Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: This winter gives us plenty to complain about


Most of we natives spend an inordinate amount of our time in winter complaining about the weather. Thus, after significant scientific inquiry, I’m willing to bet what’s left of Bob Porter’s estate that this phenomenon statistically increases during what we consider to be a normal winter. Stay with me here.

To clarify this phenomenon, the root of my hypothesis, I need to refer you locals back to the winter of 2011, which was an anomaly. Despite the beautiful weather, I recall telling both my readers that last winter was one of the more difficult winters we had experienced in a long time… the weather was so nice that it actually stifled our ability to complain about winter. Most folks smiled while muttering, “Can you believe this weather… it’s wonderful.”

Yep, by the time last winter ended we locals were somewhat stultified by our inability to adequately dump our inherited need to complain about the winter. Yes, I know many of you were able to vent yourselves over other stuff you can’t do anything about, but more than likely it didn’t relieve ya.

So fast forward to 2012 a few days past Christmas, and here we are in the midst of one of those real winters – snow, cold, wind, the whole bit… the complaints are back and here’s a chance for you to test my hypothesis.

Step 1: Commitment – first thing first you gotta decide is whether or not you wanna be scientific… thus you have to be willing to pay attention to what’s going on around you so you can make the everyday visible… then decide whether or not you want to read onto step 2.

Step 2: Glad you’re still with me here and I look forward to your full report in the next edition of the “Not Much Else to do with My Time” magazine… send your results enclosed in a 48″ x 48″ box stuffed with $20 bills addressed to the ‘Save Dan’s Dreams Foundation…” and we’ll let the lucky winner know where to pick up what’s left of Bob Porter’s estate.

Step 3: At this step my analysis has led me to conclude that you really don’t have much else to do with your time so I will proceed with my proposed scientific inquiry that you still seem willing to replicate.

Step4: Look around you, anybody there? Okay maybe not yet, but if you’re gonna be serious about being scientific you’re gonna need to encounter 20 subjects.  You don’t have to know any of them; however, you do have to count to 20 and sort “yeses from nos.” The subjects should be anyone off the street, anyone you meet, strangers passing by, any conversation you have or hear, and I suppose if you’re desperate you could just pick up a phone book and start dialing… just remember you need 20 human interactions.

Step 5: Tally each conversation you encounter by answering the question, “Did the weather come up at all? (“Yes” if it did, “No” if it didn’t). Do this 20 times and tally each yes and no response and you will likely be able to confirm the accuracy of my hypothesis… then enact step 2.

Step 6: If you make any money from the aforementioned estate I expect my usual 10 percent.

Okay, so back to the weather here; T’was the day before Christmas and snowing outside, there was no wind so the snow lazily drifted in and the forecast called for our first week of below zero nights. Abe reported that the ice on Sweetbriar was 10 to 12 inches thick but the fish weren’t biting, the kids just got done sledding in the yard and Uncle Tom came by to remind us that we only had four months left of winter… and the conversation went from there to here…

So good luck in your research and here’s hoping that the warm side of your personality gets you through another winter…