Sunday, May 19, 2013

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot

Val is no tender hothouse flower. Val wants nothing to do with any kind of hothouse. Like prescription medicine, fine chocolate, and human brain cells, Val operates best in a narrow temperature range. One that is cooler than eighty degrees.

Graduation was Friday night. As a member of the Backroads high school faculty, part of the "other duties as needed" clause in my contract requires me to march through the graduation ceremony in a long black robe and sit behind the podium until the last cap is flung rafterward and the Silly String starts to flow. Anybody who's a public school insider knows that times are tough. Pennies are being pinched in all manner of grips. Locked thermostats set to seventy-eight degrees after 3:00 p.m. are the bane of Val's existence. The locked thermostats did not know that Friday was the graduation ceremony. That thousands of people emitting thousands of BTUs would pack the gymnasium. The locked thermostats do not start cooling to seventy-eight degrees until the room temperature is eighty degrees.

Val felt like a Salvador Dali clock.

I refused to put on my thick black finery until five minutes before line-up time. At one point, I was not sure I would make it through the ceremony without IV fluids. I felt like that commercial M&M being shoved into the oven in a cookie. My drops of perspiration were sweating. My cheeks were flushed like those of an adolescent boy caught in the computer lab with a pr0n pop-up. Had anybody desired to roast a pig for a graduation luau, there was no need to bury the porker in a pit lined with coals. I could have simply thrown that pig over my shoulder like little person Charla from Amazing Race 11 carrying a side of beef while her cousin Mirna hounded her to walk faster. Al Gore declared that I alone am responsible for global warming. People can now hate with the heat of 10,000 Vals. Heat emanated from me like shimmering mirage waves rising from fresh asphalt on a Mississippi highway at the end of July. We were lucky that I did not singlehandedly spontaneously combust the entire faculty, school board, choir, graduates in the first row, and valedictorian mid-speech. Bored and peckish children in the audience could have roasted s'mores in the bleachers without danger of smoke inhalation. Adults seeking a more savory treat could have used my skin as a Japanese stone to sear thin strips of beef. I feared that my sweat droplets would melt through the polished wood of the gym floor like alien blood through steel. My skin was redder than that of a Nordic toddler left in the sun for twelve hours.

I have not yet begun to cool. I need to get my hands on a York Peppermint Patty.


  1. Yes, being in a school after hours is fun. The heat goes off at a magical time, as does the air conditioning.

    You're done, and I'm NOT NOT NOT!

  2. woman, you need a cold shower :) or an ice cream cone, or a 44 ounce cup of liquid.

  3. I don't know what is with schools. This time of year my district keeps the air up so cold that my nose runs, and that's wearing the winter sweaters I take with me. I hate it with the heat of 10,000 Vals. Hee hee.

  4. Hot Momma Val! There must be something you could do to make lemonade out of this black-robed lemon. How about canning the warmness and selling it to fools duffus enough to live in Idaho? You could call it Canned Heat! You could get a blues band to sing, "Going Up Country" on the commercials. You could sell it at Handbaskets, Etc. Hey! what do you think?

  5. Love your reference to Salvador Dali, And there aren't many things that a York peppermint patty can't make better.

  6. Sioux,
    Something tells me you have not encountered the entities who go thump in the bleachers and open doors by themselves and appear inside the utility closet. Get back to me, Madam, when you have a more thorough expose' of the after-hours school operations. Since you're still in school and all...

    I need an ice cream truck that delivers to my cold shower, where I will be sipping a 44 oz. Diet Coke.

    Good to know that I'm on the way to making a new expression happen. Kind of like Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls, with FETCH.

    That's a most scathingly brilliant idea! Canned Heat! Like that little Patagonian boy on the GE commercial who caught the wind in a jar to help his grandpa blow out birthday candles. Canned Heat will be more popular than Jarred Wind. Unless Jarred Wind steals the Smuckers tag line.

    There's something about those Dali timepieces that persist in my memory.