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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Deadly snow safety tips

Published: December 9, 2005
Section: Arts, Etc.

Today we will discuss: Snow. In my experience, I have found that after you have been outside in a blanket of falling ice for twenty minutes merely trying to get from point A to point A-and-a-half on foot (I say on foot and not on feet because by minute seventeen, the other foot has broken off and shattered into thousands of frozen fleshy Terminator 2-like shards,leaving, inevitably, one solitary foot left), you slowly start to realize that the reason you are suffering from worse brain-freeze than had you just wolfed down a bucket of soft-serve in three seconds is because you are trying to inhale air that freezes your lungs to the point that they begin to form a spider webbing series of cracks.

An average of four pieces of lung then break off and land somewhere above your kidneys even before you are able to comprehend that one of your feet is now three yards behind you. At this point you usually start getting frustrated.

Such a morbid description need not faze you because at the temperature that they are at, it is always possible to sew all disconnected body parts back on, fully functional after only [insert imaginary time-unit here]. And yes, the estimated time of recovery just stated is fully accurate. It is so accurate, in fact, that you should hang it up on your refrigerator and marvel at it continuously. Im serious.

Though rather than impress all of you with my precision, I thought it would be a better use of newspaper space to answer a few important questions about snow. Todays scientific question for the decade comes from a boy named Tommy, a curious eight-year-old sent to Siberia for the sole purpose of having him ask the following question, as well as do meaninglessly repetitive hard labor involving a blunt hoe and a glacier. Tommy asks, Why is snow so cold?

Well, Tommy, there are many reasons for this. Some are scientific, others are less so, and still others are not even related to your question. In general, though, the reason that snow is so cold is because of the temperature. Temperature drops, Tommy, when silly little children like yourself ask stupid questions instead of hacking at glaciers with a blunt hoe.

As for the rest of us who are not busy chipping ice for no reason, the simplicity of the answer is glaringly apparent. Unfortunately, few are ever in the right state of mind to understand it, for the question is usually followed by an attempt to step forward onto the foot that is now frozen three yards behind you, prompting you off balance and forcing you to land face first on your nose, which, upon breaking, prevents you from breathing. This is usually good since, being unable to breathe in the lung-cracking air, you no longer have to suffer from brain-freeze.

Now that you are no longer in pain, you can start having some serious snow fun! There are literally hundreds of activities to do in the snow. All you have to do is pick one at random from a pre-approved list and hope its not something that involves running around barefoot in your underpants while being chased by various polar animals.

One activity is the ever-popular snowball fight. This is when everybody runs around and tries to pack snow into moderately-sized spheres and throw them at one another before the sphere disintegrates. The novice snowball fighter will keep trying with no success to hit someone square in the face with a perfectly shaped and textured ball. He will soon realize that the ball always falls apart in midair, following which he will resort to simply stuffing snow down his opponents pants.

Expert snowball fighters who actually know what theyre doing dont even bother using snow at all. They employ the mime-and-switch strategy, which consists of pretending to gather snow into a ball, and then chucking a cue ball at the forehead of the little pisher who just stuffed snow down his pants. The competition is thusly eliminated, allowing the victors to move on to the next snow activity, which is snowboarding.

Successful snowboarding is actually a lot easier than it seems, since those who try it usually suffer a critical head injury before they are ever able to try and improve their skills. This lowers the standards of expert snowboarding to the point that a lame gorilla can probably join the Olympic snowboarding team and take home the silver. Basically, the objective is to get to the top of some mountain, hook your feet into a board, and then slide down the mountain without hitting some inanimate object, like a tree or the left knee of a snowboarder with a critical head injury jutting out of the ground. Since these knees are difficult to spot, a safe snowboarding resort must always cover its mountains with enough snow to submerge the fallen snowboarders.
For the less adventurous and more boring, lazy, and stupid among us, there is always cross-country skiing. People usually do this when they have been out in the cold for so long that their brain chemistry has been altered to the point that they think it would be a good idea if they just trudged along freezing terrain for miles on end. I doubt simple cold can alter the brain enough for one to consider doing this, which is why I suspect that cross-country skiers all had some deep-seeded childhood traumas. If a survey were conducted of all cross-country skiers in America, Im sure they would find that four out of ten were abused as children and forced to ski for their cruel masters in some northeastern totalitarian Asian country, two dont have any frontal lobes, and four dont even exist, because there arent a total of ten.

So there you have it, Tommy. All kinds of fun, safe things you can do in the snow, as long as youre not the one who gets hit by the cue ball or is unfortunate enough to lose consciousness on the slopes of a safe snowboarding resort. No need to be depressed Tommy. Youll be finished with that glacier soon enough, after which you can look forward to a nice, relaxing cross-country skiing journey back home. And dont forget what weve learned today. Snow is cold because of the temperature.

Also, try not to step forward. Your left foot is three yards behind you.