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Big Lizards & Baked Cookies in Cars

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In Arizona, where temperatures now routinely muscle their way to 120 degrees or more, folks can fry eggs on the sidewalk and bake cookies in cars giving new meaning to the term “outdoor kitchen.”

Where I live in Woodland Hills, California, in the San Fernando Valley – a neighborhood my disapproving realtor informed me was nicknamed “Woodland Hell” because of the heat – the mercury has only topped out at 110 this year; unlike in Arizona, where my house is you can only get your street-cooked eggs over-easy and the cookies, while warm, just aren’t as chewy.

While I don’t expect my global warming denying friends to agree with either me or the Boston Globe’s Bill McKibben (“The mercury doesn’t lie: We’ve hit a troubling climate change milestone,” March 5, 2016), I hope we can all acknowledge that whether it’s 110 or 120 degrees and the “dog days of summer” lie far, far ahead, it’s worrisome to think just how hot it’ll get, isn’t it?

Speaking of dogs, my wife and I have three and they’re hot. They’re so hot they’re not even being mischievous inside where — having heard how dangerous this apocalyptic heat can be for humans and animals alike — we brought them from their usual backyard terrain.

I’m thinking it may be a good time to eat a cool refreshing Klondike Bar. True, I enjoy ice cream when it’s not nearly this hot — like when the mercury is just a measly 100 degrees — but it’s even tastier knowing I can burn those wasted calories just by stepping outside into what you might call my “outdoor sauna.” There I can bask like one of the big lizards I’ve seen creeping around lately. Query: Has anyone noticed that this otherworldly heat is making the reptiles bigger and meaner lately? Is anyone looking into this phenomenon? Because I saw Jurassic Park, and while entertaining, it wouldn’t be if it were real.

Plus, although my dogs love me fine, I’m afraid I have to admit that if pressed between choosing to save me from a giant lizard attack and all the aromatic cookies and eggs simmering on the ground outside, truly, my goose is cooked.

Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California. His twitter is: @SteveCooperEsq

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Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California.

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