'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
TOO DARK AND COLD THIS TIME OF YEAR
Itís hard to get motivated this time of year. There is less and less sunlight each day, and itís getting colder and colder. The only thing I feel like doing right now is climbing into bed and hibernating until April.
I think sunrise is about 11 a.m. these days and sunset occurs around 2 p.m. Well, OK, maybe Iím exaggerating, but it definitely seems that way, especially since during those few hours when the sun is up, itís usually cloudy. And on those rare occasions when the sun is shining brightly, it means the temperature has plummeted to about 50-below. (OK, Iím exaggerating again. Itís only 20-below.)
For years I was skeptical when my wife said she might have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition which causes mood swings and depression because of a lack of sunlight. (No, Iím not making it up. Itís a real medical condition, although you shouldnít waste your time asking if health insurance companies will pay to let you live in Aruba for the next four monthsóweíve already tried.)
If my wife has SAD, it must be catching, because I think I have a dose of it now. But you know whatís worse than a lack of sunlight? A lack of warmth! I swear, it gets colder and colder each year.
I finally figured out why senior citizens go to Florida for the winter: they donít want to die of hypothermia. As you get older, your body reacts differently to cold weather. For example, even if youíre sitting in the living room in front of a roaring fireplace, your wise old body knows better. It can look out the window and see all the sleet and wind and cold (yes, thatís right, your body can see wind and cold) and it knows that despite the current warmth of the fireplace, at some point in the near future, probably around midnight, the fire will be out and youíre going to have to get out of bed to use the bathroom, and the moment your bare foot touches the cold floor the shock will surely give you a massive heart attack. So your body, using years of accumulated knowledge and wisdom, saves you all that pain and suffering and simply dies of psychosomatic hypothermia right there in front of the warm fireplace.
Getting out of bed in the morning this time of year is the worst. Even when I get my usual ten hours of sleep at night, I simply canít get out of bed. I blame it on my hair. When I pull the blankets up over my face, my hair still sticks out like little NASA space antennae monitoring atmospheric conditions and relaying the data back to Mission Control. Lately my hair has been able to determine: (1) although itís quarter to seven, itís still pitch black outside; (2) although itís 92 degrees under the covers, the air temperature in my bedroom is 61 degrees and the surface temperature of the floor, which is anxiously waiting for one of my bare feet to touch it, is approximately 50-below; and (3) every guy in my neighborhood is out scraping ice off his windshield.
With that kind of precise information, no wonder my body refuses to get out of bed. The only reason I donít stay in bed until April is because of that one rebellious body part which doesnít care about the frightening data obtained by my hair antennae: my bladder.
Once that cranky olí body part has been pacified, and once Iíve treated my feet for frostbite, I figure I might as well get dressed and go to work. But since the torturous act of getting out of bed pretty much used up all of my available energyóat least until I get another ten hours of sleepóI canít possibly be expected to do any work at the office.
I recently proposed a plan to my boss which would solve all these problems: let me open a branch office in Aruba. However, my hair antennae was able to detect how warmly he received that idea: 50-below.
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