It's easy to warm up to summer, but winter leaves me in the cold
There is an ongoing debate over global warming, but there is one issue that is not worth arguing about - I seem to be getting colder with each passing year.
No, that is not a misprint. Unfortunately, I am not getting "cooler" each year. At least I think that is unfortunate. I'm not sure if "cool" is still as complimentary as it was when the grandparents of today's youths and I were the younger generation.
My problem is that I seem to mind the cold more with each passing year. It has gotten to the point where I get chilled just paging through the TV Guide Fall Preview issue.
Oddly, enough - as if I weren't already odd enough - I also seem to mind the heat more than I ever did before. You would think that I would welcome summer's torrid temperatures to warm up my chilled bones.
I know I would think that same thing if I weren't so busy perspiring and laying the blame on the humidity while letting the heat off scot-free in my complaints.
It seems that just when temperatures reach the range where I feel comfortable, Mother Nature begins to get ready to go on a blind date with Old Man Winter.
The fact that both cold and hot temperatures bother me more with each passing season has turned me into a human version of an indoor cat.
Please don't take that description literally. My wife, Jo Ann, does not have to trick me into a king-sized pet carrier whenever she wants to put me in the car and take me to the doctor.
It just means that I stay indoors as much as possible to avoid extremes in winter and summer temperatures. One benefit of this is that I can write this column without having to run into some of my more outspoken critics.
(Actually, I don't mind running into my critics. However, I do object when they try to run into me - especially when they are in their cars.)
I'm fortunate that my problems with keeping warm in cold weather did not surface until later in life and that I grew up when I did.
I'm both amazed and chilled whenever I see dozens of students walking into school on days so cold polar bears would be in danger of frostbite. They (the students and not the polar bears) are attired in ankle socks, sandals, shorts and a T-shirt.
My teeth start chattering just looking at them. My old friend Professor Van Von Venn's theory is that this generation of young people was fed ice cream instead of milk when they were babies, thus cold-proofing their bodies.
However, I suspect that their apparent immunity to cold might not be as thorough as their outfits would indicate. Throughout the day I have a steady stream of students complaining about how cold it is in my classroom.
I may look like a gray-haired nerd in my corduroy pants, woolen mock turtleneck and heavy-duty sweater, but at least I'm a warm gray-haired nerd.
Come to think of it, though, I don't remember being all that susceptible to the cold when I was a kid. This is probably the result of two factors.
For the first reason, I'll just say two words - thermal underwear - or another two words - long johns. We guys wore the more modern version without the traditional trap-door in the rear of the long johns, but the underclothing was remarkably effective at keeping us nice and toasty.
Then again, it might have been the other factor. Video games were a few decades in the future, so we had to run around outside to entertain ourselves. Well, we didn't actually have to do that outside; it was just that our moms preferred we would get out of the house.
I can't recall minding the cold anywhere except my hands, and that was only after a couple of hours of throwing snowballs while wearing soggy mittens. I didn't even mind that except when I had to try to unbuckle the metal clasps on my boots with my frozen fingers.
I think I first started to mind the cold on a regular basis as a teen with a paper route. The daily deliveries kept me hopping, so I didn't have time to get cold. This was not the case when it came to Saturday mornings and collections.
I couldn't wear gloves because I had to manipulate a hole puncher to mark customer's payment cards and make change, so it didn't take long for my fingers to freeze and stiffen up.
When I had to reach into my collection bag to make change, it was if I was trying to pick a delicate violet while wearing a boxing glove.
A few particularly elusive customers did not help. The moment they heard the front steps creaking, they took cover behind the nearest piece of large furniture.
Then I would spend the next five minutes rapping on a metal storm door while looking in the window to see a freshly lit cigarette resting in an ashtray, a steaming cup of coffee on the table and a pair of shoes sticking out from behind an easy chair.
Just thinking about it makes it difficult to type with my aching knuckles. Besides, the temperatures are falling and I have to root through the closet to find an old pair of long johns.
(Walt Kozlowski, a freelance writer from Mount Carmel, composes "Walt's Way" for each Sunday edition.)