It's definitely time, past time, to update this annual list of heat-beaters. Feel free to clip and save, mix and match, or add your own.
1. Delete all unwanted emails without opening them. Especially if they're from types who are always a bit hot under the collar anyway. If you must open any, under no circumstances reply. Soon you'll be on their heated level. Last year I heard from a Satanist -- no, actually he said he was a pagan -- and, you guessed it, he was hot as hell.
3. Recall the lightest, most elegant, interesting dessert you ever had. Mine is zabaglione over half a perfect peach. Italians know what they're doing in matters of summer style, and hot summers bring out their genius for creating just the right dish.
4. To borrow a line from the late great Robert Benchley, get out of those sweaty clothes and into a dry martini.
5. Think on the pure, crystalline beauty of the Pythagorean Theorem.
6. Don't try to figure out the infield fly rule one more time; just settle back and watch the game. Linger over the replays in slow motion. Move slowly yourself. No sense hurryin.'
7. Avoid watching sit-coms, playing rock 'n' roll, listening to TV shout shows, worrying about the future or regretting the past. "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." --Satchel Paige. Epictetus the Stoic might have said something like that, but not half so well.
8. Decorate with cool, green, leafy things, but not kudzu. Turn your back on it for a minute and it'll cover your house.
9. Take siestas; arrange to live in the early morning and after twilight.
10. Don't hurry back, or anywhere. "Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried." --Henry David Thoreau. He may have been a Massachusetts man, but he had to be a Southerner at heart.
11. Park in the shade.
12. Key lime pie.
13. Wear a hat. With a broad brim.
14. Give the kids a nap. Take one yourself. Or watch an old Mister Rogers show with a small child; it'll soothe both of you.
15. Sit on the front porch. In a swing. Under a fan. Especially if it's glassed-in, air-conditioned, in the shade, and surrounded by cool greenery inside and out. If you must go out in the noonday sun -- like mad dogs and Englishmen -- stick a handkerchief in the back of your collar. Wear sunglasses. Breathe deeply.
16. Read last January's weather reports, with special attention to blizzards and ice storms. Contemplate Iceland and wonder if Eyjafjallajokull will erupt again. But under no circumstances attempt to pronounce it. It takes too much effort.
17. Take a thimble-sized cup of hot soup before supper to whet the appetite.
18. Switch from big band to chamber music, red to white wine, gin to tonic, cornbread to beaten biscuits, humor to wit. Sit back, breathe deeply, and erase from your mind all thoughts of Rand Paul, Eliot Spitzer, Obamacare, Eric Holder and anything else Fast and Furious.