0

MCCULLOUGH: Too hot to handle

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

If the weather forecast holds, sometime today the thermometer will read 102. If the weather app on my phone can be believed, it will be 106 at my house near Athens.

One hundred and six is an NBA score, a radio frequency, a perfect grade with extra credit. It is not a temperature the air outside should be, especially when combined with high humidity. People die when their fevers hit 106, don't they? How can we breathe air that hot?

Having just returned from what has to be the hottest place on Earth, I am in no hurry to repeat my experience with temperatures near or above triple digits.

You want hot? Try bending over a barbecue pit, picking a pig at noon in Mississippi on the first day of summer. We didn't even have to start a fire to roast the pig -- it just cooked by virtue of being outside. The flies that were attracted to the smell burst into flames as they flew near, like tiny meteorites burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. You couldn't even get a buzz to ease your pain because all the alcohol in the beer evaporated, straight out of the cooler no less.

I've never been to the Sahara Desert, Death Valley or the surface of Mercury, but I can't imagine any of them being much hotter than Mississippi in the summertime. I remember being there one summer when I was a kid when the temperature hit 106. I was helping my Granny in the garden and we had to stop working outside because it was too hot -- at 9 a.m. I also remember sitting and talking to my cousins one night many years ago before one of them got married. It was 88 degrees -- at midnight.

The point is, Mississippi is ridiculously, oppressively hot. And while Georgia is not that much better, I could always depend on it to be just a little bit cooler in the summer. But no more apparently.

Of course, in anticipation of this heat wave, air conditioners far and wide have dutifully shut down, broken or fallen apart. I just paid north of $700 to get mine fixed in my truck, but I'm not going to complain too much because one of my co-workers just spent thousands to fix the one in her house.

But thank God for those air conditioners, huh? And God bless Willis Carrier for inventing them 110 years ago. Who would've thought a Yankee from New York would be the savior of us Southerners in the summertime -- and most of the spring and fall for that matter?

As much as I hate to part with hundreds of dollars, when I get to work today and my back is not drenched in sweat I will know it was money well spent.

I will also be hoping that it doesn't get much hotter. The record in Georgia, according to the authority of all information, the Internet, was 112 degrees back in 1983 in Greenville, Ga. Didn't know there was a Greenville, Ga.? Me neither. I think maybe it burned up.

Let's hope the rest of Georgia doesn't do the same this weekend.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.