In addition to making us miserable, the recent stretch of scorching weather seems to have affected our brains. The record heat — in the high 90s — not only makes it feel like the stultifying days of last summer, it also made some of us display the kind of brain-dead behavior usually reserved for the doldrums of August.
How else can you explain these recent events:
In the torpor of a 93 degree day, a 25-year-old Baltimore woman decides this would be a good time to teach her 14-year-old niece how drive by letting the teen wheel a van around Lake Montebello. Never mind that it is against state law, or that cyclists and joggers could be nearby, or that teen might not be familiar with difference the brake and accelerator pedals. Sure enough the teen accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake and the van shot through a fence surrounding the lake and ended up in waist-high water. Not smart.
Crowds gather along Maryland highways to catch a glimpse of an airliner minus its wings being hauled on a flatbed truck. True. the plane was the one the Captain C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger landed in the Hudson River in January 2009, saving the passengers and crew. Perhaps the roadside legions felt they were witnessing history. But we think the most telling answer came from a fellow who told the Frederick News Post that he was perched on overpass of I-70 because he had nothing else to do.
During an unusually warm evening, Bryce Harper, a player for the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball team, knocked a home run, and as he rounded third and trotted for home, he blew a kiss to the opposing pitcher. This breach of baseball decorum and the video that showed it immediately became sizzlers in the sports talk universe. Even Hall of Fame Philadelphia third baseman Mike Schmidt deplored it. Various explanations of the player's bad behavior were offered, chief among them his youth — he is 18 — and his inexperience — this was his first year in the minors. We think it was heat.
Then there was Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner who sent lewd photos of himself in his underwear to women he met online then lying about it. The lying is unforgiveable. Sending lewd photos is not very bright. Was it the heat? More likely a seriously warped moral compass, but it does fit the pattern. Stripping down to your underwear is, after all, not an uncommon way to cope with blistering heat, though most people have the good sense and good taste to keep images of themselves in their skivvies far from public view.