Two hundred and thirty-two years ago this week, our Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia.* Debating in frock coats in the midst of a heat wave, they ratified the blueprint for this glorious nation of ours.
The lesson? Decisive government requires an absence of air conditioning and the motivating musk of Ben Franklin’s B.O.
Men can accomplish marvelous things, even in our crippling summer heat. One just has to know how to motivate them. For guys, hot weather accomplishment is a synergy of timing, stamina and motivational food. Or, as Patrick Henry observed: “Can we vote this in, already? So I can get a cheesesteak?” **
Ladies, a few suggestions to trim the To-Do List when the mercury rises:
Up and down. Wait until he is up before dispersing hot weather chores. A man can’t do more than one chore at a time. And Chore No. 1 is always “Get up.” Drop a job list on a sitting man, and he’ll stay down longer than Apollo Creed in “Rocky II.” Once he is standing, you can then ...
Pile on, gently. Sort jobs out by exertion level, start with the most strenuous and allow him to “work downhill.” This accomplishes two things: 1) Your man will gain confidence as tasks get progressively easier, and 2) If he croaks in the yard midlist, you’ll have the most expensive stuff done.
Bring him water. It tells him, “I’m with you — but in a spiritual sense, because you’re sweaty and covered with clippings right now.” Only water, though: Iced tea will bring him in to urinate. Beer will have him asking for chicken wings and a television.
Ask him what he wants for lunch. While he is working. This takes his mind off his rigors and puts it in a pleasant realm of sandwich meat and cold beer. What, you’ve already fed him? Then go to the mirror, and gaze upon a woman with no leverage at all.
No late add-ons! Nothing will break a man’s spirit faster than nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and having you add more tunnel. This is why, in the heat of the afternoon, you’ll sometimes see men stowing away on the running boards of ice cream trucks.
He is brilliant! And you are grateful, and you should say so at some point. Guys appreciate a kind word — not as much as a Budweiser or a hoagie, but we’ll take anything as the day wears on.
Don’t nitpick. “Close enough” is the watchword, especially on outdoor summer tasks. Do you really want to harp on the finer points of topiary to an exhausted man, swinging blindly at things with yard tools? Remember: If the HOA can’t see it, it does not exist!
Tonight’s grill? His call! Because it’s food, and because he gets to call it, he probably won’t notice that you’ve snuck in another chore.
* I wasn’t there, personally. But I saw the musical. Grueling.
** Even under the tyrannical heel of King George III, the cheesesteaks were delicious.