The Dog Sled Days of Winter Are Here


The Dog Days of Summer. Sounds pretty damned good right about now, huh? Well, barring a six-month coma (which I’ll be happy to administer to the next person who says “’Murika”), we’ll have to wait. In the meantime, we’re stuck in this winter dead zone between Martin Luther King Day Jr. and Spring Break. The distraction of the Holiday Season is well behind us, the Olympics are over, and we’re all bundled up and hunched over the grindstone, working on our engorged credit card debt.

Many of us are beginning to crack. During the Dog Sled Days of Winter, we’re getting, what, six hours of daylight per day? By my calculation that leaves nearly 22 hours of darkness, and those daylight hours are usually cloudy and gray. The sun is more scarce than a bottle of Purell at Burning Man. It’s making me testy. Like most people who are stupid enough to live above the 45th Parallel, I’m suffering from several winter-related disorders and a couple of syndromes, mostly on account of this lack of sunlight.

You might have heard of SAD. No, not Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’m talking about Stank Ass Disease. It’s probably more common than you think; people just really hate to admit they’ve got it. When your body is not receiving enough sunlight to produce Vitamin D and all the produce you eat comes from a different time zone, your gastrointestinal system sometimes clenches up with very little warning.

A couple of weeks ago it hit me when I was shopping for various and sundry family items at a large box store on the west edge of town, a store with a rather nasty reputation for selling large amounts of inferior Chinese products and a poor record of providing their employees with proper benefits and decent pay. What can I say. They have toothpaste for 38 cents a tube.

Anyhoo, I was comparing a tube of Colgate Extra Whitening Tarter Protection Double Caffeine with a tube of Crest Super Abrasive Mouth Reamer (“Now With Rubbing Compound!”), when a sharp pain in my gut had me doubled over in the dental care aisle. I abandoned my cart and rushed to the public restroom. The only stall open was the handicap one. I hate that one. The toilet is so high that my feet don’t even touch the ground. I can’t get any real torque. I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow, but I wound up pulling those chrome bars right off the wall.


Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Toyota Rhinoceros.

Fifteen minutes later I returned to my cart, pausing to hand the janitor a ten-dollar bill.

“What’s this for?” he asked, looking at the sawbuck.

“You’ll find out.” I quickly finished my shopping expedition, drove home, and moved the TV into the bathroom.

SAD and the similarly-acronymed SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) are just two of the afflictions that sprout in the wintertime like toxic mold in a dormitory microwave. Genital/Rectal Road Rage, or GRRR, happens when you accidentally put your underwear on backwards in the morning darkness, and don’t realize it till your nether regions are all bunched up when you’re driving to work so you blow through red lights and stop signs in your rush to get to the privacy of your cubicle to survey the damage.

A growing number of Missoulians suffer from WHATTH each winter. Watching Hockey And Throwing Things Hard can attack at any moment, usually when you’re in the stands at a Maulers game and the goalie (the guy who mows your yard in the summer) has all the stopping power of a fishnet diaphragm.

LMCASA is a serious disorder that will probably be responsible for hundreds of thousands of lost dollars over the course of the winter, and there is no known cure. Left My Coat At School Again strikes school age children without warning. Oddly, the colder the temperature, the more likely LMCASA is to occur. SSMM (Someone Stole My Mittens) and TDPOMH (There’s Dog Poop On My Hat) are two related disorders that usually originate at school. Recurrent and persistent, these childhood calamities tend to wear parents down as the winter wears on, leading to frequent bouts of MADDAD among parents. (Mom And Dad Are Drinking Again Disorder)


Here we see a splendid specimen, the Bohemian Waxwing. Ths colorful fellow shows up in late winter, and is usually a harbinger for warmer springti…HOLY CRAP HERE COMES A BLIZZARD.

Anyone who lives or works downtown is susceptible to frequent attacks of WAD/SOFS anxiety all winter long. Walking Along Downtown, Slipping On Frozen Spit could strike anywhere, but the sidewalks along Higgins Ave. and the parking lot in front of Ace Hardware seem to have the highest concentration of WAD/SOFS sufferers. It gets even uglier during the spring thaw, when these five-month-old wads of phlegm, teeming with tuberculosis germs and influenza viruses, thaw into gummy globs that stick to your new running shoes only to be smeared onto your living room carpet when you get home, where your beautiful little baby will paw through the sticky sputum and contract the first of many childhood diseases. You should probably look into hardwood floors right now.

SMFDAS is the worst winter affliction of all, and this year has seen a near-epidemic. Shovel the Doggone Driveway Again Syndrome has laid many a homeowner low in Montana this winter. And the snow continues to fall.

The snowplow passed by yesterday as I was toiling vainly to clear the white stuff from the previous layer of white stuff, and I swear the driver was laughing at me. Disgusted, I flung my shovel at his truck and stomped into the garage to find an inner tube and a flask.

I was about to fall victim to a self-inflicted case of another kind of SAD: Sledding And Drinking.


Have an off-white Christmas with Bob Wire.Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers. Follow @Bob_Wire on Twitter.


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