It happens ever year, usually just after Christmas, sometimes sooner, but always when you most expect it. And it becomes increasingly formidable with every drop in temperature, until finally it becomes intolerable.
It is the incessant complaining of people not hardy enough to live in Minnesota. "Oh my goodness, it's sooooooooo cold out!" they moan. "I'm freeeeezing! Why do I live here? I'm moving to Florida."
"Please do," I like to tell them. "Move to Florida or shut your pansy pie hole. We all know it's cold. Put on some long johns and deal with it. If you need help getting dressed, ask me. I'll be happy to wrap a wool scarf firmly around your skinny neck and stuff the slack down your throat."
Winter lasts a long time, and being a sniveling crybaby about it doesn't help anyone. Violence toward whiners, on the other hand, can be incredibly satisfying, warming both body and spirit.
The next time you hear, "For crying out loud, I could freeze to death just going out to get the morning paper," show that bellyacher how much colder the experience could be. Drag him outside and administer an old-fashioned whitewashing.
Keep in mind that, although winter whiners are afraid of cold weather, they are more terrified of messing up their pretty hairstyles with a good hat. Make sure all whitewashings include a thorough monkey scrubbing.
There is simply no reason to put up with chicken hearts, who (need I remind you?) also complain all summer that it's too hot, and usually never go outside anyway except to walk from their houses to their cars, then to their offices and back.
Essential chores force them outside from time to time, however, which allows them to not only complain about the cold, but how sore their backs are from shoveling snow. It's a wonder they recovered from raking leaves.
You won't find these people out in the open air enjoying life, that's for sure. When you do find them outside -- perhaps on the side of an outdoor hockey rink complaining about how obligated they feel to attend their child's game -- you have an opportunity to set things right with nature and plug their whining mouths with a fluffy ball of the white stuff.
They have it coming, after all.
Paul Lundgren is a newspaper columnist and a very nice man. His e-mail address is mail @ paullundgren.com.