Phoenix’s hottest day seared into memory, even from afar

Jun 26, 2020, 3:00 PM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Editor’s note: This column first ran in 2018 and was updated and reposted June 26, 2020, the 30th anniversary of the hottest day in Phoenix history.

June 26, 1990, was a day in Phoenix that will live in infamy — because it felt like living in an inferno. 

That day, exactly 30 years ago, was the hottest day ever recorded in Phoenix — with an official temperature at Sky Harbor Airport of 122 degrees. 

Are we celebrating? If we are, I don’t know if we’re celebrating the anniversary or celebrating that it will more than 10 degrees cooler than that today. 

I experienced some FOMO on 6-26-90. 

I missed out, because I moved away from Phoenix about three or four months earlier. I had to go sow some wild oats and a budding broadcasting career led to what I call my “lap of the country.” 

Even though my goal when I left was always to come back to the state I grew up in, seeing from afar how ungodly hot it was back in Phoenix — that goal was called into question. 

Nah! I kid because I love. 

And I do love Arizona. I think I proved that because at the time of my return to the A-Z, I was enjoying Southern California weather. (OK, getting fired from the L.A. morning show I was doing may have played a small part in my decision.)

Despite scalding car seats, a myriad of melted belongings and the missing flesh from the bottom of my feet (because I think I can take out the trash without my flip-flops on), I hope that Arizona will always be home. 

I love that we are not an homogeneous people with homogeneous thought. Nor is this a state with homogeneous terrain — far from it. I love that the spirit of the West is still alive here and, to be honest, I don’t think I could go more than a couple of days without Mexican food. 

So I stay despite the heat. 

But in order to make Arizona a more perfect state, I have a couple of ideas. 

I think we need to infringe ever so slightly on the First Amendment rights of some of our citizens and pass a law that forbids one from complaining about the heat more than five times per day. 

Then we need to pass another law that carries an even heavier penalty for those who say ridiculous things like “I love the heat!”

Honestly, rather than harming those people, that second law would protect people. People I otherwise want to swiftly kick right in their rear ends. 

Jim Sharpe

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Phoenix’s hottest day seared into memory, even from afar