Tevlin: Extreme cold turns us into phony tough guys

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2014 - 7:28 PM


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veritacaputJan. 6, 14 8:55 PM

C'mon Jon. At least have the guts to step onto the suspect thin ice or explain why not. Plant your flag--have we become soft or smarter? I opt for softer. Have our winters become increasingly more brutal these past thirty years? No. Check the records. I went to school in a northern Minnesota town in the 60's and if the school was visible in the blue morning cold we somehow managed to find it and file through its doors. Twenty below and no school for two days? Seriously? Whatever happened to parents making sure their kids got to school safely in these tough conditions? Oh that's right. Times have changed and parents can no longer be expected to do that tough work. The baton is being passed from a traditional nuclear family to a jittery government, and the headlines trumpet the results.

fatredneckJan. 6, 14 8:58 PM

As someone who works outdoors, I dare say: Minnesota, you have gotten soft. Yes, Aussies indeed!

hobie2Jan. 6, 14 9:02 PM

It's not that it is a problem - it's that few people have any life experience whatsoever in -20F or colder, and the naive think it's just more of the same... Two years in the high arctic, a few hundred miles from the pole, and temps down to -60F, working out in the cold for several hours at a time--- one thing you learn quickly - minus 30 is a totally different world than minus 10, and only fools think they are aren't. Some steels shatter, grease surfaces burn from friction instead of flowing, roller bearings don't roll.

aanen1Jan. 6, 14 9:37 PM

I don't know about "wussies," since I'm not into name-calling. That being said, I can remember growing up in western Minnesota in the 50s and early 60s with much colder temps than -20. We had to walk about 1/2 mile to catch the bus (but no trudging 8 miles through snow like our grandparents) and we survived that. But closing school for -20 would never have happened.

actualreaderJan. 6, 14 9:45 PM

You go, Jon. Reading the comments on this and other articles made me wonder: if we "manned up" the way these armchair pundits demanded and a child actually lost digits or died on the way to school would all they felt be the warm glow of superiority?

neilgdJan. 6, 14 9:53 PM

Was supposed to have been the coldest temps in twenty years. Let's see...how many records did we break today? What's that...none? We had temps this cold just a couple of weeks ago in "outstate" Minnesota and nobody blinked an eye. Can you say overhype?

neilgdJan. 6, 14 9:56 PM

Yes, there was a great deal of concern over children "losing digits" going to school in this weather, yet somehow they somehow managed to get to the Mall of America in droves today unscathed.

tituspulloJan. 6, 1410:11 PM

Ahh, yes...all these duffers who can't remember what they had for lunch last week, but can recall the golden days of yesteryear with crystal clarity. They all walked 20 miles to school (uphill both ways) in waist deep snow with nothing but their own superior toughness to guide them. If the lost a finger or toe to frostbite, they would just grow another one overnight. Comment sections are always filled with good humor, but the ones regarding this cold snap have been particularly amusing.

dnelson1dJan. 6, 1410:21 PM

Jon, if you were trying to be funny, you weren't. We obviously are softer than we were before. We now worship safety. actualreader's attitude typifies this, "if a child actually lost digits" Oh, yes, if 1 possible child could be hurt, then let's just call off school for the whole state! I don't mind calling it off yesterday, but c'mon it's going to be near 0 Tuesday and we're still calling it off? Because of a forecast cold morning. Give me a break! We are softer, that is a fact.

editor29Jan. 6, 1410:21 PM

As a side note, our nanny governor decided days in advance to usurp school districts' duty and cancel all schools on Monday. But on Monday he gave that power back to the districts to decide for themselves whether to cancel schools on Tuesday, even though Tuesday a.m. would pretty much be a carbon copy of Monday. So why were school districts deemed capable of this task for Tuesday yet apparently incapable a few days earlier?


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