Sweat and the Fury|
by John Gosselink
three days last week, we lost of our air conditioning. Because of this sweaty
crucible of a situation, I was able to attain a startling clarity of thought;
a perspiring path to enlightenment if you will. From this experience, I was able
to discern some universal truths that I would like to share with you, in that
sanctimonious, annoying tone that dumb people use when they think they’re on to
Universal truth #1 – Anyone under 60 is an incredible
wimp. Or, to measure it another way, people who have had air conditioning their
entire lives are incredible wimps.
For the millennia folks have been
shuffling around this planet, only the last couple of generations have had the
benefit of air conditioning and only those of us in the industrialized world,
yet you would think losing it would be a condition pushing the very limits of
human endurance. People freaked out, present company included.
folks our situation and they would act like our house had fallen into a volcano,
in Saudi Arabia, on a day when even the local Bedouin tribesmen say, “Man, it’s
hotter than heavily furred rat stuck a week in Fariq’s robe.”
benefit concerts planned (“Gosselink Aid” – Starring a recently sobered up Englebert
Humperdinck, a still drunk Celine Dion, and ‘Thumbsy,” a really bad juggling clown);
when I would see folks at the store, there was that uncomfortable smiling silence
with the “should I acknowledge his tragedy or will that just dredge up ugly emotions”
vibe from them, and I repeatedly hugged my children telling them, “If I don’t
make it through this, know I love you.”
To really emphasize my generation’s
wimpiness, I actually had people congratulate me when our air conditioner was
finally fixed, as if I had accomplished something. Pathetic.
truth #2 – When the wife is hot for an extended period of time, everything,
and I mean EVERYTHING, is my fault.
Though at first, there was some slightly
tentative cause and effect correlation to my receiving of blame, as the hot spell
continued, it evolved into my possessing god-like powers, yet still all too human
in my blatant failure to use them correctly.
The air conditioner having
a bad compressor – my fault. We being out of Sweet & Low for her tea – my fault.
June being a summer month – my fault. Extended commercial breaks on the radio
– my fault. The tsunami disaster – my fault. Telesolicitors calling during lunch
– my fault. High price for oil– my fault. The reported rife between Regis and
Kelly - my fault. Broken air conditioner –still my fault. The passage of time
– my fault. Second night of no air conditioning – so much my fault that it makes
Universal truth #3 – If you open up your house for
any extended period of time, a bird will fly into your living room. Corollary
to truth #3 – There is no way to look cool when there’s a bird in your living
Most folks don’t realize that birds have two facial expressions
– the regular “I’m flying around looking for something to eat and a car to mess
on” look that we’re all familiar with, and then there’s the one they get when
they're in your living room.
I was sitting at the kitchen table trying
to catch a cross current between the front and back doors when a cliff swallow
made a grand entrance. After crashing into a couple of windows, he lit on a tall
lamp, met my eyes, and switched to bird expression 2, “Uhh, maybe this wasn’t
such a good idea.” I gathered the whole family and then the shrieking commenced.
my three females shrieking, me making the male equivalent noise, which is a kind
of high pitched grunt, and the bird’s expression at full blown freak out, it was
time to employ the time tested bird wrangling tool, a broom. I don’t know why
swinging wildly with a broom is the proper response to unwanted avian guests,
but it is, preferably with the wife shouting obvious instructions at you.
taking out a couple of lamps and knocking an end table over, said bird made an
ungraceful exit and took his sharp talons and razor like beak back to the friendlier
skies. All the excitement made it really hot.
#4 – Shouting at service technicians will not make needed parts spontaneously
appear from nothingness.
Look, I was catching a lot of grief from the
family about this air conditioning problem, so the only reasonable response is
to pass this grief along to an innocent bystander doing the best he can to help.
But, getting angry, making pointed puns using the brand name “Yeah, it’s called
a ‘Rheem’ because I’m getting Rheemed,” and using the bird “freak out” expression
doesn’t make it get done any faster. Ironically, it just makes you hotter.
truth #5 – The designated hitter rule in the American League should be abolished.
really doesn’t have anything to do with my air conditioning problem. I just thought
it needed to be said.