By LARRY WOODY
Awhile back, on the hottest day so far this summer, my air conditioner went kaput.
One minute it was blowing out icy blasts, and the next minute it was huffing out air so hot it could have run for political office. Or roasted a turkey.
In this case, I was the turkey.
I called a local air-conditioning service, Mr. Cool, and the friendly receptionist on the other end asked if she could help me.
Yes, I gasped, my air conditioner had expired. And I wasn't far behind.
She said to remain cool (witty young lady, she was); help was on the way.
In a couple of hours help arrived in the form of a brawny young man with a bristling beard. We'll call him Hank, since that was the name on his shirt.
Hank shook my hand, expressed his condolences, and asked to see the patient.
I took him around back where the cooling unit is located, and Hank unscrewed a metal covering.
"Well," he said, pointing to a tangle of wires and metal coils, "there's your problem."
I peered inside, expecting to see a rabid badger, but all I saw was a tangle of colored wires and metal coils.
Hank explained that the turbo-condenser gage had malfunctioned, causing the spitzoid conductor valve to overheat and rupture the F14-transporter coil, allowing Freon to escape.
I assumed Freon was the name of a gang member who had been hiding in my air conditioner unit.
I asked if he could be re-captured.
Nope, Hank said. Freon's a goner, just like my air conditioner.
I asked if the leak could be repaired.
"Wellllllll...." said Hank. "We coulddddddd patch it. But there's no guarantee how long it will last."
I asked for his best guess, as a licensed and trained air conditioner-repair professional.
He said he was fairly sure it would last until he backed out of my driveway. At that point the warranty expired.
Plus, he said, once the coil was patched, the Freon had to be replaced. The stuff is imported from the distant plant Freon and costs $788 a drop.
Hank advised buying a new air conditioner.
I asked how much it cost.
Hank said he'd have to check with the manager. (The salesman who sold me my car said the same thing; he and Hank must be related.)
He made a call and said he had some good news. He could get me a new air conditioner for a mere $5,500, plus my first-born child. However, all the news wasn't so cheerful: he was running behind and couldn't install the new unit for a couple of weeks.
So here I sit, sweating and wheezing and getting in touch with my inner-pioneer. Most log cabins didn't have air conditioning, and until you've gone without it during the sweltering summer months you can't appreciate what our frontier forefathers endured. (Keep in mind, under-arm deodorant had not yet been invited.)
I'm making do with an electric fan. But I still sweat like a pig on National Barbecue Day.
Every day I call Hank to ask how close he is to getting my new air conditioner installed. He says he's working as fast as he can, and tells me keep my pants on.
I can't. It's too hot for pants.