While you're quaffing ovary nog with your klavern of frosties, real people are out there dying in the snow. I don't just mean on the highways and byways, Buffalo Bill. Sometimes they're dying in the most personal way of all: the driveway. Snow clearance claims as many lives as road accidents during snow storms. Believe it or not, shoveling snow is one of the most dangerous activities a man can undertake. More people die each year shoveling snow than die in ten years in underground street fighting competitions.
Now, I'm not technically a scientist, but I consider myself one in the emotional sense. As a scientist I have determined, based on science emotions, that snow is more dangerous than underground street fighting competitions. Snow, that fluffy white stuff with all the fun songs about it, is deadlier than some guy with his fists covered in broken glass ramming your head into the wall of an abandoned subway.
The scariest part about snow shoveling deaths is that medical science has absolutely no idea why people die while shoveling snow.
A 44-year-old man died Tuesday while shoveling his driveway of snow in south suburban Oak Forest.
An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
The autopsy is scheduled, but they won't find anything. They never do. Snow melts, leaving no evidence for the CSI.
It's the same baffling story again and again. A perfectly healthy elderly man, or 50-year old obese man with ischemic heart disease and untreated high blood pressure, walks outside to shovel snow. An hour later the poor bastard's wife comes out with some hot cocoa and discovers his lifeless body lying face down on the driveway. 911 is called, paramedics arrive, but it's too late: Jack Frost's deadly work is done.
Mysterious snow shovel death is only half as mysterious as the death that snow can cause when it covers the exhaust vents of gas-heated homes. When snow clogs a vent it opens a door for the most insidious of all holiday killers: carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, also known as "deadly air," is like a silenced murder gun that combines the strength of carbon with the deadly accuracy of monoxide to shoot out your brains (lungs). When your shanty gets blizzarded up your own furnace could become your assassin by way of snow's actions.
Not even the rich and famous are immune to the dangers of carbon monoxide. Deadly air tragically killed all of Weird Al's family, although a polka medley's involvement can't be ruled out of that specific case. Not so funny when the parody is being written about you, is it, Al?
For many of you reading this it is already too late. Snow has killed you. If you are still alive when you read this article there are a few precautions you can take to protect you and your family from snowdeath.
Snowdeath is terrifying, but with a little preparation you might just be able to survive the next snowdeath event in your area. If we all work together we can wear down snow and some day, with a little luck and a lot of human gumption, we might see the end of all snow.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.