Friday, February 1, 2013


(This column is appearing in the "The Last Laugh," in the February 2013 issue of New Hampshire Magazine.  Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick, used with permission.)

          I’ve also always gone against the grain of that other simple adage, and instead followed “you can’t get here from there” as my life’s compass, but it’s safe to assume that 2013 will eventually bring to a close another typical New Hampshire mid-winter, and together we’ll face the next big climate change, otherwise known as late winter. No, not early spring; that won’t arrive until early summer.
          As a born & bred New Hampshire writer, I’ve always lived life as a borderline reckless optimist, wildly assuming that I know what the future holds. Maybe that’s because I’m older now than when I was younger.  Don’t laugh. That’s not as easy to oversimplify as it sounds. 
          Right about now, those of us who aren’t moose, Bode Miller or trees, are spending more time indoors than outdoors. Yes, unless “sled-dog” or "downhill” are our living winter verbs, or we can only enjoy our nouns while cavorting alfresco in six layers of clothing, it’s nigh on Cabin Fever time.
          Personally, I prefer my cavorts in one layer or less, and slightly above room temperature.
         (If you're one of that baffling ilk who say "at least you can dress for the cold," I can't help you; I'll never understand you, and may the penguins of paradise march into your foot pajamas.)
          But, we do live in this Granite State willingly, so we can't complain without adding a qualifier: suffering through these interminable winters affords us a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of our other eleven seasons (rimshot mandatory). Granite Staters are nothing if not well seasoned.
          But winter leaves us stuck with the one malady we can’t use as an excuse to call-in sick: "Sorry, I can't work today. It's too cold outside, and the doctor’s treating me for Cabin Fever." You’d do better to tell your boss that you’ve contracted the Heebie Jeebies, but I don't advise it.
          Still, as self-conscripted, granite-hardened boondockers willing to trudge through the cold, dark days from winter solstice to vernal equinox, we're entitled to some guidelines for diagnosing this annual affliction:
          Did you look above the sink today to that nail still holding the Thanksgiving turkey wishbone, retrieve said clavicle, make a wish, and traditionally snap the holiday furcula in a fit of longing for brighter, warmer days? You're there.
          Did you do this with no one else around, and couldn't decide whether it was you who got your wish or someone impersonating you who didn't? You're especially there.
          Do you find yourself staring at the floor, and it's the wall?
          Have you put on the six layers of thermal wear just to go spend the morning sitting on your frozen Harley in the barn?
          Did you do this while making those "potato-potato" engine noises in the back of your throat? Oh, dear.
          Have you forgotten where you put your glasses and they're on your head? Can you not bear to open your freezer door? Are you making peepholes with your tongue on the ice inside your windows?
          Face it. You've sprung a fever, and there’s only one remedy:
          A little more seasoning.

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Author and Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH.  Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved.  His new book, "Walk Tall and Carry a Big Watering Can", is scheduled for publication in March 2013 by Plaidswede Publishing.

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