The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 8, 2012

It's so hot, Jersey Shore cast accidentally got real tans

By Kelly Kazek
kelly@athensnews-courier.com

— A record heat wave gripping two-thirds of the nation, including my brown and crunchy front yard, gives Al Gore fans — all Inconvenient Two of them — a new argument for his global warming theory.

Then again, it also gives credence to those who believe the apocalypse is only a few short months away when the Mayan calendar ends in December.

I mean, it’s hot, y’all.

Last week, my staff of intrepid reporters and I tried an experiment. We cracked a couple of eggs on the pavement outside the office to see if they would cook — not because we had too much time on our hands or we’re extremely immature. No, we did this for you guys. Better we risk our safety than you. We are professionals.

Of course, we were truly disappointed when the eggs congealed into something like a decoupage coating but didn’t cook (one blog claims the pavement must be 154 degrees).

However, we did learn something that day. If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation in a desert with only graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars to eat, you can make s’mores. We did.

Simply wrap the marshmallows in foil and leave them inside the hot car for 10 minutes. Then place a hunk of chocolate on the hood for, oh, say, 1.2 milliseconds. Smash those between your grahams and you’re ready to go  — right after you find a stick or a piece of cactus to scrape the melted mallow from the foil.

Don’t thank me. It’s my job.

I feel this type of investigative reporting is important, especially during the past couple of years, when our only seasons have been almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas.

I once wrote a column complaining about a scene in “A Time to Kill” in which Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock are eating in a Mississippi restaurant, both cloaked in a sheen of made-for-movie sweat, the kind that makes you look like they had been walking seductively along a beach at sunset rather than picking up trash on the roadside with a bunch of convicts. All I could think was, “Hey, you Hollywood Types Who Can Never Depict the South Correctly: This is 1996. There’s air conditioning. We Southerners now only glisten when the preacher asks us to increase our tithing.”

But I find that I may have to eat those imaginary words to those imaginary Hollywood folks. Here it is 2012 and yes, we have air conditioning, but we are glistening like Tom Cruise in divorce court.

I was in the frozen food aisle at a grocery store last week and found two dogs and a possum asleep in the freezer, right alongside the Cool Whip (although I don’t think we should read anything kinky into that.)

Come a Sunday afternoon, you’ll see church ladies unbuttoning their collars and sticking a pound of frozen ground beef right down the front of their dresses.

I even saw a sign on the convenience store door that read: “No shoes, no shirt, no problem.”

It’s so hot, the cast of “The Jersey Shore” accidentally got real tans. Like, from the actual sun.

There is an upside to the heat wave. For instance, it’s hot enough to make Justin Bieber seem cool to anyone over 12 years old. Also, I heard a rumor Donald Trump is going to trade his comb-over for a burr cut.

Here in the South, the birthplace of heat rash, we’ve always peppered our conversations with commentary on the weather but we can’t leave it at that. No, it’s at times like these that Southern one-upmanship becomes a true art form.

Seeing as how Limestone County broke three heat records and tied one between June 30 and July 5, it’s the perfect time for a little competition, and I don’t mean that tired old: “It’s hotter’n a billy goat in a pepper patch” or “It’s so hot, the trees are bribing the dogs.”

Please. Those are sooo two decades ago.

I want you to help me out.

Even though we are heading into a “cold front” and temps are expected to drop into the 90s this week, send me your best sentence beginning with:

• “It’s so hot …” or

• “It’s so dry …”

Here’s one I came up with: “It’s so hot, I wouldn’t notice if Hugh Jackman walked into the room and took off his shirt.” OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’d notice. I just wouldn’t have enough spit to do a wolf-whistle.

Send your ideas to kelly@athensnews-courier.com or post on our Facebook page and I’ll publish them next week.