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