‘Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!’–King Lear, Act III, Sc. 2

January 15, 1999

Who came up with the idea of wind chill? Weather reporters always say something like, "With this high pressure front, the current temperature is 30 degrees, but the wind chill makes that feel like negative 47." Did I hear that correctly? Are they really saying "feels like" every time they talk about wind chill? And yet no one seems to question this. Most of us, I hope, would question any doctor who took our temperature with a thermometer and felt our forehead, and declared, "Your real temperature is 98.6, but you feel like you’re running a fever of 110. I’m going to put you on heavy antibiotics." (And this would probably happen every time since all the doctors I’ve ever known had cold hands. Either doctors are really reptiles, or they all spend too much time with their hands in the refrigerator where they keep urine samples.) I know meteorological science has made extraordinary advances in the past few years, but a machine that can not only tell us what the actual temperature is and what the temperature FEELS LIKE must be a pretty amazing piece of technology. Of course there isn’t anything that advanced, so the meteorologists must just be making it up. Like the doctors, they probably judge the wind chill by stepping outside for a couple of minutes. So why don’t they just tell us what they’re thinking? "Folks, the temperature out there is 20 degrees, but with the wind chill it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. So keep your tongue and lips away from fire hydrants, metal poles, and train tracks." Hey, it beats trying to figure out what all those H’s and L’s mean.

Enjoy this week’s medium cool offerings.


Advice for Yankees Moving South

  1. Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed later how to use it.

  2. If you forget a Southerner’s name, refer to him (or her) as "Bubba." You have a 75% chance of being right.

  3. Just because you can drive on snow and ice does not mean we can. Stay home the two days of the year it snows.

  4. If you do run your car into a ditch, don’t panic. Four men in the cab of a four wheel drive with a 12-pack of beer and a tow chain will be along shortly. Don’t try to help them. Just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.

  5. Don’t be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store.

  6. Do not buy food at the movie store.

  7. If it can’t be fried in bacon grease, it ain’t worth cooking, let alone eating.

  8. Remember: "Y’all" is singular. "All y’all" is plural. "All y’all’s" is plural possessive.

  9. Get used to hearing, "You ain’t from around here, are you?"

  10. Don’t be worried that you don’t understand anyone. They don’t understand you either.

  11. The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.

  12. Be advised: The "He needed killin’" defense is valid here.

  13. If attending a funeral in the South, remember, we stay until the last shovel of dirt is thrown on and the tent is torn down.

  14. If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y’all, watch this!" stay out of his way. These are likely the last words he will ever say.

  15. Most Southerners do not use turn signals, and they ignore those who do. In fact, if you see a signal blinking on a car with a Southern license plate, you may rest assured that it was on when the car was purchased.

  16. Northerners can be identified by the spit on the inside of their car’s windshield that comes from yelling at other drivers.

  17. Satellite dishes are very popular in the South. When you purchase one it is to be positioned directly in front of your trailer. This is logical bearing in mind that the dish cost considerably more than the trailer and should, therefore, be displayed.

  18. Tornadoes and Southerners going through a divorce have a lot in common. In either case, you know someone is going to lose a trailer.

  19. Florida is not considered a Southern State. There are far more Yankees than Southerners living there.

  20. If you are cursing the person driving 15 mph in a 55 mph zone, directly in the middle of the road, remember, many folks learned to drive on a model of vehicle known as John Deere, and this is the proper speed and lane position for the vehicle.


The following are actual stories told to travel agents (and you wonder why US citizens generally score less than the rest of the world on geography)…

A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"

I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Cape Town. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with "I’m not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Cape Town is in Africa." Her response? ….click.

A secretary called in looking for hotel in Los Angeles. She gave me various names off a list, none of which I could find. I finally had her fax me the list. To my surprise, it was a list of hotels in New Orleans, Louisiana. She thought the LA stood for Los Angeles, and that New Orleans was a suburb of L.A. Worst of all, when I called her back, she was not even embarrassed.

A man called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don’t lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state."

I got a call from a man who asked, "is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." He said, "but they look so close on the map."

Another man called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and I need a car to drive between the gates to save time."

A nice lady just called. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am.I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!

A woman called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know who’s luggage belongs to who?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I’m overweight, is there any connection?" After putting her on hold for a minute while I "looked into it" ( I was actually laughing) I came back and explained the city code for Fresno is FAT, and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

I just got off the phone with a man who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these damn planes have numbers on them."

A woman called and said, " I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola on one of those computer planes." I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane. She said, "Yea, whatever."

A businessman called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa. "Oh no I don’t, I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked, and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I’ve been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express."

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge
%d bloggers like this: