d trade places with them for a couple of weeks.

Years ago on the Ed Sullivan Show, a Borscht Belt comedian was telling how his mother would try to guilt him into eating an unpalatable meal.

Starving children in Africa or China would love to have that food, she’d said.

“Well, give it to ’em, Ma,” he responded.

That’s my response to the people who say we shouldn’t complain about the seemingly perpetually rainy, un-Carolinalike weather we’ve had – because people in drought-stricken areas would love to have it.

Well, give it ’em. Besides, before long we’ll have a legitimate gripe – when it turns cold.

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or

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