The Walrus Blog | July 2011
The only reason the sky didn’t fall yesterday is because this damn heat rose and held the sky up.
Obviously, this puts you in a bit of a pickle. You made all those grandiose predictions about how terrible the record-breaking temperature would be, but besides that moment when you got stuck with a “don’t walk” signal before crossing the street on the way from your air-conditioned car to your air-conditioned office, you barely broke a sweat all day. Embarrassing? Sure. Very much so.
Every time this kind of weather occurs, which it does often, inevitably, at least once a year, without incident, it feels like the first time for you. That’s because you’re an emotional person (some might say neurotic, alarmist, ridiculous), but no one should judge you for that. Don’t worry, plenty more predicted catastrophes have come and gone without incident — Carmageddon, Snowpocalypse, the “shoegaze” era in rock music. There are ways to make today’s walk of shame easier on yourself.
Yesterday, virtually every newspaper between the West Coast (where it’s still winter) and the Maritimes (where newsprint is restricted by law to use as fish wrap) printed a list of symptoms of heat exhaustion yesterday. Pick one up and adopt a symptom or two that will draw sympathy from your coworkers as soon as you breeze into the office. I suggest you give heat cramps a whirl. What are heat cramps, you ask? Exactly. No one even knows what they are, they can’t be seen, and combining them with guttural moans probably makes a lot of sense. (It’s called martyrdom; nobody said it’s easy.) Then, between moans, deliver a short speech to your coworkers in which you praise the strength and perseverance of Canadians through all forms of weather. It’s a casual Friday, so wear your “I Survived Ice Storm ’98″ t-shirt and hold your “Blackout… Crazy… (2003)” coffee mug, but don’t make eye contact with anyone from Vancouver — you likely don’t remember, but you said some pretty nasty things yesterday about that city and its “sixteen fucking degrees for fuck’s sake, how does that even happen?”
Take a page from the other times — “averted catastrophes,” as I like to call them — when chaos failed to materialize. Critics might say that Y2K was “the biggest hoax of the century” (oh yeah? Which one?), or that Carmageddon was “stupid,” or that Snowpocalypse “just melted away, actually, when you think about it.” But those disasters developing into non-events was thanks to preparations by people like you, people who are terrified by the prospect of slight disruptions to their lives, who have the foresight and fear of change that are necessary to ensure that the planet makes it through another day. Despite what everyone else is saying, I know your tin-foil suit (metaphorical and/or real) wasn’t just for show. Not only does tin foil reflect the sun, it also reflects your commitment to survival.
Behind all of these instances of averted catastrophe are people like you who acted as prophets. But did Harold Camping just whistle innocently and walk away when the world didn’t end on May 21st? Yes. Basically. So? What’s your point?
Whatever you do, don’t admit that yesterday was actually quite a nice day out, especially at sunset when there was that hazy redness to the sun. (Did you see that? Gosh, wasn’t it pretty?) Instead, focus on the future and what’s in store for this great city of ours. They’re predicting an abnormally cold winter this year, did you hear?