Snow People are a winter wonder

January 07, 1994|By Kevin Cowherd

There are many reasons to hate winter, but maybe the most compelling reason is that it brings out the Snow People, who are surely the most annoying people you could ever run into.

The Snow People are those twisted individuals who, instead of hating snow like normal human beings, actually get down on their knees and pray for 2 feet of the stuff to fall from the sky.

When it does, they commence whooping and hollering and pulling on their expensive Nordica insulated boots and Obermeyer parkas, gloves, hats, etc.

Then they run outside and fire up their two-cycle Sears Craftsman snow blowers or their Arctic Cat snowmobiles or their four-wheel drive Chevy Blazers with the snow plow attachment and furry dice hanging from the rearview mirror.

Or else they throw the skis on the roof of the car and go trekking off to some resort with a goofy name like Happy Valley or Ski Nausea, where they spend the day hurtling down a frozen mountain and pretending to have fun while the windchill factor is 27 below zero.

I know, I know . . . you're thinking: What in God's name is wrong with these people?

Is it some sort of personality disorder? Or a genetic thing where a couple of chromosomes don't quite link up, producing an alarming absence of common sense?

Beats me. All I know is, it's best to avoid these people, particularly at cocktail parties, where they tend to latch onto you and, in between cramming Ritz crackers and clam dip into their mouths, launch into a long, tiresome explanation of why they love the snow so much, how it's a great big winter wonderland out there and blah, blah, blah.

Skiers are the worst, of course. I don't know if you've ever been at a party with a bunch of skiers, but the experience can be absolutely frightening.

Within seconds of listening to their excited babble about local conditions, the quality of the fresh powder, the latest in boots and bindings, recent runs that they made, moguls that they deftly maneuvered over, etc., you begin yawning.

Soon you simply can't keep your eyes open any longer, at which point most nonskiers will politely excuse themselves and look for a vacant bedroom in which to lie down.

The last time I was at a party with a bunch of skiers, I kept dozing off and eventually found myself out cold underneath the pool table.

This convinced me that I had narcolepsy, and on the drive home I made a mental note to schedule an appointment with my doctor.

In many respects, listening to skiers is like listening to golfers drone on and on about their day on the course, although thankfully with skiers you don't have to put up with green pants and canary-yellow polo shirts.

I hate to generalize in these situations, but it seems clear the vast majority of Snow People have a screw loose.

Some years ago, I had a neighbor named Roy who lived for freezing weather so he could go ice-fishing.

All winter long, that's all he talked about: how much fun he had ice-fishing. He made it seem like the greatest thing in the world.

One morning when the temperature was about two degrees, the crazy old coot knocked on my door and invited me to go fishing with him.

Naturally, my first reaction was to reach for the phone and dial 911, in the hope that we could get a cop to come out and throw Roy off my doorstep.

But my wife had to butt in and say: "Oh, go with Roy! It'll be fun!" I noticed she wasn't exactly throwing on her coat and begging to go along, though.

Anyway, we jumped in Roy's car and drove an hour to a place that was apparently just shy of the Arctic Circle, it was so cold and snowy.

Then we tramped out to the middle of this frozen lake, where Roy cut a hole in the ice with some sort of drill-like gizmo and we dropped in our lines.

After that we sat on these little stools and stared at the hole for two hours while -- here's the kicker -- neither one of us had a nibble on the line.

Finally, Roy said: "Fish don't seem to be bitin' today."

"Nope," was what I tried to say, but by this point I had lost all sensation in my face due to the icy, gale-force wind whipping off the lake.

Anyway, instead of packing up and leaving like sensible people, we sat for another 90 minutes staring at the hole where the fish still weren't biting.

Finally, about the time I lost all feeling in the entire lower half of my body, Roy agreed to call it a day. Weeks later, he was still telling everyone about the great time we had had.

I was kind of sorry I missed it.

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