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It's Freezing Over,
Is It Hell?
by Mad Dog

 

The Earth is divided into lines called longitude and latitude. One set is the vertical stripes, which make the Earth look slimmer, while the other is horizontal, which make the Earth look heavier.

    It’s snowing like crazy here, and just the fact that I’m looking out the window and seeing it instead of watching it on the Weather Channel makes me realize crazy is the imperative word. "Here" is upper Michigan. If you hold your left hand up, palm out, and look at the back of your hand, I’m right about at the tip of your ring finger. If there’s one thing you learn when you cross the border into Michigan it’s that the state looks like the back of your hand and holding it up and pointing is the only way anyone knows how to answer the question "Where do you live?" This is very different from New York City, where they also show you the back of their hand when you ask that question, the difference being here they don’t slap your face with it.

     It snows a lot at the tip of your ring finger. It snows more above that but I’m not sure that’s really Michigan even though they swear it is. If I can’t see it when I hold up my hand then as far as I’m concerned it’s not a part of this state. That’s Canada they’re referring to. Or the Arctic. Maybe the edge of the Earth where you run the risk of falling off and drowning in an endless sea of back bacon drippings. Stop me if I’m being redundant.

     I’m a little surprised about this weather since I’m not that far from the 45th Parallel, which I passed on the way up here. The 45th Parallel is the halfway point between the North Pole and the equator. The Earth, as you might remember from that experiment in subliminal learning you conducted during science class by sleeping in the hopes that your subconscious would overhear the lecture and some of it would stick, is divided into lines called longitude and latitude.



People put up with frigid temperatures, blazing heat and humidity, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and no coffee shop within walking distance. Why would anyone voluntarily put themself through that?
     One set is the vertical stripes, which make the Earth look slimmer, while the other is horizontal, which make the Earth look heavier, which was especially bad during the Ice Age when it retained all that water. I can never remember which is longitude and which is latitude because no elementary school teacher ever taught me a cute rhyme to help me out like they did with "Thirty days has September, April, June, and some month ending in ‘ember’..." I need mnemonic devices like that. If it wasn’t for the fact that Mad Dog spelled backwards is God Dam I’d never remember my name.

     You’d think the point midway between the equator and the North Pole would be somewhat temperate. Lincoln City, Oregon is also on the 45th Parallel and it doesn’t have snow from August through July like they do here. This time of year it snows pretty much every day. Or so it seems. One night last week—luckily before I got here—they had fourteen inches of snow. A few nights ago—also luckily before I got here—the wind chill was –19F (which for you metric fans is 2 litres below zero Celsius). Yet the people stay. Freezing. Plowing. Shoveling. It’s incredible.

    I often wonder why people live where they do. They put up with frigid temperatures, blazing heat and humidity, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and no coffee shop within walking distance. Why would you voluntarily put yourself through that? Some people do it because of their job. Others because of family. I think most people do it because they like to complain.



I can sit here and watch the snow pile up and hear that the temperatures will drop lower than George W. Bush’s I.Q. and not be too concerned. After all, in a week or two I’ll be somewhere else.
     As humans, and I’m not necessarily including myself in this category, we don’t like being too happy. We think we don’t deserve it. We think life should be harder. We’re afraid we’re going to get a surprise bill at the end of the month for going over our happiness limit and that will mean scrimping and saving and not being able to afford that new dress or bottle of wine without a screw top, which is just as well since having them would only make us happier and then we’d be even more over our limit, meaning the bill would be even higher and when would it ever end?

     You have choices, use them. If it’s cold all the time and you don’t like it, move to Nevada. If you love it, quit lying and move to Nevada anyway. There’s plenty of room since no one lives there. You can drive along Highway 50, which they call the Loneliest Road in America, and realize that nothing’s been that appropriately nicknamed since Jesse "The Mind" Ventura. Okay, bad example. Nevada is nothing but open land. Warm land. Land with no snow. If you live in Nevada and it’s too hot and dry for you just hold your hand up, palm out, and I’ll show you a great place for you to move to, though it might be one finger over from your ring finger.

     It’s easy for me to talk about this since I don’t live anywhere. Or more appropriately I live everywhere. I’m a postmodern Nomad. That’s why I can sit here and watch the snow pile up and hear that the temperatures will drop lower than George W. Bush’s I.Q. and not be too concerned. After all, in a week or two I’ll be somewhere else and with luck (and good planning) it will be warmer. But when I’m gone they’ll still be bundling up, plowing the roads daily, shoveling walks, and talking about how it was so cold last night their tongue froze to their toothbrush. Better them than me.

2000 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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