Arts and Culture

Back in my day: The cold, and five other things we didn't get a day off for

Well, now I guess I've seen everything. I've been through wars, natural disasters, the inexplicable career of Jimmy Fallon and two or three great depressions, but I never thought I'd see the day when everybody stopped the presses on account of a little cold weather. Why, today's kids are so weak and flabby they have flab hanging off their weakness, which is in itself flabby -- back in my day, we spent our days engaged in vigorous calisthenics and marathon rounds of mule-boxing, and we damn sure didn't get a day off when the mule won. Here are five other things we never got a day off for.

5. Snow That's right, we never got a day off for any damn snow, either. Back in my day, it was like The Day After Tomorrow except it already happened, and it was worse. One time, we had forty feet of snow, so much snow we couldn't even open the door to get out. What did we do? We put on our mittens, broke out a window and started tunneling to school. It took us three days to get there, and we were frostbitten and near starving when we did, but we hit the books anyway and I brushed up on the Pythagorean Theorem while the custodian amputated my leg in the teachers' lounge with a pair of garden shears.

4. Holidays Back in my day, we didn't have "holidays" -- the only thing we celebrated was Lent, which was pretty much just forty days of more suffering than usual. There wasn't much of anything to celebrate back in my day anyway: Two world wars were going on at the same time, syndicated reruns of I Love Lucy had lost their initial appeal and the earth had tilted on its axis such that elevation change was uphill, a phenomenon scientists have yet to explain. Those were dark times, but they built character.

3. Natural Disasters Because time has jumbled my memories, I recall that it was not uncommon back in my day to experience several natural disasters wrapped into one, like an earthquake hurricane with a tornado spinning around inside the eye of it. Luckily for us, there was sixty feet of snow on the ground that day, so we just tunneled to school to avoid the wind, which ended in my second leg being amputated by my friend Roddy with a plastic knife from the cafeteria that still had meatloaf sauce stuck to it while I read up on Proust.

2. Illness I once had herpdercular shinglitis so bad my eyes were swollen shut tighter than cement with a mixture of blood, pus and an indeterminate substance that went on to form the chemical base for a new type of glue, which was subsequently taken off the market in the wake of numerous studies that connected it to outbreaks of herpdercular shinglitis. Temporarily blinded, I made my way to school through a network of tunnels we had previously dug through the seventy feet of snow outside, resulting in the amputation of my third leg by a man I encountered taking shelter in the tunnel with a half-dollar he had sharpened into a shank.

1. What were we talking about? The cold, eh? You say the kids have a day off for it? Well, know I guess I've seen everything.

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