SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
Throughout history, mankind has shown itself to be adaptable to all sorts of environments. They can survive in cold, heat, wet, dry, in space, under water, and under the constant hot, fetid winds of Washington, D.C.
Yes, we can survive just about anywhere. But that doesn’t mean we like it.
I was reminded of that when I saw a recent Weather Channel program about International Falls, Minnesota, which prides itself as being the coldest place in the contiguous United States.
Which just goes to show, people are willing to brag about anything. For instance, I live in the smallest township in the US, but so what? Does that mean someone will someday do what astronomers did with Pluto, and demote us to a dwarf township?
People try to outdo each other on the strangest things:
“I live in the coldest place in the lower 48.”
“Oh yeah? Well, we’ve got the most indicted governor in all 50 states!”
“Is that right? Well, my doctor says I’m one martini away from having the biggest liver in medical history.”
“I’ve got one better than that: Our governor has the coldest liver ever measured in the federal prison system!”
Way to go, guys, I’m impressed.
Speaking of impressed, I had to hand it to the International Falls residents on that Weather Channel program. They were sitting outside, being interviewed in lawn chairs that had to be painted florescent orange to be found in the snow; working outside in temperatures so low polar bears were hitchhiking south; and my favorite, diving into a hole chopped into the ice to take a nice, early February swim in bikinis, and skin so white I thought I was looking at the Siberian branch of the Klu Klux Klan.
I was impressed that they were willing to so openly and proudly display the already obvious fact that they were crazy.
But they were acclimated, you see. The average temperature in International Falls is 37 Fahrenheit, making them officially the coldest place in the 48. Another Minnesota town, Embarrass, claims to be even colder, which brings me right back to that “brag about anything” comment, but they don’t have official National Weather Service measuring equipment.
As you read this I’ll likely be in southeastern Missouri, near where they recently tied a high temperature record: 97.
Now, everybody knows I hate the cold, and given a choice I’d rather have heat. But there’s heat, and then there’s “I don’t have a mustache anymore because it melted off”. That’s just hot.
Yet when I was down there in May people were walking about in the high 80’s with parkas and snow boots, speculating on an oncoming ice age. These are people who live a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River, and shouting distance from the New Madrid fault line: They know extremes, and heat isn’t an extreme – it’s a commonality. You want to see a Missourian suffer? Let the temperature hover near freezing in winter, the same weather that has Hoosiers digging out their short sleeve shirts.
It’s all about acclamation.
Which brings me to my point. People, stop abusing your @&%@*$! air conditioners.
I’m so sick and tired of going into some place – generally any place where those controlling the temperature settings aren’t the same ones who pay the electric bill – and freezing my tuckus off in the middle of friggin’ summer. I expect to freeze in winter, I can deal with that whether I want to or not. But just as you nutcase winter lovers are comfortable during cold weather, I deserve to be comfortable during warm weather.
Here’s what happens: You go into an air conditioned place, where someone’s set the reading to “North Pole”. You spent an hour or two there or, worse case scenario, work there all day. Then you go out and hurry to the next air conditioned place, because the heat outside hits you like a furnace.
Well, of course it does, moron. You’re not allowing your body to acclimate. I’m not saying you should turn off the air conditioning completely, but when you see your breath and have to break ice off the surface of your coffee, don’t you think you’re overdoing it? And is it really fair that I have to suffer with you?
I hardly ever use my air conditioner, and guess what? The heat doesn’t bother me as much as most people. Coincidence? Does a polar bear shiver in the woods?
I’m tired of having to haul an overcoat into the movie theater. I’m sick of wading through an icy fog at the entrance to every grocery store. You green people, how much energy do we use making it so cold that we never get used to summer weather? Or even spring weather? If Mexico ever decided to invade us, all they’d have to do is come over in July, when none of us is capable of fighting outside.
Look, I keep my house uncomfortably cool during winter. Okay, granted, if I was rich I’d crank it up so much that the candles would melt off the walls, but still. (Would I have candles? Why not – I’d be rich.) Actually, if I was rich I’d send these columns in from Hawaii, where you have to get to 30,000 feet to see the S word, but that’s beside the point.
My point is, I’m not rich, and I suffer all winter, so don’t make me suffer all summer, ‘kay? Because you do not want to see me stalking around in August with an extension cord and an electric space heater.