I’ve lived in Illinois my entire life, primarily around Chicago. We take a perverse pride in our winters here. President Obama explained it’s “real weather”, you see. It’s hot and cold, dry and humid and we get rain and sleet and wind and snow… sometimes all at the same time. If you talk to a typical Chicagoan, they’ll tell you blizzards build character. The only way to truly enjoy a Bears game is sitting in the stands at Soldier Field as the temperature hovers near zero. Bing Crosby may have sung White Christmas, but we live it, my friends.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s all a load of crap.
It’s true. We don’t like the cold any more than anyone else does. Bing Crosby could sing longingly about a white Christmas because he spent his Decembers playing golf in Los Angeles. Blizzards may build character, but they also generate torn rotator cuffs and heart attacks. We watch Bears games in the snow… I don’t know why we watch Bears games in the snow. I think alcohol might be involved. The one game I saw in the winter, the guy in front of us was screaming and running around with his shirt off. Personally, I was frozen solid.
So, now that I’ve pulled the scab off the truth, why do we stay here? Well, a lot of us don’t. This time of year, there are more Cubs fans in Arizona than Chicago. The real South Side is Florida. The rest of us stay because of jobs or because of family. And a lot of us are afraid of bugs. One positive thing about the cold is it kills bugs before they can grow to prehistoric proportions. Have you seen some of the things crawling around down south? We have mosquitoes, but they don’t carry off our children to be sucked dry at their leisure. We have cockroaches, but they are little quick things that scurry away when you turn on a light. They don’t hiss and come at you. And tarantulas. I realize tarantulas are not technically bugs, but only someone from a climate that can produce such monsters would deign to make a differentiation between the two.
The last major earthquake in this area was two hundred years ago. When volcanoes erupt, we marvel at how pretty the sunsets are. I can’t think of the last tsunami that ripped across Lake Michigan and I don’t think we’ve ever had a hurricane. It gets cold here sometimes, but the way this whole global warming thing is going, December should be pretty nice in Chicago come mid century. But we’ll continue to gripe and groan about how terrible the winters are here… and continue to hold back the throngs that would flee California and Florida and the rest to come up north. Think I’m kidding? President Obama left Hawaii to come to Chicago. Food for thought, my friend.