Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Cursing the Weather

With apologies to those of you who do not approve of swear words.

Holy fucksticks.

This expression has been uttered by my more times than I’d care to admit.

I’m not sure exactly where it came from. I don’t know if I heard it somewhere and adopted it or if it just came to me, some clever new way to drop an F-bomb, but either way, it’s been in my head quite a lot lately, mostly when I step outside for the first time in the day or come in from walking the dog or something. Holy fucksticks, as in, “Holy fucksticks, it’s cold out there!”

I did some digging around and found that, in the 40 days since the calendar turned from 2014 to 2015, we’ve had 9 days total where the mercury reached or exceeded 32 F. We’re currently at 10 days straight of waking up to temperatures below zero, including -22 on Monday morning. Holy fucksticks, it’s cold.

(Incidentally, I was just looking at the weather records for last year at this time. You know, the Polar Vortex? Over the same 40-day period, we had 16 days where the temperature was at or above the freezing mark, and a maximum of four days in a row where overnight lows hit the negatives. Interesting.)

But as I look at Facebook posts from people who live in this sort of climate, and listen to the way people talk around here, including myself, I realize there’s some perverse sort of pride people take in all this. As much as we like to gripe and moan, I think we like to suffer in it more, and like to tell everyone how much we suffer. I see posts about shoveling literally a ton of snow off the roof (and that’s probably literal literal, not figurative literal; snow is pretty damn heavy), and comments about how it was ‘only’ -7 one night, when the forecast called for much worse.

It’s something we northern folk do this all the time. We see films of how a half inch of snow causes panic and pileups in Richmond, Virginia, and we snicker and snort and talk about the time we drove through 18″ of unplowed snow. Someone in Florida complains because it’s 58 degrees, and we snort. “Tanning weather,” we say. “We’d be out doing yard work in shorts!” And when we meet each other in stores and on the streets, we take turns comparing weather. “It was minus 5 at my place this morning.” “Yeah? I had 12 below!”

Is it simply a case of “Misery loves company”? Is it a case of “You think you’ve got it bad”? More likely, there’s a perverse sort of pride in it, a way to show how tough we are. What I do know is that when I step outside in a little while to take the dog out, I’m going to say, “Holy fucksticks, it’s cold!”

Stay warm, everyone!

4 Responses

  1. My nose hairs froze this morning. That tells me it's WAY too cold out there.
    But yeah, misery DOES love company. And we always like to brag, right? I remember my dad telling my sister and me how he had to walk to school in the snow. Now, he did grow up in NJ (we were living in CA), so I'm sure he did, but probably not to the extent he said. Now he likes to brag how WARM it is there. 🙂

  2. Yes if we don't watch out we end up sharing more negative with people than the positive. Stay warm Jeff and I'll share good news. Recently finished a big ghostwriting project and I'm just waiting for the cash to roll in. Yay.

  3. I grew up in New England. The residents have a right to be proud of how tough they are and make fun of anyone south of New York. Wimps. lol

  4. Stacy–Every one's parents had to walk to school in the snow, right? Depending on where in Jersey he is, and when he grew up, he very likely did. My parents both grew up in Brooklyn, and I've seen plenty of photos and films of big snowstorms there (Of course, it could all have been shots of the same blizzard, who knows?). I guess every time he brags about how warm it is, you can proudly talk about icy nose hairs! Welcome to the club!

    -Sheena-kay: Congratulations! I hope a lot of cash rolls in for you! Thank you for sharing the good news.

    -Lexa–Yeah, New England gets it worse than here, I think. What kind of weather do you brag about putting up with in Egypt?

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