Weekly Whack: The Wind Chill Factor
The Wind Chill Factor
January 12, 1996

It's cold outside. Luckily since I traded in my old wind-powered computer for a conventional desktop, I am inside where it is not as cold. But yeah, this January weather is brutal. I don't think I would survive for much longer than a day in the Yukon. Not only would I fail my test to get my dog-sledding license (hey, let's see you try and parallel park one of those things), but no matter how many pairs of insulated socks I bring, my toes would surely freeze. And temperatures are certainly becoming Yukon-esque here right now. The guy on the radio just said that with the wind chill factor, the temperature will feel around minus fifteen tonight, and that is using the Fahrenheit scale. So it is for that main reason that I am not outside, but here inside, writing this week's Whack on, you guessed it, cold weather.

I didn't really care about cold weather when I was younger, because cold weather meant the possibility of snow, and that meant the possibility of a snow day. My favorite part of going to school was snow days. It seemed every kid in school became religious during winter. You have a test scheduled for a Thursday in January, Wednesday night you're on your knees: "Please God make it snow. I'll be good. I'll start going to church, I'll stop putting dead frogs in my sister's bed; just please make it snow." It's just that snow days were always so hard to predict because you had to rely on weathermen. The worst was when every weatherman in the state said there was going to a blizzard, and you wake up the next morning and the sun is out and the roads are clear. You walk into school all pissed and when your teacher pulls out some work you're like, "Listen, I should be home sipping hot chocolate and making snow balls right now, so I'm not in any mood for your crap today."

There were two ways that you were notified whether your school was closed for a snow day: the radio, and the snow chain. There were always a small group of assigned radio stations that you had to listen to in the morning to see if your school was closed. And for some reason they were the worst radio stations, that you would never listen to on your own. You wake up in the morning, there's snow on the ground, you turn on the radio to the station, and the DJ says, "We'll update the list of school closings in the area in a bit, but first we have a half-hour block of Emerson Lake and Palmer, and the Bee Gees. The snow chain was when all the mothers in the neighborhood called each other when they closed the schools. If your mom was part of a snow chain, you knew you had no school once the phone rang at six in the morning. Phone rings six in the morning, it's either that they canceled school or your grand-pa died. The lady who called my mother on the snow chain was sadistic. She used to play mind games with me. I hear the phone ring at six, thinking school is closed, and this lady is on the end saying, "Hello Mrs. Palermo, this is Joyce, tell Doug that it didn't snow an inch last night, and he has to go to school today." And people always wondered why I would always beat up Joyce's son so much during the winter.

But now, I don't really like cold weather. The main reason is that my car doesn't really run well in cold weather. It runs, but only if two conditions are met: 1- the radio is not on; and 2- the heat is not on. So my only means of transportation is something short of an ice cube on wheels. Most people need a ice scraper for their windows, I need one for my rear-view mirror. And I hate driving without being able to listen to my music. With the silence, I begin hearing things, like all the weird noises my car is making. The other day I swear my car was talking to me. I think it said something to the effect of, "Doug, why do you always give me the cheapest gasoline out there, you cheap bastard?" And it's not like I want to drive, the only place I ever drive to is work. When I go out with my friends, I am not allowed to drive ever since that incident with the senior-citizen bus going to Atlantic City. And work sucks in the cold weather. You would be amazed how much a weather forecast affects the cold-cut buying habits of the average American housewife. It's like, "It's gonna snow tomorrow, I need ham!!!!!" I was working at the service counter on a Wednesday night, and it is usually extremely slow on Wednesday night, and the forecast the whole day was predicting no more than maybe three inches of snow for Thursday. Well all people needed to hear was the word snow, and there was a great panic. What is normally a slow night, became an absolute madhouse all because of what a few weathermen said. And why do you need cold cuts when it snows? Do people throw pieces of bologna on their driveways for traction? And even the name, cold cuts, suggest that they are in fact cold. So why would you want something cold when it snows? When it snows, I want something hot like HOT chocolate, not something cold like COLD cuts. Call me crazy, but that is just what makes sense to me.

Well I think the forecast is calling for an end of this Whack, so to conclude for this week, dog sleds are hard to maneuver; if I was president, every so often I would call a press conference to announce a national snow day just for the hell of it; and no matter how long I live, I will never understand the logic used by the average American housewife.

Now for this week's special feature, Feff's top ten favorite cities or towns in the Yukon Territory:

10. Whitehorse
9. Ross River
8. Faro
7. Dawson
6. Beaver Creek
5. Pelly Crossing
4. Old Crow
3. Tungsten
2. Keno Hill
1. Mayo