Only four American holidays are still celebrated on their proper calendar days: Halloween, Christmas, New Years' and Independence Day. Of all the secular holidays, the Fourth of July is the only one whose celebration date resists change - it doesn't move to a Monday just for convenience like some other wimpy holidays. But, doesn't two days off in a row really mess up your week? (Try to put out a weekly magazine in three days and find out.)
As The NEWS begins to arrive at your door this week, I know that many of you are working today, Monday, July 3. I hope that all of you have some time off as our country celebrates its 230th birthday on Tuesday. But, the simple fact is that very few of you will hunker down to read this mag cover-to-cover on either today or tomorrow. For many, it is just too darned hot out there to take a break.
For those of you who are on call on the Fourth, a doff of my red-white-and-blue hat to you. (I really did buy a rather large, grandly-colored Independence Day hat, and my family will be totally aghast as I watch the Olmsted Falls, Ohio, parade in my regalia.) The nation's birthday is of course great cause for celebration, though I suppose we may sometimes take for granted all the freedoms that we celebrate on this auspicious occasion.
The Fourth not only marks our country's beginning, but has also come to be equated with certain benchmarks. For example, "knee-high by the Fourth of July" is often heard as farmers discuss their expectations for a field of corn. Knee-high or taller means it is going to be a good crop that year.
Decades ago, "Hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July" might be heard on the front porch swing of a home in Mississippi as the old folks fanned themselves. (Now they've got air conditioning.) It's a comparison as to how hot a summer day can really get. Today it could be a reference to a "hottie," though I don't advise using that as an opening line with a customer. â€˜Wow, sure is a hottie today,' might get you into trouble.
The HVAC industry is not without its connections to Independence Day. Many contractors contend that if summer business hasn't started booming by the Fourth of July, then it's not going to happen. The story goes that the year will begin to fizzle as customers may try to wait out another season with an old, crippled a/c unit. However, if it is hot outside on this most patriotic of American holidays, it's usually cause for unbridled enthusiasm among contractors, distributors, and manufacturers. Break out the fireworks!
However, as much as everyone knows that making one's contracting business less weather dependent can be accomplished by promoting and selling service agreements, IAQ solutions, and other accessory items, weather still seems to rear its ugly head upon occasion. As the second week of July rolls around each year, it seems as though some equipment manufacturers must be carrying a copy of the Farmer's Almanac in their hip pocket as they stroll through their factories, checking inventory positions.
It usually goes something like this: If July gets off to a scorching hot start there will be enough equipment to make it through the summer - mid-September. However, if on July 10 the boxes are slowly crawling out the back doors of the factories and there are stacks to the ceilings, you can almost bet that you won't be able to find any of them on Aug. 10.
A NEW HOLIDAYHere's a suggestion for a special holiday for the HVAC industry. Let's call it Groundhog Day for HVAC. If the warehouse manager steps outside and sees his shadow on July 10, you only get four more weeks of inventory availability. Of course, we hope he sees the sun.
However, this could be another scheduling problem because it would always have to be celebrated on July 10, and then there would have to be another parade, ... and Paris Hilton could be the Grand Marshall sitting in the back of a pickup truck with an a/c unit saying something like, "Oh, that's hot," - which might be a good omen for the summer.
Mike Murphy, Editor-In-Chief, 248-244-6446, 248-244-2905 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: 07/03/2006