January 12, 2004

Cold weather Survival Tips

It's come to my attention that, because it's January, some readers of this column may be enduring a phenomenon known as cold weather. Now, although cold weather can be a life-threatening occurrence, with a little useful knowledge, anyone can survive a cold snap.

As luck would have it, I possess such useful knowledge, and I'm willing to pass it on to you, free of charge, because that's the wonderful kind of guy I am.

First off, you should determine whether you live in, or are visiting, a cold climate. To find this out, locate a map and point to the city you happen to be in right now. If your finger lands within the border of a state called Minnesota, chances are good you're in a cold climate. If so, you should follow these simple tips.

You should always ascertain just how cold a given day is in order to prepare accordingly. If you're a snooty rich person, you can just look outside at your fancy schmancy thermometer. Lacking a thermometer, you can just quickly step outside and make the following observations:

-If your teeth hurt immediately upon stepping outside, the temperature is probably somewhere below zero, usually -15 degrees Fahrenheit or so without wind chill.

-If your teeth don't hurt, but you find it hard to blink, we're talking 3 below to 10 above zero.

-If blinking is normal, but you take a deep breath through the nose and feel your boogers freeze, the temperature is between 10 and 32 degrees.

-If it feels kind of chilly, but none of the aforementioned symptoms occur, you should thank your lucky stars for a Minnesota heat wave in January.

After discovering just how cold it is outside, you should next decide what type of clothing to wear to best deal with the chilly temperatures.

If, for example, the temperature is of the teeth hurting persuasion, you'll probably be best served by wearing long underwear with sweatpants and jeans, two thick sweaters, a jacket thick enough to deflect bullets and some sort of furry hat that fools people into thinking you have large rodent sleeping on your head.

Any temperature above the teeth hurting mark can usually be warded off by long underwear and pants, a single sweater, and a jacket thick enough to deflect bullets. The rodent hat is optional, but well in line with Minnesota winter fashion for the last 30 years.

Be sure to start your car and let it run an appropriate length of time before journeying forth in cold weather. An "appropriate length of time" varies according to how warm you like your automobile to be, but most estimates range from 20 minutes to simply letting the car run 24/7 throughout the winter season. Sure, it costs a fortune in gas but, ultimately, it may actually be worth it.

It's widely believed that, to conserve energy, it's best to keep the home thermostat kept just below 70 degrees. This, I believe, is insane. After all, it's called "indoor heat," not "indoor kinda warm." Therefore, crank the heat up to 85 and dance around in your underwear while sipping a tropical drink with an umbrella in it.

Oven heat is a good complement to your home heating system. As such, you should keep a hefty supply of frozen pizzas on hand to cook at a moment's notice, whenever you feel as though a little extra heat is required. If, as a result of this measure, you find yourself with a lot of uneaten pizza, you should throw a large party immediately, remembering, of course, to invite me.

Swearing and expletives go hand in hand with cold weather. If, upon exiting your home, you discover that your boogers have frozen, feel free to make such comments as "man, it's really #%^$&*@ cold out!" and "@#$%&#, it's cold. I can't believe how @#$&%# cold out it is." Letting loose with expletives such as these encourage muscle movement in the face and, let's just admit it, it feels good to swear once in awhile.

I would type up some more rules here, but my fingers are getting cold.

Posted by Ryan at January 12, 2004 10:05 AM
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