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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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How Hot Is Hot?....

How Hot is Hot?

Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? Hot enough to cook a chicken, feathers and all? Hot enough to pop corn still on the cob? Hot enough to toast your buns?

We've all heard the clichés, but how hot is hot anyhow? Nowadays, we have sophisticated instruments called thermometers for measuring heat. Thermometers tell how hot it actually is, but not how hot it feels, which is measured by a heat index that includes temperature and humidity, or some such nonsense.

Personally, I don't think it matters much after it gets over 90 degrees. It's just so hot you can't stand it -- at least not for long.

The weather news is full of comparisons: How many days of consecutive triple digits; how many days of temperatures over 90; how many inches of rainfall this summer; how many days we've broken the record this month. All of this doesn't serve to make us feel one iota better - nothing but air conditioning and a glass of iced tea can do that.

Speaking of air conditioning, everyone seems to think something is wrong with his or her unit. "Is your air conditioner working right?" they ask. "Mine is not keeping it cold enough." From what I understand, 20 degrees below the outside temperature is what they are designed for. Let's see, according to my math, at 100 degrees outside that would be about 80 degrees inside. Turning it lower
doesn't help.

I wanted to try out frying an egg on the pavement last weekend, but I forgot. Anytime I've ever seen it tried, it didn't really work. Nevertheless, I thought I would give it a shot just for fun. My asphalt driveway certainly feels hot enough. It sure fried my feet when I walked across it barefooted the other day while watering the flowers.

My lawn is a nice crispy brown. I don't even try to water it. My trees are starting to lose leaves. Even the trees in the woods are starting to die. At times like this I'm happy that I'm not a farmer, but I'm sure we will all pay for the drought with higher prices at some point down the line.

It used to be an appropriate greeting to ask "Is it hot enough for ya?" We know that is a rhetorical question and that it's plenty hot enough, even for August. Add the humidity and it's almost hot enough for a sauna outside.

We live in a sheltered environment in air conditioning all day. We've become soft. I didn't really realize what hot meant. I took a very short walk the other day. On the way back, I began to sweat and feel a bit dizzy. After that experience, I decided that I had better just listen to advice and stay inside. 

The media are filled with tips about handling heat. Slow down, dress light, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, and avoid midday activity. Even better, stay inside, use a fan even if you have air, take showers and eat lighter food.

They give this advice for a reason --- not for us to act tough and try to ignore it.

I have my own personal method of cooling off that I will share - slushes from Sonic. Yes, I'm a regular there; especially since I found out they have low calorie slushes. I dare you to drink a large one of those and stay hot. You will probably get the shivers. I've become such a habitual customer that they know me now.

"Hey, Joe, here comes, one diet cola, one diet cherry, and a dish of vanilla." Okay, okay, the vanilla ice cream is for the dog. She likes to be cool too.

So. How hot is it? Too hot for words, so I better quit now before I run out of them.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss

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