'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THREE CHEERS FOR AIR CONDITIONING
Here in the middle of another hot and steamy summer, I occasionally hear people make statements such as, “I don’t really like air conditioning,” or, “I hate sleeping with the air conditioning on because it makes my throat dry,” or, “Instead of running the AC, I just open all the windows and use a ceiling fan,” or, “Air conditioning is bad for the environment, so I’ll just sweat and be uncomfortable to save the planet.”
I’m sure these statements are sincere and well-meaning, but in reply I’d like to make a sincere statement of my own: Bull-loney!! Air conditioning is the second greatest invention in the history of mankind. The only reason it’s not the first greatest invention is because AC needs electric motors to work properly, so I acknowledge that man’s harnessing of electricity is a slightly greater feat than his harnessing of the condensation/evaporation cycle.
(The third greatest invention in the history of mankind, of course, is the Hostess Twinkie. How scientists were able to create something so tasty without using a single natural ingredient is amazing. Additionally, the Twinkie is practically indestructible, with a shelf-life of many decades, possibly centuries. It there ever is a global nuclear conflict that wipes out most of humanity, I predict the hardy souls who rebuild civilization will survive the bleak years on cases of surplus Twinkies—or maybe Spam.)
Anyway, the main point is, anyone who claims it is preferable to spend the summer months hot and sticky and with damp jockey shorts rather than being cool and dry must be suffering from heat stroke. That’s the only explanation I can think of for preferring to breathe air that is similar to warm pudding, only slightly thicker.
The reason I’m defending air conditioning is simple: it’s awesome. Just as there is nothing worse than feeling every square inch of your skin break out in a sweat—especially when you’re wearing a suit and tie—there is nothing better than stepping into an air-conditioned building and feeling the cool, dry air as it rejuvenates your whole body, mind, and spirit.
Some people complain that air conditioning can be uncomfortably cold, especially in shopping malls, hotel lobbies, and other public buildings. But that’s just a problem with the control settings, which can be fixed. We shouldn’t condemn the entire wonderful concept just because it is occasionally misapplied.
During the summer months, I often hear some folks say that they hate having to be inside all day long with the windows and doors tightly shut. They lament not being able to enjoy the great outdoors. Well, when the great outdoors happens to be a combination of a sauna bath in the Amazon rain forest on the surface of the sun, then there’s not a whole lot to enjoy. September and October will be coming along soon enough. In the meantime, I choose not to melt into a pool of my own sweat.
These same people complain that air conditioning has made us all prisoners, as if we are being forced to serve a lengthy sentence in confinement—a confinement that just happens to be cool and dry and comfortable. If that’s the case, then I say, “Your honor, throw the book at me!”
If people want to avoid air conditioning, for whatever reason, that’s their choice. But if they want me to join them in muggy misery, especially with that silly “save the planet” stuff, then forget it. I’m going to enjoy my Twinkies in a cool, dry room. There won’t be any guilt, and most importantly, there won’t be any sweating.
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