“It ain’t the heat; it’s the humility.”
— Yogi Berra
I’ve not yet been to Phoenix, so I can’t competently judge whether summers are hotter there than in Dallas-Fort Worth or how long the summer heat might linger into the fall. So I’ve been wondering lately what the temperature might be in late September or early October,
when we pass through Phoenix on an eastbound bicycle journey from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla.
I’m hoping that the weather will be at least “tolerable,” as in a local joke about Phoenix’s four seasons: “Tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!”
I’m a native Illinoisan and a veteran of more than two decades of Texas summers. So I’m acquainted with the stupefying humidity along the Mississippi River and with the blazing heat of a Texas August. But judging from some jokes — or perhaps statements of fact — about the Phoenix summer culled from the Internet, that desert metropolis might just take heat to a whole new level.
Here are a few:
— You can’t take the dog for a walk because the pavement is too hot for his feet.
— Potatoes cook underground, and all you have to do to have lunch is to pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
— Cows give evaporated milk.
— The trees whistle for the dogs.
— You can make instant sun tea.
— The greatest fear of a bicyclist is: “What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?”
A classic witticism about the climate of Phoenix is attributed to a fellow named Bob Fisher, who preached in the city quite a few years ago, but abandoned the pulpit to practice law. Asked why he made the career change, Fisher is said to have answered:
“I preached Christianity here to the best of my ability. But Christianity is based upon a system of rewards and punishments. Climate beat me. For eight months of a year the delights of heaven offer no special inducement to Phoenix residents. And for those who live through the other four months, hell has no terrors.”