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Beware The Fever

February 17, 2010
Wetzel Chronicle

Warning, states east of the Mississippi River are reporting mass cases of fever. Millions of people are suffering the effects of this common seasonal illness. So far doctors have been unable to find a quick cure for this devastating disease. Reports are coming in from northern Florida to Maine of this terrible sickness. There are only three known tests to determine if you have this fever. First, stand and look out your window and sense if you miss seeing your neighbors cutting the grass. Second, do you find yourself looking in the closet at your summer clothes with a longing feeling? Last and most important test of all is, when you watch the Andy Griffith show for the one millionth time and you don't laugh when Goober says, "Citizens arrest, Citizens arrest," you have a severe case of Cabin Fever.

Sometimes referred to as the winter blues or just a down feeling; Cabin Fever has been with us for a very long time.It is in reality a genuine medical affliction. It is a result of being closed in for an extended period of time. Some call it a claustrophobic reaction to being shut inside. Medical science has listed some of the common symptoms to be; a wanting to go outside in terrible weather such as snow, rain, and even darkness. Restlessness, irritability, and forgetfulness are also known normal signs of this affliction. My wife says I must have a touch of the fever most of the year if those are the symptoms.

As far back as 1820 the term was first used in the country of Ireland. It was diagnosis given as the result of people eating watery potatoes that were grown during a wet season. I would guess there is some truth in that fact as I still to this day do not like my mashed potatoes runny or with cold gravy.

Research suggests that some cases of this fever are spread by a commonly found animal in a nearby state.

Each February a German custom celebrated in Pennsylvania tries to predict how much longer the winter weather is going to be with us. A groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil is the key guest at a celebration that first started in 1886. Each year he is removed from his den to try and determine the weather forecast for the upcoming months. Perhaps Phil is a carrier of this winter time fever.

Perhaps to help stop the spread of this seasonal illness, an animal rights group has purposed that Phil be replaced by a mechanical groundhog. Technology is a wonderful thing, but a mechanical groundhog somehow loses a lot of the tradition associated with the weather prediction. Who knows, next someone will want the actual sighting of the shadowed done as an instant replay to be sure it was the groundhog's shadow and not the person next to him on stage.

A mechanical groundhog may seem to be a good thing at first thought. But, what if during his song to the audience, "Baby its Cold Outside", he develops a short-circuit. A blue flash of electrical light and in a blink of an eye the brown synthetic hair that covered his stainless steel skeleton is burned away. The malfunctioning creature is now wildly waving its polished stainless arms and mashing it teeth together as it cries, "It's cold, It's cold" over and over. Thousands of people could be traumatized by the malfunctioning creature.Reminds me of a scene from a sci-fi movie; "The Woodchuckinator".

States and countries that lay to the north of us seem to take long dark winter better than most of us. They often hold winter carnivals to celebrate the long cold winter months. Outdoor sporting events are popular in the form of snow mobile racing, cross country skiing, and ice fishing. A few hearty folks don their summer bathing suit and take a plunge into the freezing water of a frozen lake. It is clear they have adapted to the long cold months and survive better than those in these lower states.

Local winters are often unpredictable in that one is cold with lots of snow and the next winter it is cool and rainy. And occasionally due to El Nina, or something like that out in the Pacific Ocean, the long winter months stay unseasonable warm. This unpredictability of the weather does not let those of us who live in these states build immunity to severe cases of Cabin Fever.

Going to work before daylight and coming home in the darkness is for me the hardest. But lately I have started to notice that the sky is becoming lighter in the morning. And in the evening I see sunlight in the tops of trees above my home. Even though the ground is covered and the temperatures are cold, spring has begun it return back from its winter vacation in the south.

We all hope to soon see the snows begin to melt as the spring crocus appear through the frozen soil. As the days grow longer, I hope to see down on Mullet Field, Coach Dave Cisar give me a wave as I pass by the baseball field.He will have started field preparation for another season. And citizens of our community that have been closed in will be out for a walk and talking with their neighbors. Spring is around the corner and the Cabin Fever epidemic of 2010 will soon fade into medical history. My advice to you is, try giving yourself a smile in the mirror.Turn the channel to Andy and Barney and see if your laughter has returned.I hope these words have brought you a smile and helped to lessen the effects of Cabin Fever as I looked for a cure Thru the Lens.

 
 
 

 

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