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A bone-chilling nightmare

According to soothsayers, mystics, and National Weather Service meteorologists, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." Furthermore, soothsayers, mystics, and National Weather Service meteorologist recommend that everyone (especially ancient Roman politicians with imperial ambitions) "beware the Ides of March."

In short, soothsayers, mystics, and National Weather Service meteorologist are a bunch of wild-eyed lunatics, and their "proclamations" (read: thinly veiled threats) are utter rubbish - the products of demented minds that get a deranged kick out of inventing nonsense words like "ides" and "meteorologist," then bandying them about willy-nilly to scare the public into spending trillions of dollars a year on thermometers.

Nonetheless, these inveterate charlatans were actually on to something when they decided to make March sound threatening and dangerous and capable of destroying your life (and the lives of everyone you hold dear) if you fail to purchase a case of thermometers posthaste. I figured this out firsthand last week, on the bike ride from my apartment to campus.

A little background: I'm a graduate student at a large Midwestern university, and my apartment's less than a mile from the English building. I ride my bike there year round, through blizzards, rainstorms, plagues of locusts - you name the unpleasant natural phenomenon, and I've pedaled into it at top speed, most likely nude and screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs (almost certainly in a lame German accent) while a large crowd looked on. In fact, I'm a bit of a celebrity here - an institution, really. Japan has Godzilla, England has Dermot Mulroney, and the four-block radius around my apartment has me.

But my status as a cultural icon doesn't matter. What matters is that a cold front nosed its way into the region last week and, arriving as it did after several days of temperatures in the 40s and 50s, I reacted to that cold front the same way that Dr. Leo Marvin reacted to Bob Wiley's unexpected arrival at his lakeside cottage in What About Bob? - with a kind of shocked-and-appalled exasperation.

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