Deploying The Mad Bomber

The weather app on my iPhone cautions that it’s 2 degrees Fahrenheit outside, on its way down to a low temperature below zero.  There’s a brisk 14 miles per hour wind blowing steadily from the west that, combined with the temperature, has created a wind chill factor of minus 16 degrees.  And the National Weather Service has issued a warning that the extreme cold and wind could produce wind chills as low as 40 below zero, which could cause exposed skin to experience frostbite in as little as 10 minutes.

That kind of scary cold is an assault on all that’s holy and everything warm and pleasant in the world.  But nevertheless, in a few minutes, I’ve got to take an exuberant, cold-loving dog out to do her business.  What to do?

Alert the armed forces!  It’s time to deploy the Mad Bomber!

The Mad Bomber is easily the warmest hat in the house.  In fact, it’s easily the warmest hat in any house.  Made in China, it features a nylon shell, natural rabbit fur trim and interior lining. It even has a little clasp that allows you to lock the hat around your chin, the better to protect those delicate, flabby neck wattles by swathing them securely in fur.  When you don the hat, your encased head immediately begins sweating.

Of course, it’s not a stylish piece of headwear, as a bit of doggerel I composed some years ago acknowledges.  The Mad Bomber belongs on the head of a rustic villager trudging across the windswept Siberian tundra, or perhaps your high school janitor out salting the teacher’s parking lot on the coldest day of the year.  But then, no one turns to the Mad Bomber for style.  It’s deployment is purely a defense mechanism, designed to give humans a chance at surviving the most brutal temperatures and crippling cold.

Brace yourselves, Columbusites — it’s Mad Bomber time!

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The Wind Chill Factor

This morning in New Albany the temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, coupled with a 21 mph wind.  That means we’ve got a wind chill factor of -15 degrees, and a severe weather alert on the iPhone weather app.

Those are just numbers, however.  People who live in warmer climates may wonder:  what does it mean when the wind chill factor is 15 below zero?

It means that when you walk outside, your eyes water from the intense cold and the tears freeze to your cheeks.

It means that you walk with your head angled downward, hoping that the top of your head will cut into the breeze like the prow of a ship.

It means that everything in your nose freezes, leaving your nostrils clogged with sharp little bricks and nuggets, while at the same time your sinuses drain and fill your mouth with a sludgy, slimy, ever-replenishing reservoir of phlegm.

It means that every inch of exposed skin feels scoured and brittle and inflamed and raw, all at the same time.

It means that your neighbors should be especially appreciative of your resolve to pick up dog poop, because when you remove your glove to do the dirty deed you are ensuring that the hand will remain stiff with cold until you get back inside.

It’s not a pretty picture.  But it also means that, when you finally do escape the cold, and feel the tingle in your cheeks and ears as the warmth returns, you are grateful for a working furnace, and that hot cup of freshly brewed coffee tastes awfully good.