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Charles Selle: A winter’s cold, cruel joke

Updated: February 9, 2011 2:44AM



This joke of a winter can end any time. We’ve seen the punch line, and we’re still digging out from under it.

And for more laughs, now comes a few days of brisk, arctic cold, complete with below-zero wind chills. It is a cruel joke, this winter of 2011.

There are hardy souls who scoff at such weather. You know the types.

They’re standing up to the best nature can throw at them. Right now they’re sitting in an ice shanty on one of the Chain O’Lakes affixing waxworms to ice-fishing rods and dipping them in frigid fresh water. And having a good time doing so because of the bottle of Polish brandy close at hand.

Normally, I like that type of spirit. That’s the sort of stuff that makes us hardy Midwesterners in this northeast corner of Illinois. But this is not a normal winter. Road crews across Lake County have pushed their plow blades to the nub in a few abnormal days last week.

This winter is reaching legendary proportions. Kids will be telling their kids about the Blizzard of ’11 in decades to come: “Nearly two feet of snow fell, which caused people to get stranded in their vehicles! Demon winds whipped drifts to chest high! We couldn’t go to school for three straight days because of the snow piled in the streets! People were told to stay home from work and off the roads! The malls were closed! There was no mail!” Oh, the horror.

About that time is when they’ll seriously break out into song one those Jimmy Buffett southern climate party tunes that sound real, real good on a cold, cold day. Especially if one has fired up the snowblower and is clearing a four-foot high snowdrift from a driveway.

Fortunately, we don’t live in yurts made of animal skins or igloos on the Arctic Circle.

While one side of the brain tells us not to panic because this is an anomaly, the other side says these lousy winters are become more frequent, and, despite the global warming folks, we are in the midst of a new Ice Age. Not the good cartoon kind with Ray Romano and Denis Leary and endangered cartoon characters.

Certainly someone out there will say we haven’t had it that bad this winter. That New York, the East Coast, Texas, even Southern states, have been hit harder since December. Maybe. But I don’t live there.

The weather folks say it will be warmer this weekend. Perhaps.

But it remains winter for about another month-and-a-half. That alone gives me a chill.



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