Heat tough on even the toughest

It’s been a bit warm here lately.

Yup, that’s what I’m here for — to provide you the news and insight you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to on a weekly basis. And, for those of you who aren’t privy to the sensitive news mechanisms we have available here at the Coastal Point multiplex, I can report to you with full confidence that it has indeed been hot.

I mean, it’s been so hot that trees are calling for dogs to come by and cool them off. So hot that people are sticking their heads into wood stoves, just to cool down. So hot that ...

But I digress.

You can see where I’m going with this. The weather has been ridiculous. The heat and drought has badly hurt local crops, destroyed people’s lawns, slowed down the wheels of societal progress as people have rushed from shade to air conditioning with no regards for anything getting in their way and has ruined more T-shirts than the Incredible Hulk on ’roid rage.

At first I thought it was just me being over-sensitive to the climate. I tend to do that. During the cold winter days I bundle myself up like a mummy who got his wrappings on special from Sam’s Club and during the summer I daydream about hopping in Shaun Lambert’s car and taking a trip to his native Alaska for a week of eating whale blubber and watching ice form on the tip of my nose. But this is different. This has been hot for everybody.

We had the great opportunity this year of publishing some special edition papers containing coverage of the Senior League Softball World Series held in Roxana last week. If you didn’t see any copies of “Homeplate” lying around, we covered every game of the Series and published two copies during the week — mostly so the girls would have something to bring home with them and keep as a memento of their achievements.

But, make no mistake, it was hot. John Denny, our sports reporter and self-proclaimed “tough guy,” covered probably half the games of the Series and would come back to the office looking like he just walked through a car wash and got mugged when he got to the other side. It would have been easy to feel sorry for John. There he would sit at his desk, trying to turn a story around quickly for our publication with his face beet red and sweat dripping off him like the fountains outside the Bellagio, and I would feel a twinge of sympathy for him.

Then he would say something, and sympathy took a plane south for vacation.

But it wasn’t only John affected by the heat. The drain of the competitive pressure and searing heat impacted some of the players in the Series, as well — particularly for the girls from Europe and the Southwest, where humidity rarely figures into the heat index — and organizers and volunteers also looked like they took a collective steambath together as water bottles dotted the Pyle Center landscape.

Yeah, it was smokin’ outside.

I just resigned myself to the fact that all people were struggling with the heat. I chalked it up to God made us so that we’d be most comfortable in moderate weather, and that we weren’t suited for extreme heat or cold like animals are for their natural extremes.

Then it happened.

One early evening, as we were working to put out one of the Homeplate editions, I stepped outside to grab some air and clear my head. There was a slight rustling sound to my right and I noticed that the sound seemed to be coming from Susan Lyons’ car. Tentatively, I stepped closer to the Susanmobile to investigate.


Hiding under Susan’s car, looking for a cool spot to lie down, was my archnemesis, Leviathan, the freakish raccoon that bullies me around the parking lot. The great beast had sprung from his lair when he saw me approach and began to sprint across the parking lot. Naturally, I did what any inactive Marine would do when he spots a predator — I jumped on the hood of Susan’s car and cried for my mommy.

And Leviathan? Well, he turned with those menacing eyes, gave me that death stare that he’s so fond of aiming in my direction, shrugged his massive shoulders and slowly ambled off to the shade behind our office. Yes, it was even too hot for Leviathan to mess with me that particular day.

Counting my blessings, I crawled back down from Susan’s massive SUV, collected myself and walked into the good graces of our air-conditioned office.

Hey, I’m a wuss — not stupid.