A Hot Topic For Summer: A.C.

The National Weather Service is predicting a hotter than normal July for much of the East Coast as well as for most of the Southwest … which brings us to one of Contributor Ben Stein's favorite topics:

Let us now praise famous men:

In particular Willis Havilland Carrier, the main inventor of the greatest gift to mankind since The Constitution … namely, air conditioning.

Like most Americans of my generation in most parts of this nation, as a child I approached summer in my hometown, Silver Spring Maryland, with dread.

The heat and humidity were unbearable … sweaty, oppressive days … torture trying to sleep in painful heat, drenched in perspiration, sheets wet from fevered cruel heat.

Summer car travel was genuine agony.

The only places of refuge were a few stores and all movie theatres. I often wonder if movies seemed so much better in those days mostly because of the air conditioning in the theater.

Then, my parents bought me a little window Carrier air conditioner. Paradise! I worshiped that little machine.

Then in 1956, my Dad got the whole house air conditioned. The mood in the home was permanently better.

Now, of course, we take air conditioning for granted. Or, maybe not. I thank Willis Havilland Carrier every time I press the buttons, twirl the thermostat, breathe in cool, gorgeous air, take those negative ions into my blood stream, feel protected from the vicious heat of summer.

I know we all have to be careful about energy. But we all have to also not die from heat.

When I think what air conditioning does, what a miracle it is in terms of human well-being, what a change it has made in human happiness, I have to be humbled.

Take away my Cadillac if you must. Make me wear a sweater and a coat in the winter indoors. Make me do anything. But please, leave me with that gift from Mr. Carrier and all of his colleagues: blissful, blessed A.C. Long may it cool.