Ready for football weather

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Here we are, barely a week into summer, and I’m ready to tap out, but I’m not complaining.
I spent 34 months in Iraq, where it gets extremely hot. During the summer months, the temperature regularly exceeds 125 degrees, but, as they say, it’s a dry heat. When it dropped below a hundred, it felt like football weather.
One day, during my first deployment, I noticed one of my soldiers standing next to his vehicle, so I walked over to check on him. After realizing he was okay, our discussion quickly turned to the weather.
“That’s about the hottest sun I have ever seen,” I said, as I looked in the general direction of the blazing sun.
“Yes, sir. It almost looks like it’s on fire,” he replied.
“Almost, young man. Almost,” I said, with a grin.
I talked about the heat a lot but don’t recall ever complaining about it, even while riding in our vehicles in full body armor equipped with air conditioners that were the equivalent of window units low on Freon. For most of us, as long as we kept ourselves hydrated, we were fine.
I did, however, vow to never complain about the heat again upon my return to the “Land of the Freon.” That, of course, lasted about as long as an Alabama fan in a spelling bee.
Speaking of Alabama fans, I grew up in a house full of them, and our house didn’t have air conditioning. I lived there for 18 years, so dealing with the heat should be second nature to me, but it’s not. We left the windows open and had box fans throughout the house. I didn’t know any better; that’s just the way it was.
We spent most summers with our grandparents deep in the heart of Tallapoosa County. They, too, were lacking central air, but they did have a window unit. They also knew a trick. I didn’t understand it when I was a kid. In fact, I was skeptical. They had a steel window fan and would flip the switch to reverse, which apparently sucked out the hot air and spit it back outside.
While in college, I lived in an old shotgun-style house for three summers. I think it was insulated with charcoal, because it was the single hottest dwelling east of the Mississippi. Thankfully, this particular house was equipped with a steel window fan. One day, I flipped the switch to reverse, and it worked. It got cooler. The grandparents knew what they were doing.
I was stationed in Oklahoma in the mid-nineties, and, in direct contrast to their long-time state slogan, Oklahoma was not OK, at least with respect to weather. The wind is relentless in Sooner Country, so the summers were akin to a giant hair dryer. There is, however, a natural reverse switch on that hair dryer, which oftentimes results in tornados. I’d rather deal with the heat.
A few years ago, I attended the National Stuttering Association’s annual conference in Arizona. I set out one day to explore the city of Scottsdale. My uniform was a short-sleeved shirt, Bermuda shorts, and flip-flops, which was a far cry from the full battle rattle worn routinely in Iraq, yet I lasted only slightly longer than the Bama fan in the aforementioned spelling bee before retiring to the comforts of my hotel room. I did what I had to do.
The heat’s not that bad, and I’m incredibly blessed to have a home with central air. I’ve simply become spoiled, but I’m not complaining. I’m just ready for football weather.
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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