Friday, February 12, 2010

Curing The Winter Doldrums

By Vicky DeCoster

Jack Nicholson’s character in the unforgettable movie “The Shining” demonstrated best what we all realize after suffering through six months of nose-hair-freezing cold and black-ice-coated sidewalks … that winter makes us wacko. Last January, after watching my husband take my red lipstick and spell out “O-K-C-A-W M’I” on our bathroom mirror, I decided it was time to create a few activities to help my family survive cabin fever, the winter doldrums, and heaven forbid, a shortage of red lipstick at the local drugstore. My list of suggested winter activities follows (Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for bodily harm, injury, or mental distress that may be caused by participating in any of the below activities. P.S. Have fun.

◦ The Icicle Game – each family member takes two long icicles from the gutter and places them inside their mouth, making the icicles look like long teeth. Play walrus family in the Arctic.

◦ The Sledding Game – each family member takes a sled and sets it on the top of a huge hill with several large trees and a barbwire fence below. The first person to be carried off on a stretcher wins a free night out at the movies to see The Shining.

◦ The Penguin Game – rent several tuxedos at the local tuxedo shop, tie each person’s feet together, and have a race to the mailbox. Whoever wins gets to find a way to pay all the bills inside the mailbox.

◦ The Tongue Game – find a metal light pole on your street. Have each family member stick their tongue on the pole and then have them try to say, “Sally slurps slushies at the seashore while she studies shells.” (Helpful hint: Have a glass of warm water handy to unstick their tongues from the pole after the game … unless of course, you want to leave them there all night.)

◦ The Shoveling Game – give each family member a shovel and send them to the snow-covered driveway. Whoever hits cement first wins a brand new tube of red lipstick.

◦ The Static Game – have each person place a stocking cap on their head for 24 hours. When 24 hours has passed, each person should slowly remove the stocking cap, then shuffle around on the carpet with slippers on their feet, finger sticking out, until they can touch another family member with the finger (i.e., lethal weapon). When someone is shocked hard enough to cause a power surge in the entire neighborhood, the game is over.

◦ The Snow Tunnel Game – give each family member a spoon and tell him or her to dig a tunnel all the way to the local supermarket. Whoever reaches the meat counter first wins a weekend at a resort in the mountains where they’ll be trapped until the following spring.

◦ The Crazed Look Game – have two people infected with cabin fever sit across from each other at the kitchen table. Each person intently stares into the other person’s eyes with the crazed look they’ve been wearing all winter around the house. The first of the two to stand up and run screaming from the room wins a free therapy session with the local psychiatrist who happens to be booked up until spring.

◦ The Self-Tanner Game – provide each person with their own bottle of self-tanner. Send them to separate rooms for one hour. The first one to emerge, looking as if they’ve been to The Bahamas for a week, wins a free tanning session at the local salon.

If none of the above activities work to cure your cabin fever, I have one more suggestion. Sit in your favorite recliner. Close your eyes. Visualize yourself mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, pruning your bushes, painting the house, organizing the garage, sweeping the sidewalk, starting a new landscape project, cleaning out the gutters, raking leaves, and spreading fertilizer.

Maybe being trapped in the house with a bunch of crazed-eye, static-haired, fake-tanned mental cases isn’t so bad now, is it?

Award-winning humor writer Vicky DeCoster is the author of Husbands, Hot Flashes, and All That Hullabaloo! and The Wacky World of Womanhood. Vicky’s been published in over 60 magazines, books, and on several web sites. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two children where she is working on her third book of humorous essays. Visit her at:

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