If The Heat Doesn't Kill The Elderly, I WillCommentary • weather • Opinion • death • crime • senior citizens • ISSUE 34•02 • Aug 12, 1998 By Rudolph Milner Rudolph Milner It is now high summer, and the sun is broiling the American Southwest, sending temperatures soaring upwards of 110 degrees. The heat has struck hardest among the elderly, dozens of whom have died of heatstroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration. If you, like me, are a right-thinking person, your mind recoils in horror at this fact: The old and decrepit are dying by mere dozens? Fifty years ago, a heat wave of this magnitude and duration would have claimed the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of shriveled-up old codgers. The streets would have been littered with their withered carcasses. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. By providing today's elderly with unprecedented access to air conditioning and situating them in safe, supervised retirement communities, we have thrown Mother Nature's natural-selection process completely out of sync. And don't look for winter to solve the problem, either: Even more old people have heating than have air-conditioning, and more and more are getting it every day. Like you, I had high hopes for this summer. Like you, I am deeply disappointed in the low death toll among the elderly. But I'm not just going to throw up my hands and accept the fact that grandmas and grandpas aren't bursting like popcorn from coast to coast. Just because global warming has failed to keep pace with the increase in this country's septuagenarian and octogenarian population doesn't mean I have to accept this ever-worsening coot surplus. If the heat doesn't kill the elderly, I will. No society can survive for long unless patriots are willing to step forward and dedicate themselves to keeping its senior population in check. Unfortunately, like the milkman and the riverboat pilot, the profession of grayhead-knocker has fallen out of favor. But I am committed to reviving this once-noble calling. I will do whatever it takes to knock off the olds in the swiftest and most efficient manner possible, just like my father and my grandfather before him. For the cost of expenses plus a modest cost-of-living stipend, I will use the computer database of the AARP, certain advanced logistical procedures adopted from the rendering-plant industry, and modern American riding-mower technology–the very best in the world–to make quick work of our country's problematic gray ghetto. My preliminary computer-modeling simulations have shown that this will be cheaper than an orbital solar-intensification magnifying glass or increasing the thermonuclear output of the sun itself. Mother Nature has done what she can to curb the elderly population. It is now up to us to pick up the slack. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. My grandmother taught me that, God rest her soul.