Baltimore is relatively balmy

January 21, 1994|By Kevin Cowherd

In the newspaper there is a picture of some poor guy nTC shoveling snow in Duluth, Minn., where it is 32 degrees below zero, only with the wind chill factor it feels like, I don't know, 200 below.

The picture makes me laugh out loud. It's only 10 below here in Baltimore. What the hell is wrong with those people in Duluth? Why do they stay there? Is there some sort of visa problem involved?

Honestly, I feel like calling the guy in the picture and saying: "Hey, Lars, did a piano drop on your head recently? What are you doing in that godforsaken place? Jump on a plane and in a few hours you could be here in Baltimore, enjoying the nice weather."

It's not just the people in Duluth who should wake up and smell the coffee. It was 36 below in Whitehead, Ind. It was 24 below in Louisville, Ky. Again, it's a pleasant minus 10 here.

Maybe that should be our new slogan: "Baltimore: It's Not Duluth." Has a nice ring to it. I should run that by the mayor the next time I see him. The problem is, I never see him.

You Duluthians -- is that right? -- should know that this is a wonderful time to visit Baltimore, and not just because of our balmy temperatures.

The murder rate is down, for one thing. After a full day of chipping ice and shoveling snow and huddling around trash barrel fires, the last thing our citizens want to do is shoot someone, especially if the shooting can be put off until a warm front moves in.

Many of us here in Baltimore are somewhat cranky, however. In my case, it's because the TV weathermen won't shut up about the wind chill factor.

Look, I don't care what the wind chill factor is. If someone tells me it's 10 below, I get the drift of the conversation. It's real, real cold.

I don't need to hear that with the wind chill factor, it feels like minus 35 on exposed skin. Hey, if anybody goes out in this weather with exposed skin, they deserve to have a few fingers drop off.

The kids are home from school here in Baltimore. Did I mention that? Yeah, they've been home all week.

I was sitting in front of the word processor in my office yesterday when six kids barged in, all jacked up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hot chocolate, eyes glowing like coals.

"Man, it was so cool!" one said. "We were sledding on the big hill and Mr. Adams smashed headfirst into a parked car!"

"Sorry I missed that," I said. And I was sorry. It's not often you get to see a grown man smash into a car, at least without paying an admission price. You people in Duluth, you don't know what you're missing.

Then again, I hear you people have so much snow that the trees are falling over from the weight and crushing people.

I hear 60 people a day are being crushed by trees. Is that true? If it is, let me say this: You people need psychiatric help. I'm serious. Because anyone who would remain in a place where the trees routinely topple over and crush people is nuts.

We don't have that problem here, just the murders. Then again, I made it to the Safeway yesterday without being shot. Just needed a few things: milk, bread, toilet paper, meat, vegetables, fruit, flashlight batteries, canteens, Sterno, 20 pounds of sugar, lard, etc.

You Duluthians who visit should know that we recently had three inches of snow, but don't let that spoil your good time. Heck, I'm not worried. You know why? Because I have a four-wheel drive vehicle.

You know what four-wheel drive does? It makes you stupid. The other morning at 6:30 I found myself sliding across two icy lanes of the Beltway, just to get in a few games of racquetball.

Wait a minute . . . I hope that wasn't someone from Duluth snickering.

You people are being crushed by trees. I don't see how a person from Duluth can snicker at anyone else's misfortune.

I also heard there's so much snow in Duluth that the snowbanks are now 18 feet high and are actually swallowing people, mostly toddlers and senior citizens, but a few strapping lumberjacks, too.

I forget where I heard this -- it might have been Willard Scott, who, by the way, is a native Duluthian. What is he, 60 years old? It's a wonder he's lived that long, coming as he does from a place where trees routinely fall on people and snowbanks devour whoever is left.

OK, someone just informed me that Willard Scott is actually from Alexandria, Va. Who cares? The point is, I don't know how you people stand it up there.

Look, it's a very nice town, Duluth. But it's not Baltimore, where it's now a toasty . . . lemme check the ol' thermometer here . . . 4 degrees.

I feel sorry for you people missing out on this weather. I really do.

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