You hate this weather? Go ahead! Just quit your whining

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 16, 2009 - 6:42 AM

Hey, Canada: Can you close the door? All your air is coming down here. Wouldn't want you to run out. We get the point. You're cold. You like to share. But we've had enough.

Oh, one could say, "What we're going through is the worst, and it'll only get better," but that's what they said in a Civil War field clinic after they'd taken off the second leg.

It will get better, of course. The ghastly stone-cold block of January will give way to useless February, which feels like an infomercial for a month Not Sold in Stores; then it's the raw harsh expanse of March, the cruel inconsistency of April, and then it warms up around May 29.

After that? June comes in prancing like a pony, followed by July Fourth, after which we think about getting in a trip to the lake before fall starts.

See? Walk in the park. On slick ice. Unless this is one of those legendary years where the ice-out day on the lakes coincides with a notice from the school about bus assignments, in which case our kids will have memories of Awesome Record Cold they can use to bore their own kids. Whatever happens, we will not complain.

No sir. It is unbecoming to complain; we're supposed to take this as the price for living in God's country. And you don't hear Him complaining.

We're allowed to admit to a few inconveniences. It's hard to drive when your eyeballs freeze solid, and you can't blink because your eyelids would get stuck like a tongue on a flagpole.

If you're lucky, your car's heater can be set on "Blast From the Gaping Maw of Hell" and it thaws your orbs by the time you hit the highway. But I pass people whose teeth are chattering like wind-up gag dentures, and it's obvious their heaters are incapable of emitting anything warmer than penguin flatulence.

These people need an advocacy group. These people need a spokesperson. Someone who will stand up and say what millions of us believe: THIS IS RIDICULOUS. I'M TIRED OF PRETENDING IT MAKES US BETTER PEOPLE.

Because it doesn't. It just means we know how to layer. This is a useful skill, but it's morally neutral; no one admired Mother Teresa because she laid in a stock of Thinsulate.

Look, even dogs know this is ridiculous. My dog goes outside, puts his nose in the snow -- if smell rules your world, that must be like white noise -- then limps up to the house holding his leg up, whining. If you cross-bred dogs with Olympic gymnasts, they'd hold two legs up. What am I supposed to say? -- Put that paw down! Daddy didn't raise no sissy dogs!

You'll always hear hardy boasts from the folks who don't mind 18 below, no sir, but you never hear them wish it would be colder. The Hardy Souls who say that they never miss a run, no matter what the temp, don't set out in the morning thinking "Man, it would be so much better if the air seared my lungs like a hit of freon."

Even the hardiest have limits, so let's not compare ourselves to them. Compare yourself to everyone else who endures, mutters oaths and yearns for the furnace door of summer to open wide once more.

Until then? You can say it's brisk. It's bracing. Oh yah, it's nippy. Oh gosh, it's just bitter. You can wear the obligatory Grimly Amused Stoic Expression and let a note of pride creep into your voice when you talk about the difference between minus 11 and the torrid, Cancun-like promise of zero tomorrow.

But for all those who truly, deeply, despise the skull-cracking temps of a Minnesota winter: You're not alone. There's nothing wrong with you.

Just keep it to yourself, because no one likes a whiner.

Me? I love this weather. I wrote this on your behalf.

Loser.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll swab myself with rubbing alcohol and strip to shorts and walk the dog around the lake. Because I am just that good of a person. Thank you, Canada! Can I have some more?

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 More daily at www.startribune.com/buzz.

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