Lileks: The rites (and wrongs) of spring
- Article by: JAMES LILEKS
- Star Tribune
- March 29, 2014 - 4:02 PM
Even if the long-range weather forecasts call for “unseasonal snow and scattered weeping” we all know winter is over, because April is nigh. So it’s probably time to take down the Christmas lights.
I’m sorry, but columnists are supposed to take controversial positions. But there are other things you need to do to usher in spring:
• Getting an actual carwash instead of using the windshield-wiper fluid at the gas station, aka “redneck detailing.”
• Clean up the dog bombs, which should have degraded by now. Really, what am I feeding Rover, Portland cement?
• Call in a pothole on the Minneapolis 311 app, because you like to think alarm bells will go off, city employees will slide down poles, and they’ll burst out of the shed with a pot of hot asphalt on wheels, bells clanging.
• But most of all: clean up the extension cords in the yard.
There were lights on the bushes and the trees, which required long thick outdoor cords connected to a central multi-outlet pole, which was connected to a timer, which was connected to the outlet; when plugged in, half the dials at the Prairie Island nuclear plant went into the red. Festive! So is burning money while you whistle “Jingle Bells,” but you have to do your part for holiday cheer.
Then came the snow, the occasional thaw, and the hard long freeze: the cords entombed in solid ice. A few weeks ago I tried chipping them out, and was actually hammering an ice chipper over the cords when I realized I am striking an electrical cord with a hard metal object. This is how you create stories with the line, “well, right before my heart stopped I noticed my toenails had blown clear out of my boots,” and then you’re on YouTube, wondering who the devil was filming that?
So I stopped, and waited for a few days. The sun came out. The Earth warmed. By Friday I could pull all the cords. All but one: the plug was pinned to thick floes of ice. I jerked the cord. Nothing. I thought: it’s like winter itself was refusing to let go, refusing to admit defeat, refusing to give up its grip on our world — a dying act of spite. Hah! You’re done, winter. You lose. You always lose. I gave the cord a mighty tug.
The head snapped out of the ice, flew six feet, and hit me right between the eyes.
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