Beating the Heat

Every summer, I make myself a promise that I will not spend the next one in Texas.

And this year marks the silver anniversary of the number of times I’ve broken that promise. I’m sure many others around here make that same resolution, but I’m still pretty disappointed in myself. When I look in the mirror, my reflection won’t even make eye contact.

But here we are, right in the middle of the doldrums. It’s the time of summer when parents begin to understand the appeal of year-round school. That’s because kids are running out of things to do. Most of them have already seen all the summer blockbusters that have been hyped over the past 12 months. And once again, those movies were a sequel, a remake or straight out of a comic book. That’s what happens when your head writer is probably a year older than Justin Bieber. Earlier this summer, my son and I had the misfortune of seeing Man of Steel, a movie with a storyline a bloodhound couldn’t follow. Critics liked it because of the special effects. And if you consider the effects of confusion and boredom to be special, you’ll like it too.

Over the years, Hollywood has been trying to humanize all the superheroes. If you think about it, all of these guys suddenly have real issues. Superman  has a commitment problem with Lois, Green Lantern is struggling with his sexuality, and Thor apparently has always had a bad lisp. Turns out his real name is Sore.

Actually, there are really some cool things to do around Fort Worth in the summer to beat the heat. You can catch a ballgame, down a few on a restaurant patio or take in an outdoor concert

But what I really enjoy doing is hanging out over at my daughter Cally’s house. She and her husband refurbished an older home in the Mistletoe Heights area, and it’s got this great porch swing. I’ll just sit there, rocking back and forth with my granddaughter until she gets bored with me, which is generally a little under a minute. But what I really like to do is sneak over there in the mornings two or three times a week and swing on it while I read the newspaper. It gets me away from my computer for a while and gives the NSA a little extra time to spellcheck my emails. My refrigerator and I also need some time apart. I realized our relationship had become too intense when that little light bulb burned out. Not to mention my extra 15 pounds.

Now summer weight gain is not that unusual a phenomenon in Texas. We tend to cool off with ice cream or high calorie beverages. But we may have to rethink the way we’ve been doing things. That’s because the American Medical Association no longer considers obesity to be a condition or personal flaw. They have now classified obesity as a disease. That means almost 40 percent of Texans are sick. And there’s a very good chance that more of us are going to get sick, now that Twinkies are back on the shelves.

Personally, I feel this is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the new classification may have an impact on insurance premiums. If expensive new weight loss procedures are covered, costs could skyrocket. The good news is that now obesity is classified as a disease, you could use a “sick day” at work by calling in “fat.” Then you could go to a movie (hopefully not Man of Steel), or hit the horse track with complete impunity. Think about it. Your boss could never fire you for pretending to be sick. By definition, you’re always sick.

Anyway, it’s too hot to worry about all that. And as much as I enjoy that porch swing, I’m spending next summer somewhere besides Texas. I promise.