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Hotter Than a Pistol: Veterans, Sunscreen, and The Great Summer Sizzle of 2023

Dear Veterans and esteemed patrons of the summer sun,

I hope this message finds you sweating less than a Thanksgiving turkey in a preheated oven. Because folks, it's hot. And by hot, I don't mean the cute little 80-degrees-with-a-breeze kind of hot, but the scorching, the-sun-is-on-a-vendetta, wake-up-and-bake kind of hot.

The Great Summer Sizzle of 2023 it's been dubbed. The kind of heat sends the young and hardy scampering to the nearest beach while the rest of us wonder if we could cook eggs on our foreheads.

But you, our noble veterans, are surely cackling at such petty inconveniences. After all, you've seen worse. The desert sun was probably more blistering; the jungle humidity made it feel like a sweat lodge, without even considering the adrenaline from active duty. However, for the sake of argument and for those not blessed with the superhero stamina you possess, let's assume that this blistering heat is causing a wee bit of discomfort.

So, how to survive the summer sizzle without melting into a puddle? Here are some slightly warped yet well-meaning tips.

1. Tactical Hydration – This is the equivalent of a water gun fight but with hydration. Strategically position water bottles all around your premises. That way, no matter where you are, salvation is just an arm's reach away. This tactic is also helpful for scaring off those unsuspecting guests who might think you're preparing for the end of the world.

2. Operation Ice Box – Normally, we'd tell you to stay cool, but in this case, we suggest you turn yourself into a human popsicle. If you're not on first-name terms with your freezer, you should be. Heck, go ahead and set up a command post in there. Who needs a man cave when you can have a 'cool' cave?

3. Sunscreen Camouflage – Slather it on like you're preparing for jungle warfare. It may not conceal you, but you'll be protected from the sun's savage love taps. And who knows, the ensuing glossy sheen might blind your enemies.

4. Portable Shade – That old military poncho stuffed in the back of your closet? It's time for a comeback. Use it as a cape for that superhero vibe or hold it up as an impromptu shade. If anyone asks, tell them you're redefining fashion norms.

5. Inflate and Float – You know those inflatable kiddie pools you make fun of? Well, they're laughing now. Fill one up, jump in, and take a leaf from your grandchildren's book. Throw in a rubber ducky for the authentic feel. You might find that you've uncovered a previously untapped source of joy.

6. Beach Siege - Here’s where your experience comes into play, veterans. Plan your beach day like a tactical mission. Early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the choicest beach spot under the umbrella. Don't forget your camo beach towels and sunscreen. And, of course, defend your spot from any potential invaders (or seagulls) like the well-trained veterans you are.

7. Siesta Time – Just because you’re a hardened veteran doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the ancient and honorable tradition of the afternoon siesta. Some cultures even swear by it. So put those feet up, set the fan to hurricane mode, and nod off to a cooler world of dreams.

8. Guerrilla Gardening – Remember those strategic trenches? They’ve got a more peaceful application now. Plant some shady trees or build a gazebo in your yard. Not only will this provide you with a cool retreat, it will also confuse your nosy neighbors. “See, Martha, I told you he was up to something!”

9. Apocalyptic Apparel – You might not be trudging through the desert, but it wouldn’t hurt to dress like you are. Break out those desert boots, wide-brimmed hats, and loose, light-colored clothing. When questioned about your attire, say it’s post-apocalyptic chic.

10. Chuck Norris Style – If all else fails, channel your inner Chuck Norris. After all, the man is virtually indestructible, right? When life gives you lemons, or in this case, a summer hotter than a hot tamale, make lemonade. Share it with the neighbors because, as we know, kindness can cool even the most scorching of days.

In all seriousness, folks, stay safe. This summer is hotter than the dance floor at an Elvis concert, and we need you to keep hydrated, covered, and as cool as you naturally are. Remember, you've faced far greater challenges, so this summer heat is merely another opponent to tackle with your veteran tenacity. Just do it in style, with a pinch of humor and a gallon of ice-cold lemonade.

This Great Summer Sizzle of 2023 doesn’t stand a chance. Stay cool, veterans, and remember, laughter is the best sunblock. Here’s to you, your well-being, and your endless spirit of survival. Keep smiling, keep shining, and most importantly, keep that fridge stocked with popsicles. The sun has got nothing on you.

Image provided by John Heintzelman using software (2023).

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