Fresh Facts Week 45: It’s Hot! No Cause to Complain

Volume 8, Week 45, June 28-July 4, 2015

I’d heard from some old timers that it gets hot here in the summer time, and they certainly were correct this past week. The real downside this year is there’s no Sierra snowmelt canal to jump in or river to float down.

The real surprise wasn’t the 108 here, but Portland was 100 and Pasco, Washington was 116; 116 in Eastern Washington?

Now here’s an observation into humanity I had this week. As I went about, I’m working with all these wonderful people who work outside; you know, outside where it really is 108 or whatever. And sure, it’s a topic of conversation (like drink plenty of water, and knock off when it gets to 100, and such), but I never heard a word of complaint.

Then I go up to the fruit packing shed which is insulated and has 15 huge swamp coolers on the roof. Everyone has this cooler air blowing on them and a water cooler within 15 steps, yet as I go about, with my, “How ya doin’s?” I get a lot of “Man, it’s hot!”

Finally, I go to town to fetch some parts and what not, and oh my goodness, all anyone can talk about is how miserably, stiflingly hot it is; and I’m thinking, “The thermostat is set on 74; it’s the same temperature year-round in this store.”

Wouldn’t you think it’d be the exact opposite? Shouldn’t the people with the conditioned-air job be exulting in how good they have it, and the folks who deal daily with life under the sun be the complainers?

So, I’ve formed a hypothesis, which I haven’t totally clarified and distilled to its essence, but maybe you all can pitch in and do some observational lab work with me and help me come up with a better way to say it. Here’s what I’ve come up with: People accept what’s here and grumble about what’s there.

All together, we can come up with something that sounds better than that of course (and if it rhymed, that’d be even better), but that’s the core observation.

Like Murphy’s Law, this could be The Uncle Vern Rule. Here’s some more proof as to its validity:

I peddled a bike 40 miles this morning before church with a guy who has cancer on his kidney. Privately, folks have been lamenting this tragedy as he’s a real athletic guy…The wife of the other fellow I rode with is coming towards the end of a long battle with Lupus and all that entails.

We stop 20 miles out at a café to take a break and talk about life, and the friend with the cancer says matter-of-factly that they’re going to remove the bad kidney in about 10 days and everything else looks good. The friend with the ailing wife talks about all the changes that have been made as things proceed, but neither one has one word of complaint, it’s here and accepted.

Want another example? Half the world’s population lives on 2 bucks a day or less, but when I visit these oppressed places I witness not just contentment, but often inexplicable joy. Contrarily, I don’t have to tell you how contented we Americans are.

So here’s what I’m thinkin’. Once we know the Uncle Vern Rule, we’re going to start seeing it everywhere we go; first in ourselves and then in our neighbors. We’re going to catch ourselves griping about what’s there and then remember how comparatively great it is here; gratitude for what we have.

Next, once we’ve got this down—and gratitude is a verb—we’re going to lovingly point out to the there grumblers what a wonderful invention conditioned air is.

Author Uncle Vern

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