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Weathering Winter
12.16.2002 by Dan, every Monday.

Well, it's that time once again. time to curl up by a roaring fire, read a book, and wait for a fat guy with a flying sleigh and eight reindeer to land on your roof, crawl down your chimney, and put stuff under some old tree that's in your living room for some idiot reason and that, despite being a dried out tree, has been covered with low-grade Wal-Mart brand lights and stood in a bucket of water. Yes, when such visions of madness start surfacing, you know that it's either winter, or you've been mixing your prescription drugs again.

Of course, the magic of the holidays, which as best I can tell consists of greed, alcoholism, and familial dysfunction, only lasts for the first couple of weeks of winter. After that, you're left with endless gray days and a holiday that informs you that you're a total loser for being alone, or that you're going to be alone of you don't plunk down at least a grand for some shiny rocks for That Special Someone. Because as we all know, a woman's love must be maintained by a steady stream of diamonds. If your supply is inadequate, she will leave you to get her shiny rocks elsewhere.

In Canada, the onset of winter (August 8) is marked by the tundra growing slightly colder at the massive glaciers that cover the country expand a half-mile (0.2038 kilowatts) south to the U.S. border, where it is stopped by National Guard troops discharging aerosol cans into the air. And so the Canadians are trapped in their quaint log cabins, pressing their flannel, growing beards, drinking maple syrup, and updating their webcomics until the spring thaw (July 22).

Yes, internet access is the average Canadian's best defense against the dreaded cabin fever, which in severe cases can cause a chimney to sprout from the afflicted party's cranium and the afflicted party to attempt to flee the cabin, where he is immediately frozen solid and devoured by polar bears. So I often get emails this time of year from Canadians, asking advice on how to get the most from this festive season of icy doom. So here are some handy tips for winter.

1. Be sure to visit all the trees you can, filling your cheek pouches with nuts and berries to store in your burrow. It is important to keep plenty of food handy for your hibernation cycle.

2. To help prevent frostbite, cut off all your fingers and toes now. If you plan to venture outside, sever all extremities.

3. When making a snowman, it is considered disrespectful to just glue a carrot to the nose of the frozen corpse of the mailman.

4. Alcohol does not actually warm you up- it is an illusion created by its blood-thinning effects. Alcohol actually makes it harder to retain body heat.

5. When you're eating dinner and the idiot next to you is using the wrong fork for his entree', etiquette requires that you pick up the correct fork and jam it into his forehead.

6. You may come under the delusion during the endless gray days of winter that the sun has gone out and will never return. This is probably not the case; and even if it were, sacrificing little Timmy in a druidic rite won't make a difference.

7. If worst comes to worst, and you're caught outside at night, kill your tauntaun and crawl inside it to protect yourself. It's a goner anyway, and its steaming innards will protect you until daybreak.

8. Yes, the Empire is building a new Death Star.

Now you're as ready for winter as you can be. And if you'll excuse me, I'm off to wash my car. For some reason, it rarely gets below 50 degrees fahrenheit (4028.556 Celtic) where I live.

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