Did you survive the heat wave? A heat wave officially occurs when temperatures top 90 degrees for three days in a row, and last weekend was so hot that you could fry an egg on the street. I’ve never fried an egg on the street because I can’t figure out how to make toast on the street to go with it. But I remember when I was a kid one of my friends told me to take a magnifying glass and hold it up to the sun. I couldn’t believe how big the sun looked, but then my eye started to get really hot. 

The Heat Index is a statistic that measures temperature plus humidity in the shade, and it’s found right next to the Heat Bibliography. Americans love statistics, it’s true. It’s estimated that 54.7 percent of Americans over the age of 2.3 love statistics. I just estimated it myself based on my knowledge of Americans under the age of 2.3.

When it gets this hot you should be aware of the warning symptoms of heat stroke, which include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, disorientation and rapid breathing. Unfortunately these are also the warning signs of falling in love, according to most songs written in the 1950s. So learn to tell the difference, and don’t date anyone who’s really HOT during a heat wave unless you have your affairs in order.

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It can be a serious situation, so I’m offering some important tips to stay safe during this sweltering weather. 1.) Avoid strenuous activity, which includes basically anything your wife tells you to do. Reschedule arduous tasks such as taking out the garbage until conditions are more favorable, such as your wife doing it herself. I ordered a new air conditioner for the heat wave, but the thing weighs a ton, so I’m postponing removing it from my trunk until such time as I don’t need it anymore. 2.) Stay in the coolest place you can. Meaning George Clooney’s house in Lake Como if there’s a spare room. 3.) Avoid eating high-protein foods like meat, which can create body heat during digestion, whereas carbohydrates use less energy to process. I hear Take Five chocolate bars are harmful during a heat wave, so dispose of them properly by sending them to Rick Melén, care of the Somers Record. 4.) Drink plenty of fluids, even if you’re not thirsty. This is a great reason to stop at the liquor store on your way to the heat wave. 5.) Avoid alcoholic beverages. Wow, didn’t see that coming, so thank goodness tip number 5 falls after tip number 4.

Why don’t you go jump in a lake? Well I’ll tell you why: It’s because several lakes in our area have sustained algae blooms that have resulted in high counts of dangerous bacteria. This is a phenomenon that happens periodically when there is a lot of rainfall and hot weather, and the bacteria get so hot that they decide to skinny-dip in the lake. 20,000 cells per milliliter is considered safe, but I like to take a microscope swimming with me and check it out for myself. I counted 18,764 cells and then somebody yelled “RICK! Your paramecium is showing!” and I lost count and had to start over. The DEP said that there were 212,000 cyanobacteria cells per milliliter in Greenwood Lake recently, and even the bacteria were complaining that it was unsafe.

My friends went to the beach on that hot, hot Saturday, and I’m not sure I would even want to go when it’s that hot. You’ll singe out there, so you literally HAVE to go in the water, and then what if there’s a shark sighting or something? I read somewhere that the odds of you being attacked by a shark are one in 3.8 million, so I wouldn’t stress about it. But the odds go up dramatically if you actually ARE being attacked by a shark. I can just see myself broiling away on the beach, and the sharks are out there snickering because they know I’m gonna have to come in sooner or later. So now I’m trying to remember how to survive a shark attack. I always heard that you’re supposed to punch it in the nose, but punching a nose underwater in slow motion is going to be way less effective than waiting for it to come up for air then nailing him with a good combination. I jab left in the right nostril then uppercut right in the left nostril, and blam! This guy is never going to smell me again. One expert says you should poke it in the eye, but first of all, a shark’s eye is a really tiny target. Second, I want him to recognize me as the guy that punched him in the nose. If I sock him in the nose, poke him in the eye and then stick my finger in his ear, this hammerhead is going to have to be the Helen Keller of sharks to win this fight and then I’ll have to trash-talk to him in Braille.

Even if I survive the shark attack, what about a riptide? All of a sudden, me AND the shark are being pulled downshore by a dangerous cross current. I know that you’re supposed to swim PARALLEL to the shore to escape the riptide, information that I’m betting the shark does not know. So I trick him into swimming perpendicular to the shore, and he gets sucked down into the deep blue sea and drowns, and I escape, a modern-day legend. This is why my wife won’t go swimming with me at the beach.

I’ll stay on the shore where the odds of me being attacked by a shark while doing the Times puzzle are approximately four trillion to one. I play the part of the one. If the shark is that consumed with me, let him pop up on the beach and well, consume me. Before he does, maybe he knows a four-letter word that means Hawaiian goose.

Say hello at: rlife8@hotmail.com