Once upon a time there was a man. He wasn't a particularly bad man, or a particularly good man. He worked as a security guard at a large, important building. All day long, people came to his window and gave him packages, or took them away. It was also his job to keep away people who were intent on doing harm, but they only came along very rarely. He didn't have much to do all day, so he listened to the radio and chatted with the people that came along. He was the sort of man who talked a lot. He would tell people all about his recent marriage, his back problems, things he had heard about on the radio station and various other things. Many people liked this, because it meant they didn't have to make up tedious conversation themselves, and then they could go on their way feeling refreshed. Others didn't like this so much - they felt obliged to chat back, and found it a strain after a while trying to fit their words in amongst his. Or perhaps they were just busy and wanted to get on with the rest of their day.
One day it was very hot. The radio station that the man liked to listen to announced the temperature at regular intervals, as it rose and rose. Before long, the temperature was so hot that it was remarkable. And remark on it, the man did. Every time someone came in from the hot day and stood in the hot, hot foyer in front of the window, the man would say, "gosh, it's 38 degrees out there!" or "crikey, it's 40 degrees now!" Of course, the man himself was little affected by this, as his station was actually located in the basement, which was nice and cool. It was the number he was increasingly in awe of. He just couldn't stop talking about it. Those around him couldn't forget about it. The nice, cool basement was just that little bit less nice and cool, because that number was constantly in the back of everyone's minds. By the time number on the clock said it was time to go home, everyone was so worked up about the heat that they were afraid to go outside. But they had to go home at some point. So out of the basement they tentatively stepped. Instead of a crushing, torturous number, all that was outside was a hot day. Perhaps the man's regular score-keeping had been a blessing in disguise.