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Beating the heat: Five ways to keep cool this summer

Katy Malinowski / Red Dirt Report
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The window to my bedroom faces the east towards the city. Over the edges of the suburban houses, around 7 every morning, I can feel the unearthly heat that is never called for that early in the day.

It reads 82 degrees Fahrenheit as I write this. Even as I hear the overworked air conditioning above me, I can’t help but wonder what unforgiving deity decided that this part of the world should cook in a slow roast.

Call me old fashioned, I have a few reservations against burning alive.

I need to preface this by saying something that’s often found to be sacrilegious in the Southern states. But, as my father always said, “If you don’t push the envelope every once in a while, how the hell do you know if it’s even there?”

The season of summer is overrated.

There, I said it.

Hell, I sweat more than a man caught with the wrong computer tab left on his personal computer anyways. Summer just makes it worse and then some.

Visions of babes clad in Technicolor bikinis on a beach facing a sapphire blue sea, children riding their bikes down the road to a park a block or two away, and the ice cream man’s jingle that could be heard for miles…they’re all gone.

I’d love to say that the things that we used to see in the movies are the way that they are now. Honest, I would. The unfortunate part, like time itself, we must keep moving forward. Those visions may not be gone but they’ve definitely changed.

Women wearing their best shorts with a bikini to leave just enough to let an imagination run wild are bursting into flames without the help of industrial grade sunscreen.

Children are only making it so far down the street before the black asphalt of death melts the rubber from their tires. Of course, they’re right in the middle of the road as it burns away so they’re left to play a real-life game of the “Floor is Lava”.

Let’s not forget those privileged ice cream men that drive the van that blares the jingle we all know as ice cream time. There, I bet you’re singing it now.

Even through the freezers that are in the back of the van, ice cream, both plain and with characters faces on them, are melting into a sloshed mess of sadness. There is no feeling of depression quite like grabbing the packaging of ice cream only to feel it easily squish in your grip.

Believe me, if you saw me, my nonathletic grip would make even Urkel laugh.

So what are we left to do? As Americans, we take crap from no one; much less, the Sun. Just because it was here before us and it’s bigger than us, I’ll be damned if I’m sworn to remain inside while it roasts the Earth for a select number of months.

Because of that, I’ve decided to make a list of things to do to combat the summer. It’s about time to show the sadists of summer that we can have fun too or die trying. Let’s not hope for the latter though.

1.) Leave the State: In this circumstance, it’s fine to be the kid to pick your ball up and go home. The only problem with it is that your home feels like it’s burning at the seam. What else is there to do but pack the car with whatever you need for a few months, start the car, and don’t stop the car until the thermometer reads lower than 75. Plug in that road trip remix that you made a few years ago and don’t stop long enough for the rubber in your tires to fully meet the hellacious asphalt road.

Fair warning to those not familiar with the Oklahoma wind: if you’re driving at full speed to the state lines, please don’t roll down the window. Believe me, it’s an enticing thing to do. People from either side of the panhandle will say that Oklahoma wind is nothing to play with so, because you can put two and two together, you probably thought it would be a fantastic idea to roll it down and feel the Great Plains wind go through your hair. This is a bad idea. Plain and simple. Have you ever stuck your face in front of a blow dryer heated at full blast? That’s about how it feels at a higher velocity. But I digress.

2.) Find a pool and live in it: I admit that this should be a temporary measure to a persistent problem. Swimming pools have been a commodity since the dawn of mankind so it would be simple for us to just jump to that. In a cynical way, the good news behind that idea is that you wouldn’t ever have to bring a towel with you. That’s right, just step out of the pool and let the Sun hit you at full blast. When your skin starts to fall off like the Nazis inRaiders of the Lost Ark, you should be good. What I might suggest is that you find yourself a nice watering hole and get comfortable because the challenge is easy: stay there. You might want to plan your stay there but, in all honesty, you’re going to be there for a little while. How you know when you need to leave is about the time that the leaves begin to change colors.

Aside from avoiding the heat at all costs, there are plenty of advantages to attempting live an aquatic life temporarily. You’ll never have to worry about under or over moisturizing your skin, never again will you have to search for an available bathroom, and you can exercise whenever you see fit. The only things that make it difficult to become a water-wild man or woman are the dealings with creatures like ducks and geese and the occasional crazed thunderstorm. By fall and winter time, it’ll be worth every drop.

3.) Beg Bill Nye to build an air conditioned biodome: Now, my friendly reader, I know what you might be thinking. “Well, smart guy, didn’t the Simpsons and Stephen King do that before? It didn’t work out too well for them so why do you think that’ll work?” The good news is that we’re not idiotic yellow people nor are we a small town filled with drug addicts and corrupt people looking to murder and cover-up conspiracies. We, as Oklahomans, are survivors. When it comes to intelligent, innovative scientists in the modern age, we aren’t necessarily flush as we once were with scientists. Gone are the days of Einsteins, Oppenheimers and Fermis and here are the Nyes, Tysons and Musks. Seeing as how one of the recent three is there to make more of an effort to educate the public from an early age in the 90’s, I say we ask him. It’s  not to say that either one of us is as intelligent as Mr. Nye, but one might theorize that we keep the wind generators right outside of the dome so that it can fuel air conditioned wind into the bio-domed system. We could centralize traffic and regulate trade through a tiny vault door towards the northern part of the community.

In the case of emergencies where we need to escape the dome, we must wear air conditioned suits created by Bill Nye and venture out into the pre-Mad Max world that is settling before us.

4.) Cryogenically freeze yourself: No offense, I don’t care how many times people tell me that it’s physically impossible for modern science to freeze someone just to unthaw them later in the future. If Walt Disney, the man made of reimagining dreams and animated childhoods, can do it, so can we. You know, minus the bookoos of bucks at our disposal. So we need to find an alternative to this genius idea. We may not be able to battle the suffering sun but we can sure as hell hide from it until it’s gone. If anything, it’s like we’re hibernating in reverse. I suggest that we find deep, walk-in freezers that can fit roughly 30 in a packed area. You can find these in most restaurants or meat lockers and I’d advise that claustrophobic people not go straight to this resolution. Once down this road, we will stay locked in the freezer unit until someone trusted relays a message that Fall has arrived. This will require that one person will have to open and shut the door from the outside and, to that person, we shall deem them the sacrificial lamb. We love you, dearly. That being said, you most likely burst into flames. We’re sorry in advance.

For those not completely cool with the idea of freezing yourself in packs, might I suggest a body-sized Yeti cooler? They’re sturdy and can withstand a large amount of whatever you decide to stuff in there. Just forewarning, according to, 95 degrees Fahrenheit is as slow as it can go before the bad stuff begins to set in. Tread lightly, my friends. Perhaps, if we stay long enough, we can find a permanent solution to this shitty season.

5.) Let the fire of the Sun consume you: Where practicality dies, extremism rules. Granted, this isn’t the first avenue that we should explore. That being said, it shouldn’t be taken off the table completely. In the numerous ways to die, being burned alive by the Sun isn’t the worse. In fact, to say that the soul of the Sun consumed you and I feared nothing is more on the side of epic. Think about it. Some of the influential people in history have died in some of the most prolifically stupid ways. For example, Jasper Newman “Jack” Daniel died from an infected toe, the 9th President of the United States William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia 30 days into his presidency, and it’s said that Attila the Hun died from a nosebleed on his wedding night. So is death by sunfire any less dumb than those historically sound people? If anything, that’s the stuff that legends are made of.


I don’t write these things lightly. The matter of dealing with summer as it’s happening has been a lifelong crusade. Being a white male who sweats enough to make a sweatshop be concerned, the indoors and air conditioning has always been my friend.

With these tips, let your summer be happy and try not to burst into flames. Unless you go with option 5. If so, see you on the other side, you severely dedicated reader.

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About the Author

Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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