Odd Thoughts: Jokes in danger of turning up heat

Ironically, dry wit tends to go nicely with our usual climate, which has a tendency to rain down upon us nearly every part of the year. It has often been said, for instance, that the rainy season out here begins and ends in August – it begins in the end of August and ends in the beginning of August.

In the winter, our weather often prompts one wag or another to quip, “Well, at least you don’t have to shovel it!”

Of course, there’s always a David Duchovny type out there whose sense of humour falls short of our climate, but for the most part, we laugh it off and admit that, despite the rain, we are lucky to inhabit a pretty darned nice piece of the world.

And then we get a summer like this one, and the irony gets so thick that it leaves a metallic taste in your mouth.

As much as we love to hate the rain, we despise any heat that dares to sneak into the 30s, much less stride boldly through them.

For some reason, it’s harder to coax a chuckle in the heat than it is in the wet.

Sometimes the weather is just plain nothing to laugh about. Indeed, in the heat of the moment, a miscue on what shall be deemed funny and what shan’t could land you in serious trouble.

Years ago, in the days when 27 degrees of Celsius used to be an unusually hot July day in the Lower Mainland, Donna and I set out on a road trip to Nelson.

It wasn’t particularly our intention to escape the heat… and we most certainly did not.

This was in the days when only rich people had the luxury of air conditioning their cars. We were not rich.

We picked the wrong part of the day to get underway, and by the time we got through Princeton, the heat was stifling. Temperatures were in the 40s.

Rolling down the windows merely encouraged the car to suck more heat into its interior.

Our Wet Coast brains were melting.

It was around Keremeos that I learned something about hot-weather jokes that I should try never to forget.

By this time, the sun was beginning to sink towards the horizon, and every so often it would slip behind the top of a mountain, resulting in a dramatic temperature drop of several degrees into the high 30s – which after hours of driving in our blast furnace felt like we were suddenly encased in ice.

It was heavenly, and we would slow down and savour those darkened moments.

We pulled in at a gas station sitting at the base of a hillside that had been amplifying the heat to the point where the pavement had the consistency of Werther’s caramel candy – the soft kind.

A young man reluctantly approached us through the heat and dutifully offered to fill our tank (there were few self-serve stations back then – and certainly not in the sticks).

The desire to be off with his friends in a swimming hole was clearly written in the sweat streaming down his face, punctuated by his slouched, scuffling walk.

I couldn’t resist: “Hot enough fer ya?” I quipped.

I shouldn’t have.

You’ve certainly heard the expression, “If looks could kill…”

If they could, I would have been simmered in my own juices in 45-gallon oil drum, with the words, “Hot enough for ya?” emblazoned on my forehead with a branding iron.

I could see it in the hot gleam of his eyes.

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