Saturday, August 11, 2007

The dog days, and "August Heat"

It's a slow day in the blogosphere, so let's go to the mail bag. Wait a second ... I don't have a mail bag. I suppose that means it's time to pull something out of the air.

Here in Wichita, we are in the middle of a string of 100-degree days, a string that seems likely to continue through next week. It's a daunting thing to look at the five-day forecast and see a row of identical suns perched over identical sets of three-digit numbers. We have central air here at the ancestral manse, of course, but we can't help but think of the time when people didn't.

And if you're me, you can't help but think of the creepy little short story "August Heat," by W.F. Harvey. I think I first read it in high school, as part of an English class. Like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," it is a dark and subtle gem. It must be, or how else would I have remembered those last two lines more than 40 years later?

"But the heat is stifling.
It is enough to send a man mad."

Excuse me now, while I adjust the thermostat.

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