Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Humor Me: Calculating your very own heat index

In recent weeks, we’ve had lots of heat advisories across the country. Some of the advisories were even upgraded to full-blown excessive heat warnings, which the National Weather Service issues immediately when heat indexes reach critical levels or Newt Gingrich is seen wearing shorts.

(Or, if you prefer, Hillary Clinton wearing shorts. It’s hot enough outside that I don’t want to heat up either side of the political spectrum.)

Fortunately, this year’s heat has been nothing compared to last year, when Dallas had its most blistering summer ever. But still, it’s August, so it’s hot just about everywhere in the country. The heat index, which combines the temperature and the relative humidity, tells us just how hot it really is.

But what about a more personalized heat index?

There are other factors to consider. Wind speed, for example, and a type of clothing’s ability to transfer heat. Put it all together and you can create a mathematical equation that will force my brain to issue an excessive heat warning.

I need to keep it more simple. Starting with the current temperature outside, make a few simple additions and subtractions to get your very own heat index:

*If you’re standing out in the sun and holding a sign that directs people toward a business, add one. … If to attract business, you are told you must spin that sign and dance like you’re part of a bizarre rhythmic gymnastics routine, add two. If you must do it while wearing a cow suit or dressed as Abraham Lincoln, add three.

*If you’re mowing your lawn, add one. … If you’re watching someone mow your lawn, subtract one. … If you think you’re watching someone mow your lawn, but you haven’t hired a lawn service, add two when you start to run after the guy stealing your lawnmower -- or add three for heat-induced hallucinations.

*If, after walking outside for five minutes, you feel like you need to take a shower, add one. … If, after walking outside for five minutes, you look like you just stepped out of a shower, add two.

*If you’re setting up a bounce house for your child’s birthday party, add one. … If you’re sipping a cold beverage and watching your child jump around in the bounce house, subtract one. … If you’re inside the bounce house, chasing your child and saying, “It’s time to get out,” add two. … If the child bounces into tantrum mode and yells “I hate you!” add one for every birthday guest within earshot.

*If you’re wearing light-colored clothing, subtract one. … If you’re wearing dark-colored clothing, add one. … If you’re wearing no clothing because you decided to set the temperature higher in your home to save money and electricity, subtract one for the good feeling of doing something to help the planet. But close your blinds first.

*If you’re pregnant, add three. … If you’re the husband of a pregnant woman listening to her talk about how it’s terrible to be pregnant when it’s hot, add one, but do not, under any circumstances, tell her that it’s because “we’re pregnant.”

*If you’re standing out in the middle of the day doing construction work, add one. … If, as traffic whizzes by 10 feet away, you must hold an orange sign that says “Slow,” add another one. … If, as traffic whizzes by you must use a portable toilet, add one (or two).

*If you’re stuck in traffic on the way home from work, add one. … If you’re stuck in traffic on the way to work, add two. … If you’re stuck in traffic for so long that you scream an expletive, add three. … If your children are in the back seat at the time, add four. … If your children scream the expletive for you because they remember hearing it the last time, add five.

Well, that does it. If your heat index is above 110, hang in there. The end of summer is only a little more than a month away, and eventually we’ll experience the magical moment when we can peel apart the pennies and melted lip balm that has bonded to car cupholders.

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