How to Survive Blizzards (Maybe), with Love from Minnesota

PHOTO: Brian Tobin, Flickr Creative Commons license

PHOTO: Brian Tobin, Flickr Creative Commons license

Dear East Coast USA,

We see on your TV channels that you are experiencing a large blizzard of historic proportions today. Two feet of snow is a lot, you guys. We would know.

Hi, this is Minnesota. Maybe you’ve heard of us? Bob Dylan is from here, and so is Prince. We know those guys have been to your area quite a bit. We are also known for being cold and having, you guessed it, blizzards sometimes.

We thought we would write you to give you some ideas for how to handle big blizzards like this one you have right now. After all, one of the reasons people here always say they want to leave Minnesota is because of, you guessed it, our winters. That must mean that ours are the worst winters ever.

What? I’m now being told that literally millions of people leave the Northeast every year because of winters, some of them because they died due to things like the blizzards. So we guess we have that in common, East Coast. Here are some pointers.

Now, a lot of these ideas come from when we were kids. There were some winters when the snow piled higher than the front windows of the house and it hit 60 below right after the snow came. That was some winter. Lately it’s been more cold than snowy. Not like record cold, but sustained. It snows more in the spring now than it does in the winter. But it all melts real soon. Flooding is a concern.

Tell you the truth, East Coast. It’s been funny around here. People get all jacked up the moment it dips below zero. Schools cancel classes based on a formula, now. Sometimes they just cancel anyway. There was this one girl from our high school; she was real skinny, used to wear these leather pants. She’s a principal now. We saw that on Facebook. She can just do whatever because that’s her job.

Sometimes it just seems like winter was a lot harder before. Our dad was telling us about when he and his brothers lived near Cloquet at the place where Pops parked his semi rig. This was just after dad’s mom died. He was a teenager, the oldest. It was kind of like a farm, but they just dug holes and fixed tractors when Pops was on the road. Anyway, in the winter it was so cold that their blankets and quilts would frost over right on top of them in the bed. Their snot would freeze on their face and they’d have ice crystals in their eyebrows.

One time, dad said, the heat went out in the house. It was one of those old heaters that used white gas, and it was tricky because the gas would sit in an open cylinder and you had to light it real careful or else you’d have a flare up. They stopped making these heaters because almost all of them started on fire eventually. Anyway, this one time at the old place in Cloquet, dad said Pops lit the pilot flame and burned his face in the dark, cold night. This made us think of how red Pops’ face is every time we see him, but then again he drinks a lot and never uses sunscreen. He works outside every day and sometimes gets mad. That face would be red anyway, one way or the other.

Pops is still alive. Can you believe it? No one knows why. He seems fine, actually. It bodes well for the rest of us.

Yeah, we’re losing perspective about what cold really means around here. We think it’s giving us a complex. We really seem invested in making sure people know that our music is cool, and that Minneapolis is pretty hip. We guess it is, but who knows? Really we just go to work, get the kids to school. We’d like to think it all means something. Our governor’s sons have this restaurant and they started selling these caps that say “North.” The whole thing now is how we are “North” and not “Midwest.” We are really owning the whole winter thing now. We’re a brand.

But when you think about it, why do two guys selling tuques out of their shitty restaurant matter this much?

Sorry for saying “shitty,” East Coast. We don’t normally talk that way. And actually the restaurant is pretty good, we hear. We’ve never been there, but someone we know did go there and they said they liked it.

We just don’t know whether we’re supposed to be seeking your attention, your approval or what, East Coast. It helps us to think that our winters are harder, because that makes us special. But, to be frank, our winters have sucked lately. Nonspecifically.

Good luck on your blizzard, East Coast. We’re pulling for you. We expect you have some shovels and plows. Go to it. If you want to buy some snowmobiles we can probably hook you up. A lot of guys we know went in big on them a couple years ago. Having trouble making the payments now on account of back problems and such. We saw a guy driving on dry pavement with his the other day. Boy, that’s a stupid thing to do.

With, You Know, Love … Kinda,

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