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Column: Near-record temps generate thoughts of personal bests

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Brr, it’s cold. How cold is it? It’s so cold I chipped my tooth eating soup.

It’s so cold the snowman out in the yard asked to come inside. It’s so cold politicians are putting their hands in their own pockets. It’s really cold.

I’m not a big fan of extremely cold weather, but it doesn’t bother me like it does some people.

Then again, I have the option of staying inside when it is really frigid out. I suppose I might feel differently if I had a job doing outside work. I tip my stocking cap to those people whose jobs require them to be out in the elements on a daily basis.

Although I don’t particularly enjoy spending long times in bitter cold (or intense summer heat, for that matter), I do find myself drawn to weather news. If we had cable or satellite TV, I’m sure the television would be tuned to Weather Channel most of the time, or at least those times when I am in charge of the remote.

For now, I content myself with having as my default station the channel that shows radar 24/7. Yes, I admit I am a weather junkie.

One of the things I like about watching the weather reports is that they are a relief from the other “serious” news stories.

The latest arguments in Washington or scandalous behaviors in Hollywood usually make me sad, weary and bored; listening to a rundown of today’s temperatures and tomorrow’s forecast is comforting and true.

Even Mother Nature at her most furious is in some ways easier for me to deal with than blather about this politician or that celebrity. To me, the 6:15 p.m. weather report is true “reality TV.”

I am especially fascinated when the weather reporters talk about any possibility of setting a weather record. It makes me strangely happy that Indiana’s lowest recorded temperature, minus 36 degrees in 1994, happened during my lifetime, and that I was a teacher in the community of New Whiteland where the record was set.

I remember it being a very cold day, of course, but I was surprised to learn it was a state record.

“I have been colder,” I thought at the time. I was thinking of that early morning in December of 1989 when I stood in a line for two hours in freezing cold outside the ticket office waiting to buy tickets to Paul McCartney’s February show at Market Square Arena.

As we runners say, that would be my PR (personal record) coldest temperature.

And wouldn’t you know it, for all that shivering misery, I wound up with tickets in the nosebleed section.

Now that I think about it, the idea of personal weather records makes sense. After all, weather affects each of us in unique ways. What can be an unbearably hot day for one person can be quite tolerable for someone else.

Personally, my record hot day was probably that summer day years ago when my buddies and I rode our bicycles more than 70 miles to French Lick.

We kept running out of water and wound up knocking on doors to ask the homeowners if we could fill our bottles from their outside faucets.

I was never so glad to get inside a cool room as when we arrived at our destination. A tip of the bicycle helmet to honor the guy who invented air conditioning.

Wow. Remembering back to that hot summer ride made me forget the cold outside for just a moment. Now, however, I think I need to answer the front door. I think the snowman is knocking and wants to come in.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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