Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dealing With Heat

Hot weather is the bane of many who must work outdoors. There are places so hot that the people who live there have to live someplace else. A farmer once asked me if I could recommend some way to deal with extreme heat.

"Yes," I said, "Move to Nova Scotia."

"I can't," he said. "My farm is here."

"In that case," I said, "I can only offer you an untested theory. In my travels I have seen that people who live in the Tropics consume very fiery cuisines. The Mexicans season their meals with jalapeƱo peppers. The East Indians burn their stomachs with curries. West Africans chew the powerful piri-piri chili pepper, and the Polynesians eat lava.

"I believe this is in response to the weather. These natives eat hot things to raise their internal body temperatures to more closely match the external temperature. This enables them to work with impunity in the equatorial heat. Of course, they are used to such searing dishes and we are not."

The farmer pondered this a moment and then walked away. I put the incident out of my mind. A year later, he approached me and gave this interesting report:

"I thought about what you said, Doc, and decided to test your theory. I fed one of my cows nothing but peppers, onions, chili powder and a little sulfur for two weeks during the hottest part of summer. My other cattle were collapsing from the heat or wouldn't budge from the shade, but this one galloped around an open field for hours in the full sun.

Everything seemed fine until she trotted into a creek and exploded."

"Ah!" I said. "I am sorry for your loss. Obviously her system had adapted to extreme heat but could not adjust quickly enough to the cool water. This is good to know. If you ever decide to try this method yourself, take care to avoid sudden changes of temperature."

He said that would not be necessary, as he planned to avoid the method entirely.

That is probably a wise decision. I will rest easier knowing that this cure is not being practiced by anyone in my vicinity.

copyright ©2011 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

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