"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wSaturday, August 13, 2005

HOTTER THAN HELL: When I was four or five, my father almost died of heat exhaustion. He was running a distance race in Portland, Oregon (not a Marathon; I think it was a 15 K) and things did not go as planned. The day was abnormally humid and he was jogging uphill and, well, there his memory stops and we have to rely on witnesses.

My uncle Bill saw him meandering along in a stupor and told him that he should stop. Bill grabbed Dad to try to lead him out of the race. My father -- he has no recollection of this -- responded by tossing his brother across the road, and then he collapsed. He woke up in a hospital and the doctors told him that he was lucky to wake up at all.

Mum wasn't a worrywart -- still isn't -- but after that, when it got too hot for too long she would drop subtle hints that the old man should come in out of the sun, or at least drink more water. And he usually took the hint.

I mention this because, physically, I am a lot like my father. We are both short and stout, we both have the same distinct walk, and we both do horrible in hot, humid weather. We sweat a lot and our powers of observation and concentration dim considerably. So I had to send the following text message to a friend for having missed his surprise engagement party yesterday:

"Believe it or not, I got lost last night and wandered around in a heat-addled stupor. I won't be similarly distracted from your wedding."

Unless, you know, he decides to hold it in D.C. in August.

posted by Jeremy at 6:32 PM