Friday, July 20, 2007

Fantasy land

While I was out delivering papers yesterday, I ran into Ed Kemmick and Gazette photographer David Grubbs. Kemmick said to Grubbs something to the effect that I would make a good source for a story on people who work in hot weather.

He was referring, I presume, to the newspaper perennial feature of rounding up people who have outdoor jobs and interviewing them during hot weather for a quick and easy summertime feature. It's in the genre of what Mark Twain called, if memory serves, "strawberry surprise" stories, a reference to newspaper editors' unfailing ability to greet with wonder the fact that every spring plants grow.

Kemmick and Grubbs were kidding around, but it did ease the tedium of a long, hot afternoon to fantasize about spending a day relating my delivery adventures to an attentive reporter and photographer. Most of the fantasy was idle nonsense, including the point at which I felt something resembling heat exhaustion coming on, and I pulled in under a tree to rest. "Here's your chance," I fantasized telling Grubbs, "to get a real front-page shot: 'Editor dies carrying news to the people.'" It would have made the perfect climax to the upcoming Nobel Prize nomination story.

Then there was the half hour or so I wasted speculating about who has it harder: guys who work in the heat every day, or a guy like me who sits on his butt staring at a computer screen for 60 hours a week, then works outside like a dog for one day a week. I never came up with the answer to that, but I did decide who had it toughest of all: the friend I had back in East Texas who repaired air conditioners. Everywhere he went, the air conditioning was on the fritz.

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