Yeah, It's Cold

And other answers to questions you didn’t ask.

Image: Jonas Bengtsson via Flickr

“It’s really cold. What the hell am I supposed to do?” —Cold Carl

You think this is cold? I grew up in New England. I didn’t even see the sun until 1981. I don’t think ever came out. We had a large frozen hole in the sky for a sun. Instead of sunlight, it shone down gray streaks of pain. I didn’t even know there were colors other than gray until I was 14, Carl. I thought everything existed in a monochromatic, lifeless pile of endless snow. We had no cable TV or answering machines until I was in high school. For fun, we shivered. When we got bored shivering, we split wood. So many joyful hours of my New England childhood were spent splitting wood. And sobbing ice cubes out into the gray.

They hadn’t even invented terms like ‘Arctic Vortex’ or ‘Bomb Cyclone,’ Carl. Bomb Cyclone was called Thursday. You took the Arctic Vortex to the prom. This is nothing, Carl. My 5th Birthday was during the blizzard of ‘78. We couldn’t have a birthday party because all my friends were buried in frozen snow drifts. We had to wait until those thawed in May. Then I got a blue dinosaur. This was before Star Wars ever came out, so blue dinosaurs were as good as it got, Carl. And we certainly didn’t have days to worry about big storms. They would come out of nowhere, dump snow on you and your family and leave you for dead. And that was all before breakfast.

And now Boston is Ground Zero for some kind of weekend blizzardy clusterstorm. This is probably just a way for the universe to say that no one wants more Boston accent movies. Manchester by the Sea? More like Manchester by the Shut Up. But it’s too cold to even get into it. They should have a whole different Oscar for whoever did the coolest accent in a movie. My vote would always be for Kathleen Turner, no matter if she was in a movie or not.

So, yeah, it’s a little cold out there. And it’s about to get colder. And there are certainly things you can do to try to tame that cold. But what is going to ever warm your soul back up? There is no fleece layer for that, Carl.

First, take everything you love into one room of your house. Choose the warmest room. Bring food, blankets, sweaters, cake, pudding, fiberglass, lots of kindling, a few big boxes of Cheez-It crackers. Nail the door shut. Lie under as many blankets as you can, forgetting completely about life on Earth. It is gone. It is a dimly fading memory that you must untether yourself from. Then eat those Cheez-Its like your life depends upon it.

Some people feel like the best way to deal with the cold is to make jokes about how cold it is. This will backfire. In New England, the cold makes jokes about you. And now that we’ve let an old fat kitten drive the planet it’s just a matter of time before we all tumble off the road together. Into an even colder cold. In which the cold you once felt will be no match for the cold you will soon coldly feel. Call it Coldpocalypse 2018. Call it Freeze Bomb Double Pants. Call it Thursday. No matter. The cold will be colder than any cold has ever been coldest.

If you must go outside, follow a few simple ground rules. If you run, the cold gets you faster. If you scream, it releases all your heat up in bubbles into the warmosphere. Hypothermia can make you feel aroused. So that’s on the plus side. Possibly it’s time to set up my “Bomb Cyclone Boyfriend” Craigslist ad. But nothing will ever feel warm again. Spring may come but it will be Fake Spring. In the back of your mind, you already know. The cold has taken hold of you. And it will never let go.

I’m too cold to finish this article. I stopped typing and lit my laptop on fire to keep warm. Hope you make it, Carl!


Jim Behrle lives in Jersey City. It’s cold there, too.