Armadillo Day

To state the obvious: It’s HOT here. We just passed our 50th day of temperatures in triple digits. We’re just not used to counting that high for that long.

I think we should start a new tradition, to predict how long our heat wave will last. So on August 1st, we’ll celebrate Armadillo Day.

We’ll have a contest to name the armadillo, but for right now we’ll call him Al. Al will be handled with tender, loving care by the members of the Armadillos Against Leprosy League (AALL). Armadillos, like humans, can get leprosy.

Over time the event will grow to include a 5K run, a bike ride (maybe Lance will show up), a concert (maybe Willie will show up), and a golf tournament (maybe Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw will show up and hit the links with Lance and Willie), with all proceeds going to research sponsored by AALL. Hat vendors at the event will do quite well. Hats with armadillo ears sticking up and a tail hanging down the back will be particularly popular. Bumper stickers will be another popular item: “Have you hugged your armadillo today?” and “We brake for Al the Armadillo.”

The AALL will have a permit to close off the intersection of Congress and 11th Street, at the south end of the Capitol. Meteorologists from all over the state will show up to report on Al’s every footstep.

Will we have six more weeks of brutal heat that will make us dry up like jerky, or will there be a break in the temperature before mid-September, cooling us down to the mid 90s? How will we know what the weather will be in the coming weeks?

The secret is in what Al chooses.

If he chooses to cross the road, making it to the other side safely under the protection of the police department, we can look forward to a cool front sometime in the very near future. A sigh of relief will float up from the gallery. Thunderous applause will fill the air. Everyone will eat ice cream.

If, however, once Al is set down on the sidewalk, he jumps up in the air about two feet – as armadillos are wont to do when startled – and then sprints up the Capitol walkway, diving into one of the fountains, our worst fears will be confirmed: we’ll have six more weeks of relentless heat, with nary a cloud to protect us. Some people will swoon, just a bit, at the thought of all the burnt skin they have to endure when getting into their vehicles, and, even worse, their skyrocketing electric bills.

After the original Al passes away, we’ll erect a statue in his honor on the south lawn of the Capitol. Children will hang flowers from his ears and tail, put rings on his claws and sunscreen on his snout (and their own noses) and get their pictures taken with him. A new Al will take his place and continue the tradition, but the original Al will have a special place in everyone’s heart.

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