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The Cold

something strangely chilling about this year’s winter

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by Mike Paulus illustrated by Beth Czech

Well, it’s official – by my own calculations, this is the coldest Wisconsin winter in the history of all humanity. It’s a fact you don’t need to look up. Even the hardy, outdoorsy people in my life have been complaining about this year’s coldness. In the face of butt-numbingly frigid weather, these resilient individuals are the people I usually look to for inspiration. They keep me going. They make me ashamed to complain. But this winter, they have failed me.

And so I grumble.

For instance, my normally awesome hair has been totally frizzy and unresponsive to my standard styling regime. Why? The cold. And that’s just the tip of the ill-affected ice berg.

The paint in my house hit its shelf life this winter. Whatever paint the previous owners used on my home’s window sills and door jams – all of it – is flecking and peeling and chipping and driving me freakin’ nuts. Why is this happening? It must be the cold. It has SHOCKED the paint into a horrible, brittle death.

The modest amount forest of hair in my nostrils seems to freeze solid every single time I step outside, causing me to snortle like I’ve got a wad of snot stuck in the back of my throat. Also, I’ve usually got a wad of snot stuck in the back of my throat. And my lips have never been more chapped. Why? It’s the cold.

I can’t put on a T-shirt without it crackling and sparking with electricity. Contrary to public opinion, this is not what normally happens when something comes in contact with my strikingly muscled upper body. If the static-charged sparks don’t electrocute me on contact, and I actually get the shirt on, it clings uncomfortably to my chest like a soul-sucking slim monster. Why must I deal with this? It’s that big dumb jerk The Cold.

My joints ache. My joints ache. I’m constantly complaining about my ankle, and I grunt when I have to, like, bend my knees. I sound like an 80-year-old man (and not the cool kind who still goes golfing and hiking and parasailing). Why is this happening to me? Is it my exceedingly sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor seating options and a total lack of motivation to exercise? Naw. I’m gonna have to go with all this mother-flippin’ cold weather.

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