(Tom Jirik wrote columns in several newspapers in Iowa from the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s. This column originally appeared in the The Boone Today)
My wife and I are macho.
When the wind blows, we enjoy it. When the rain falls, we savor it. When the snow falls, we revel in it. When the temperature drops to below zero, we laugh. Ha! Ha!
We’re no weather wimps, that ‘s for sure. Snow, wind, sleet and hail leave us unfazed. But sometimes the summers really get to us. We’re already dreading July and August.
For days and days on end the temperatures will climb to 90 degrees, 100 degrees and above. The humidity will make the air so thick that you can scoop it with a spoon. Heat waves will shimmer off the softening pavement. Our tiny fans will do little to relieve the burning torture. Our minds will begin to reel and we will go mad imagining that we are slowly being cooked alive.
I really hate that.
But because we are macho, we’ve endured three summers here in Iowa with no air conditioning. We’ve tried everything to keep cool. We dampened our sheets in the bathtub before bedtime. We slept with wet cloths over our faces. We’ve experimented with our fans for hours, striving for optimum cooling air movement.
But mostly we just sit around, sweat a lot and dream about January. It’s the macho thing to do.
Consequently, July and August are not peak months of marital harmony for us. “Could you bring me some ice water,” I ask. “I’d do it myself but I’m stuck to this vinyl chair.”
“Get it yourself,” Mary snaps in reply, “I’m busy sweating.”
And so it goes until the heat breaks sometime in September.
But we are macho, so we endure. Our stoic resolve has been honed by Minnesota mosquitoes and North Dakota winters. After those, Iowa summers should be easy.
But they are not. The heat and humidity are too much. Last week’s muggy weather sent our minds reeling. We could not comprehend spending another summer here. And in a moment of weakness, we bought an air conditioner.
I realize now that we are not macho at all. We are weak and spineless. In the face of Iowa’s heat, our stoic resolve melted like an ice cream cone that has been dropped on a hot summer sidewalk.
No, we are not macho. We are weak. We’re so ashamed.
But at least we are cool.