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It’s hot, it’s humid, and I’m here 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Boy is it hot! Blame it on whatever — the sun, global warming, a surplus of cosmic combustion — but blame won’t cool the air. No sir!

Hell should be so hot! The inferno would be a breeze compared to this Roman heat. “Hotter than hell” is no longer a hyperbole here. It’s a bona fide fact. Meanwhile, it’s not just hot. It’s humid. I’m talking about a sticky, clammy, mucky dankness that leaves you dripping with sweat even if you’re in the shade.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if for any reason I’m going to hell after I die, I’ll be down there grading essays. Just the idea of grading student essays freezes the blood solid in my veins. It’s the devil’s pitchfork scrambling my guts. But here’s the thing, Shaw = hell’s heat would be a holiday after this summer. Sure, I know suffering on Earth is supposed to be a cupcake compared to suffering in Satan’s hell, and that earthly suffering ends with death while in hell it lasts forever. Some even claim hell is worse than any nightmare you could imagine.

Bring on hell’s heat, I say. I’ll lick it like a Popsicle.

In any case, I don’t believe in the biblical hell. As far as I’m concerned hell is a state of mind. It’s a way of looking at things, an attitude, I think, and it exists on Earth. Meanwhile, one man’s heaven is another man’s hell. For example, I don’t love heat, but some people do. They even pay annual dues to sit in a sauna and sweat. Also, there are people who live in the desert and like it. And then there are those who spend their vacations on a beach, roasting in the sun. I am none of those people. Their heaven is my hell, and I am living it now, right in Rome, because it’s hot, it’s humid, and I’m here.

Well, if hell is a way of looking at things, as I said I think it is, then I should be able to conquer this heat by seeing the bright side. For one thing, I’m alive, right? For another, I have an interesting job and a comfortable apartment. Francesca loves me. I love her. Jimi is curled against my leg, purring, and she’s a cute cat. I’ve just opened another bottle, Nero d’Avola from Sicily, and it’s a very good wine. Clearly, I have many things to be thankful for. So what if it’s hotter than hell. So what if my shirt sticks to me like a layer of skin. So what if breathing this unbearable humidity is insufferable. There are six more bottles of wine on the rack in the kitchen.

Anyway, Shaw, hell should be so hot, and if it is, well, the essays will suck, but the heat won’t be so bad.

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