The arctic throat punch and other scary weather terms

·4 min read

Jan. 12—Good morning, my shivering friends. Please excuse any odd ssssspellling errors and typos. I'm sitting at the keyboard wearing inch-thick polyurethane gloves and the penguin feather lining is bunchy.

And that's not to mention the three polypropylene undershirts, two angora sweaters and the electrically warmed thermal underpants with special heating coils running to my most vulnerable parts.

Fleece-lined mukluk boots with individual toe warmers? Got 'em. Balaclavas? I'm wearing three of them because you can never be too careful.

I've got a Big Buddy propane heater sitting next to me and two burly kerosene heaters standing by in the kitchen like soldiers awaiting orders.

This arctic blast isn't going to make a Jack-Nicholson-at-the-end-of-"The-Shining"-style popsicle out of me, no sir. I'm all kinds of ready for this.

I'm ready in particular, because the weather forecasters and media have been putting out alarming statements about the cold, such as this one, from Bloomberg:

"Forecasters are watching the arctic for signs that a polar vortex — a girdle of winds around the north pole — is weakening and ready to spill frigid air south."

And I'm thinking that if arctic wind can spill frigid air into your girdle like that, it won't hesitate to go after other unmentionables.

"A brassiere of arctic wind will blow south across the skort of Canada and straight into the pantaloons of Maine before creeping icily down into New Hampshire's bloomers," forecasters might say next, and I swear they use terms like this, because just reading it makes a guy feel cold all over and off you go, running for the fleece-lined everything.

I've always been largely indifferent to weather reports. I figure it's going to be cold in the winter and hot during the 45 minutes of summer we get. Who needs to turn to the weather pages to find out what he can learn just by sticking his head — or any body part, really — out the door.

But then, the weather guys got more savvy about things. They didn't just tell you it was going to be cold for a week, they started unleashing vicious sounding concepts like the polar vortex, bomb cyclones, thundersnow and other terms that sound like primitive weapons used in "Game of Thrones."

El Niño sounds like the head of a savage cocaine cartel who might kill you in your sleep. La Niña has the ring of an ancient banshee who will carry a poor soul off to his grave if his Long John underwear has too many holes in it.

I expect to wake up any day now to be greeted by weather reports calling for a trebuchet of sleet, a gallows of frost or a throat punch of polar vortexing death wind aimed straight at my boxer briefs.

A lobster boiling in a pot of water would nonetheless feel cold if he read weather reports like that. Which is just another good reason to never teach a lobster to read.

So yeah, chums. I'm staying prepared for this one. We're living in a period during which everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong as a rule. I feel that if I were to remove a single stitch of this warm weather gear, the furnace would break down or the power would go out, and just when that shrieking wendigo of cold is at its most severe.

The coming cold is forecast to bring with it wind chills of down t0 40 below zero, which is just dangerously cold no matter what you call it. Do anything you can to stay out of it, friends, and make up your own clever terms to describe conditions, if that warms your cockles.

Me, I figure that to avoid chills in my underthings, I just need to stay properly clad for another three months, at which point spring will be along and we can all start awaiting weather reports that call for scorching thumb screws of heat, sopping water boards of humidity and ultra-torrential body slams of rain.

I, for one, can hardly wait.

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