Jon Dawson: Thermostat argument strengthens marriage

Jon Dawson: Thermostat argument strengthens marriage

Thermostat rules / Photo from Facebook

Whether we like it or not, summer is here.

There was a time when I looked forward to summer. School was out, the siren's song of the tobacco field gave off a whiff of money and trips to the beach were imminent. Nowadays, I look upon the summer as a Hollywood blockbuster movie that's advertised as a masterpiece but ends up being a colossal waste of time. 

Weather divides opinions — nearly as much as politics. Unfortunately, we can't vote on the weather. If we could, I'd lobby for year-round snow. When there's snow on the ground, there is no pollen, there are no bugs and there are no water moccasins hiding behind a bag of charcoal, scaring you to the point that you run through a closed door.

Then again, if the opposition were in charge, I'd have to endure humidity as thick as chicken pastry for the foreseeable future. 

You summer worshipers are an odd lot. I understand cold weather isn't for everyone, but just think of all the baggage that comes with summer. What other season forces people to endure snakes, humidity, disease-carrying mosquitoes, the incessant clickity-clack of flip-flops and hundreds of hours of research trying to determine if sunscreen should be sprayed on, rubbed on or smeared on a saltine.

An average Joe could have a nervous breakdown just walking to the mailbox in the middle of June.

We're lucky enough to live in a house with two porches — one screened in, one free range. A great pleasure of country living is being able to sit on the porch and enjoy a starry night with zero light pollution. Of course, this has to be done during the none-summer months.

George Hamilton and his tan attend a party in Los Angeles / Photo from YouTube

Last summer we attempted to sit on the porch, only to find out our wooden porch chairs had incinerated during the day. Where our chairs once sat laid a small pile of ash. We then tried the hammock route, but within a few hours of July heat, it too burst into flame.

From the ages of 5 through 21, I lived outside during the summer. There's no telling what sort of sun-caused surprise is lurking in my epidermis, as I was as tan as George Hamilton among the green, elephant-ear sized tobacco leaves.

The tobacco tar and dirt caked up on our arms provided more protection from the sun that I imagine anything made by Hawaiian Tropic. At the end of the day, we all looked like Martin Sheen at the end of Apocalypse Now, just as he's pulling away from the Kurtz compound.

Summer is, I believe, the tensest time of the year. Why? Thermostat-related arguments. 

Martin Sheen after a day of cropping tobacco in Eastern North Carolina / Image from the film ‘Apocalypse Now’

In a recent Gallup poll that doesn't actually exist, 78 percent of married couples reported they argue about the thermostat setting in the summer more than money, child rearing or Hellman's vs. Miracle Whip. 

"My husband isn't happy unless there's ice shooting out of the air vents," Elizabeth Fontaine of La Grange said. "One year he had it so cold in the house the goldfish had to wear sweaters."

Her husband, Jimmy, disagreed.

"If we were sitting on the sun she'd be wrapped up in a shawl," he said. "I keep telling her to eat a cheeseburger every once in a while, you know? Get a little insulation happenin' over there."

"When he's in charge of the thermostat our pipes freeze in July," Elizabeth said. "He's able to keep Klondike bars in his sock drawer."

No matter which side of the thermostat you prefer, you won't see me again until September.

I've been Outside Man for the past six months, reveling in a climate that didn't require wearing a space suit to endure. Those days are over, for now, so I'll be enjoying all that the great indoors has to offer. There are a couple of books I purchased last year that I haven't had time to read, so hopefully, by the time I'm done with them, this summer piffle will have passed. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a nap in the freezer.

Jon Dawon's humor columns are published weekly by Neuse News. Contact Jon at and

Print Friendly and PDF
APA students attend N.C. Supreme Court session

APA students attend N.C. Supreme Court session

Lenoir County restaurant inspections for March 18 through April 2

Lenoir County restaurant inspections for March 18 through April 2