Taking It All in Stride

The calendar says “June” but the weather feels like a month that rhymes with “Fry” or one that’s even hotter than that. When I got into my car late yesterday afternoon, the onboard temperature reading was “106.” Granted, the car was sitting directly in the sunshine and metal objects sitting in the sunshine in southern Kansas on a clear day in June tend to exaggerate such readings. Such was the case yesterday; by the time I drove home, it was down to a much more humane reading of ninety-eight. I was so elated by my change in fortune that I went into the house and promptly sat down underneath a ceiling fan.

I suppose I could have comforted myself by thinking about a few multitudes of poor souls for whom sitting under a ceiling fan in an air-conditioned home is not an option. But then I realized that some of those poor souls live in Australia where it is now winter. Frankly I was a bit jealous and Lord knows there’s not a lot of comfort in jealousy.

Then I realized there are some poor souls who live in northern Canada and northern Alaska and Siberia. I think they’re probably really happy that it’s finally the start of summer up there and they’re tinkled pink with the lovely seventy degree weather and wonderful fishing. Frankly I was rather envious of them and envy sure isn’t the ticket to feeling better about one’s condition.

So then I started thinking that maybe thinking about a lot of people who should be more miserable than me wasn’t really a charitable way to go about the whole thing anyway. Maybe they shouldn’t be more miserable, maybe they should be grateful for whatever tiny bit of good they have in their life. Maybe they should be glad the heat index isn’t a hundred-and-horrible wherever they live.

But then I realized that maybe the heat index is a hundred-and-twenty-plus-horrible where they live. And maybe they don’t have AC or maybe they do have AC and their monthly electric bill is about half the value of my old Ranger pickup truck. And maybe their job only pays a quarter of the value of my truck. And then I got to thinking about how some people actually die from heat stroke. Just sitting there inside their apartment surrounded by concrete and asphalt and they just keel over.

Well, you can imagine how much better that made me feel about my circumstances. Should I turn off my AC? Turn off the ceiling fan? Put on a heavy coat and go sit in the sunshine?

“No,” I thought, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” So, I got up, put some ice in a tall glass and poured myself a chilled Sangria. Just getting off my butt made me feel so much better about things that I started working on the crown molding. And pretty much quit feeling sorry for myself for a while.

Pretty soon I got so carried away I started feeling grateful and quit feeling jealous of all those lucky rascals who would gladly give up nearly everything they own to trade places with me. No matter who our next president is…

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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