09 January 2005


I'm not a big fan of winter, so when I'm asked to share a humorous story about it, I have to dig a little deeper than normal.  Winter for me as a kid was watching out for all the different places that I could tell dogs had visited.  I always feared that I would slip on a patch of ice and fall into something "yellow."

There's a reason for that fear that is not winter-related, and will NOT be shared here.

Anyway, I can recall two separate incidents when things froze, one painful, one humorous.  The coldest night ever in Chicago was in January of 1985, I believe (I know that I was in high school).  So of course on that night, with the temperature approaching -30 I decided to go to a concert with a couple of friends of mine at the Rosemont Horizon, about thirty minutes away from my house.  I believe it was a double headliner, REO Speedwagon and another band that I can't remember now.  What I can remember is offering to drop my friends off at the door while I parked the car, thinking that the walk across the lot to the arena wouldn't be a big deal.  I was so wrong.  I had a hat on, yet by the time I got inside, my ears were stiff.  It was unbelievably cold crossing that lot, and then once the show started and my ears thawed, it felt like they were on fire.  I spent the entire show in tremendous pain.  And of course, after it was over, when we had to go back out to the car, I did it again.

That was painful, here's funny:

About ten years ago I was coming home from work in the middle of the night on a very cold winter night.  I had bought a few things at the grocery store on the way home, and as I grabbed the bags out of the car, I did what I always do when I need both hands, I put the keys in my mouth and let the keychain dangle from my teeth.

Only this time I put the keys on my tongue.

I knew as soon as I did it that I had made a big mistake.  They froze to it immediately.  My first instinct was to rip them off, but thankfully I rejected it.  I walked across the back yard to the house (I was still living at home) and found that everyone inside was asleep, which was good, because no one would see what I had done.  Unfortunately this also meant that the door was locked, and my key to unlock it was on the chain that was currently dangling from my mouth.

Somehow, in the dark, with a key firmly attached to my tongue and a chain of other keys hanging out of my mouth, I was able to maneuver the right key to the door and unlock it.  If you've never tried to unlock a door with a key frozen to your tongue, I suggest you try it.  Once inside the house I went into the bathroom, filled a dixie cup with warm water, and slowly poured it onto my tongue until the key came loose.  That hurt as well, but I was laughing too hard to feel much pain.

I have always been proud of myself for getting out of that jam without ripping half of the flesh off my tongue, and for keeping it a secret from the rest of my family, for if this had happened during normal waking hours I would still be hearing about from them.  I will now anyway, since I have outed myself.

Now everyone knows why I don't laugh as hard as everyone else during that scene in "A Christmas Story" when the kid licks the metal.

Extra Credit: The non-Christmas song that reminds me most of winter is U2's "A Sort of Homecoming."

Aha!  And the other band was Survivor.


sistercdr said...

This is too, too funny.  I can just see you at the doorknob trying to manipulate the keys with one stuck to your tongue.

belfastcowboy75 said...

Keys...cold...tongue...ex-wife. I can't bring myself to say it.

ginskia said...


This is very funny now, but I know it was not funny at the time it happened.  Yes, I remember how cold it was that winter.  I was bartending during that time period and I didn't live too far from my job.  I was working and living close to downtown.

It is so easy to put something in your mouth without thinking about the consequences.  I am just glad that you were able to get the key in the door and turn it and get in the house.  Tell us how long that whole procedure took you.  Bet pretty long.  You did better than me.  I would have panicked and made a fool out of myself.