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Winter advisory advice

February 16, 2014

I have a good friend, Dan, who is a very good writer. His columns are featured in our local paper. They are often at least semi-autobiographical, in that he often writes about his wife and kids, be it about school, soccer, their version of the Food Network show ‘Chopped’, or what have you. I love his columns and each time one runs in the paper, I look that much more eagerly to the next one.

His column in today’s paper is about winter. Specifically, it is about complaining about winter. This article may well have been written with me firmly in mind- Dan and I are, after all, friends on Facebook, where I do a LOT of grousing about the weather- or, on the other hand, it may well be extremely conceited of me to think I ever even slightly entered his thought process when he conceived of and wrote the article. Regardless, I saw a lot of myself in his article, and it actually kinda hit home pretty hard.

Here in Illinois, it gets hot in the summers and cold in the winters. That’s just how it is. I accept that. But what I just don’t like are the extremes to which they occur. One hundred degrees with 90%+ humidity is unbearable and dangerous. Conversely, -10˚ temperatures with wind chills close to -40˚ are just as unbearable and equally as dangerous. Plus, the last few winters here have had what at least seems like far more than normal snowfall. Tonight and tomorrow, we are being blessed with freezing rain. I think what makes the last few winters so particularly hard [for me] to deal with are the preceding dozen or so winters were extremely mild in comparison, with respect to both temperature and snowfall. Whatever the reason, winters have been very, very hard for me to get through the last few years. Hence, I have been extremely vocal in my contempt for the weather.

I agree with Dan in that directing one’s ire at the school superintendents for cancelling (or not cancelling) school, or at the street department workers for not plowing the streets you live and drive on quickly enough to suit you, is completely misguided. However, I also agree that complaining about the weather itself, regardless of how many weather-emergency days it creates, or how many flights or basketball games it cancels, or how many times it forces me to shovel my and several neighbors’ driveways and walks, or how many times it has caused me to spin out in my car or fall on the ice and further deteriorate my tailbone, or simply how friggin’ cold and nasty it is, is pretty ridiculous as well.

No matter how much better it makes me feel, if only temporarily, to [literally] curse Mother Nature.

As I type this, it doesn’t help that my eyes are bugging out of my head due to a good old-fashioned cold, but I can’t blame my last two months’ complaining on this cold. I simply don’t deal with weather extremes well.

Therefore, even though a few days back I posted on Facebook that I do not apologize for my very vocal dislike of winter, after reading Dan’s column, I really feel I must. There are only a few more weeks until spring- at least, as the calendar is concerned, anyway- and they say that we could come close to 60˚ this week some time. I am not going to ever be able to “enjoy” or even “like” the extreme weather, but I do accept it simply because I can’t do anything to change it until it changes itself. So, I am on record as saying I am sorry for being one of the insufferable clods going on about the weather.

All that said, I am also putting it out there that I will be watching all of social media as the weather warms this spring and into the summer, and will be calling some people out. The people that told me I should either “move or STFU.” The people that threw the ridiculous, snarky, quasi-religious platitudes at me. The people on Facebook that have been so adamant that I quit complaining about winter, because “Meh, that’s just how it is in the Midwest. Get over it.”
You are all on notice: if I see one complaint about heat or humidity, I’m calling you out. If I see one Instagram picture of your car’s temperature gauge, I’m calling you out. If I see one tweet or Facebook post about how hot it is, how the humidity has ruined your hair, how much you sweat the instant you walk outside, how badly we need rain, or anything else having anything even remotely to do with the weather, I’m calling you out. You will ALL need to be reminded of how you wagged your fingers at me all winter for my complaining about the cold and snow and ice.

Finally, to Dan, I just want to commend you on yet another brilliant article, and I promise I will try to curtail my hatred of winter weather- or, at least, the vocalizing of said hatred of winter weather. Now if you’ll excuse me, as per your friend Poss’s advice, I have a bottle of Gentleman Jack that requires my attention.

Or, perhaps more accurately stated, I require its attention.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2014 8:46 pm

    Thanks John. I have a cold too. And I always enjoy reading your point of view, because it’s always well put and sincere. It’s good when thoughtful people share their thoughts.

  2. Brad Stearns permalink
    February 17, 2014 2:55 pm


    I do not know Dan at all, but I do enjoy reading his columns. They are always interesting, often amusing, and have often given me that “been there, done that” feeling that I can relate to.

    Now, John, don’t think that I’m comparing your writings with those of Mr. Naumovich. He obviously writes his columns with the polish that you don’t always possess, but having seen many of your writings over the years…being that you’re one of my offspring…you don’t do a half-bad job yourself. You’re definitely not afraid to express your opinion, even when that opinion may be contrary to the masses. And you do it well, with proper spelling, punctuation, and yes, with grammatical correctness. But then you don’t refer to yourself as the “grammar Nazi” for nothing, do you.

    I enjoyed reading both columns, Dan’s in yesterday’s SJ-R, and your response, John. Both of you…keep up the good work! (And I hope both of you get rid of the cold ASAP.)

    • Johann permalink*
      February 24, 2014 2:18 pm

      Well, to be fair, I *don’t* refer to myself as a grammar Nazi, other people do.

      But thank you for your kind words. I’m not in Dan’s league, but I appreciate the sentiment.

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