A Toast to Carrier, the Patron Saint of Air Conditioning


It’s hard to believe that a century has passed since Willis Carrier bestowed upon civilization its greatest man-made gift. Looking back on the 20th Century, it’s not hard to discern its most important contribution to mankind.

Okay, I’ll grant that maybe penicillin is up there.  And maybe…okay, okay. Let’s just stipulate all the medical advances. And definitely yoga pants.

So, what’s left?

Before you all answer at once, (which would be odd, as this isn’t a traditional conversation) remember that the telephone, radio, motorcar, movie camera, record player, fax machine, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, and even television (well, technically) all have their roots planted firmly in the 19th Century and therefore don’t count. Nice try, though.

If you care about my opinion on the matter and, since you’re reading the fourth paragraph I’m guessing you do, (unless you’re just bored, which is still cool; as either way you’ve already increased my page views) it is without question air conditioning.

Yes, I’d give up DVD’s, stuffed crust pizza, the treadmill-and even the microchips that allow me to write these very words before I’d ever part with my AC.

I was born and bred in New England. So I’m sure there are people reading this in Georgia, Texas or Louisiana laughing heartily at my inability to abide our semi-annual fluctuating inferno by comparison to Southerners’ ability to handle the relentless, even sweltering-er version, of theirs.

Fair enough. In fact, I’ll even showcase our famed Northern Hospitality by not mentioning it’s their ridiculous choice to live there.

Ironically Mr. Carrier, the man who made possible such a large exodus to our South, invented modern air conditioning in Buffalo, New York. In fact his company remained a mainstay in nearby Syracuse for decades. These, of course, are two cities where spring and autumn are myths, summer is encompassed between July 16th through July 20th, and in which winter resides the rest of the year.

The reality is that nothing can truly be enjoyed when you’re surrounded by oppressive heat. I’d rather be comfortable and bored than lose a quart of water weight sitting on the couch watching a ballgame in 50-inch high definition. Besides, there’s always a book to read. (Though I guess it does depend on the game.)

So the next time someone comes up for Canonization or Beautification, (As I’m about 25% Catholic and 75% Agnostic, I can never quite remember which one applies. As a writer though, I did know to capitalize them) I’d like to nominate Willis Haviland Carrier. At the very least he was truly, literally, one cool dude.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

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‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

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Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.



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