hot and bothered

I wish I were an anchorwoman.

“Good evening. Well, we’ve had another day of the mercury inching upwards. Let’s go live now to a Hotness Expert to tell us how warm it actually is, in case the fact that large patches of your skin are boiling and sliding off isn’t already enough of an indication. Dr. Swelter is the author of the provocative bestsellers Hot Enough For Ya? and If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Do Something About Global Warming Already. Dr. Swelter?”

“Thank you, Red. Indeed, it’s sizzling out there.”

“Dr. Swelter, what do you recommend that people do during this kind of extreme weather?”

“Well, for starters, we are urging people to be sure to consume plenty of liquids.”

“Interesting. Tell me more about these liquids of which you speak.”

“Drinking water keeps you hydrated, and hydration is very important during this kind of heat.”

“Undoubtedly. And actually, Dr. Swelter, one might argue that, as the human body is composed primarily of water, hydration is always important, even in, say, February. However, we don’t talk about hydration in February because that’s when we like to talk about frostbitten extremities and snowfall records. Honestly, we really couldn’t care less if our viewers spend the entire winter sitting in a sauna eating salt and drinking Guinness, so long as you don’t do that shit in the summertime when hydration is at its trendiest. Any other tips?”

“You want to make sure to stay in air-conditioning whenever possible. For people who need it, there are cooling centers throughout the city.”

“Ah yes, those cooling centers, or as I call them, Giant Dirty Puddles Set Up on the Street With a Sprinkler Thrown in for Good Measure, can be quite refreshing for poor people.”

“And speaking of, Red, we are mostly concerned about the elderly, particularly shut-ins, who may need help in understanding the threat that this kind of heat can pose to their health.”

“Good point, Dr. Swelter. Although by definition, I’m sure shut-ins are going to be a little hard to get to, as when their neighbors knock on the door, they often pretend that they’re not home, even though they haven’t stepped foot outside since FDR was in office. What do you suggest in those circumstances?”

“That can certainly be a problem, Red. We urge neighbors to check in on and take care of each other at times like this.”

“Right, maybe they could just try knocking really, really hard, and then draw straws to figure out which one of them has to peer in through the lace curtains and hope they don’t find the old lady in rigamortis. And perhaps we should give these elders in our community a moment’s consideration around the holidays as well, since their children probably never call, never write, and never give them a goddamn moment’s worth of their time, you ungrateful, selfish little bastards.”

“Absolutely, Red. We also want runners to take heed of the heat warnings.”

“Ahh, yes, I was wondering when you were going to mention something about the emaciated crackpots sprinting down our city streets. While it’s endlessly entertaining for my friends and I to sit in a pub and play Count the Eating Disorders as they run by, I must admit that I’m a tad concerned for their safety. Plus, you can practically see their tendons. Would it kill them to eat a steak?”

“Indeed, Red, this is certainly not optimal weather for vigorous outdoor activity. We are urging all your viewers to exercise indoors for the next several days.”

“Duly noted. Another problem that we’re running into here at the station is coming up with synonyms for hot. Scorching, blistering… there are only so many of them. We’re also running short on heat-related idioms. Turn up the heat, the heat is on… they’re not as abundant as you might think, and we very much don’t want to risk becoming repetitive. Repetition is certainly a concern when you’re a network broadcaster. We simply don’t have enough air time to sit around saying the same thing over and over again different ways.”

“Good luck with that, Red, and all my best to your viewers in staying out of the hot seat during these next few days.”

“Oh, thanks, we haven’t used that one yet! Well, you heard him, folks… grab your maracas because it’s hot-hot-hot! Next up, we’ll check in with a condensation expert who can tell us what to expect for our coffee tables if this balmy weather pattern continues.”

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