If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, August 17, 2018, 10:54 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

This morning I learned about the wet-bulb thermometer. So enriched was I that I moved on to wet-bulb temperature.

Am I a man of boundless curiosity? I’d like to think so, but the short-term answer was that I was trying to figure out why Clinton High School’s first football game is going to start at 8 p.m. instead of 7:30.

A wet-bulb thermometer is one in which a wet rag, draped over a thermometer and engulfed in air, enables the apparatus to measure the air temperature, based on wind, humidity and solar radiation.

Presumably, it is more accurate than a regular thermometer. Surely, it is more complicated than wrapping a wet wash cloth around a standard thermometer. In fact, it costs from $100 to $500, and every member of the South Carolina High School League is required to have one, so that athletes are not allowed to practice when it is too hot.

Pixabay photos

When Laurens visits Clinton on Aug. 24, it is likely that the wet-bulb temperature will be greater than 82 degrees at 7:30, and thus did the school’s officials conclude it would be prudent to shoot for 8. The school’s state championship relay team will receive rings at 7:30 because receiving rings do not qualify as “regular activities” in an athletics sense.

This is fine. I’ve no interest in writing about heat prostration. I worried I was experiencing it while taking pictures of seven-on-seven games of throw-and-catch earlier this summer. I can’t afford a wet-bulb thermometer of my very own.

Knowledge is good. The way it is processed is sometimes bad, but in the medical community, the people who process it are still the ones who are trained to do so.

For now.

Even I am torn.

One side makes the inevitable lament of the aging. Back in my day, when men were men and brains were damaged …

The other side, though, is the sigh of relief. How in the world did any of us survive?


The Barrie Jarman Adventures (Gabe Whisnant photo)

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)


The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.


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