GateHouse — Cold is stupid. It is vicious and dry and holds grudges. It makes your eyes sting when you blink and city buses sploosh sopping-wet snow on you.
It is responsible for slush, which is frequently brown. It makes materials in your nose that are generally liquid-based freeze displeasingly, which is a feeling about which you never get less weirded out. It is also indicative of February, traffic problems and Green Bay Packers football.
And that is just basic, everyday cold, which is not the kind currently descended upon most of the United States that is not Texas, which I am not convinced is fully part of the United States anyway. This kind of cold is a pure, nearly beautiful kind of cold, a kind that we should probably create a Cabinet-level czar to whine about appropriately, the kind that makes your mother cry (or, in my case, curse dramatically in front of strangers), the kind that forces you, on a walk out to get the mail, to stop on your way back and construct a small fort where you can mentally prepare for the remainder of your journey. I am thinking of calling for a $700 bailout for the cocoa industry.
Of course, you don’t need some writer twerp to tell you this, because unless you are reading this column from someplace more amenable than your hometown, like Iraq, you are probably experiencing the eye-freezing cold that makes people bring electric blankets into their showers, and briefly repeal their faith in a benevolent and loving God.
Frankly, I am surprised that your fingers have functioned long enough to get you to open the pages to this far, or, for our online friends, that the Internet even works (the Tubes tend to freeze easy).
But this is just my little opinion. Many will argue that hot is stupid and humid is stupid, but as a wise friend once said, “You don’t have to shovel the hot.” He said that while we were sitting near a pool sipping beers in Florida, a situation that made us both feel very pleased with ourselves. Being in Florida, we spent the hours surrounding his revelatory declaration congratulating each other on not being anywhere near a town in which we would be required to shovel, on being able to watch slip-sliding pinheads on CNN trying to unearth Ford Tauruses from underneath enough snow to successfully bury the starting offensive line of the Miami Dolphins, and on having to rotate our chairs occasionally to get the glare out of our eyes. (This sort of behavior is hilarious up until we try to do the same thing in July, a time of year when bottle caps tend to burst spontaneously into flame.)
Anyway, as fun as that was, and it was totally fun, it is simply not possible right now to whip up self-aggrandizing weather-based comedy in Florida or anywhere these days, because the cold has TAKEN OVER EVERYTHING. I am spending the holidays in South Carolina, which is easily one of America’s best two Carolinas and an area generally known for a brutal, punishing humid-hot that makes one’s clothes grow damp and soggy like recently used beach towels within 12 seconds of going outside, and 30 seconds of thinking about going outside, which all sounds frankly pretty fantastic right about now.
But South Carolina is also cold this week. Sure, it’s the sort of cold that would make people from Chicago punch Carolina locals in the mouth for presuming to use the word “cold” to describe the not-cold that is called cold here. But it’s cold enough that the local newspaper, reacting to predictions of freezes at night, publishes front-page stories desperately urging citizens off the ledge of a full-on torch-carrying let’s-go-burn-Frankenstein’s-castle panic. “FIND YOUR DOGS AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE WEARING RIDICULOUS SWEATERS,” stories will declare. “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND PURE, BRING YOUR PLANTS INSIDE NOW NOW NOW,” the front page will plead in 900-point bold type, while throughout the county retirees swarm their lawns in the daylight hours hustling azalea plants into the house before night falls and the local electric plants stop functioning. (On Page 8: Editorials debating the pros and cons of a cocoa bailout.)