Cold snap puts freeze on taking out trash in your underwear

Trash run It’s not often that it gets really cold here along the Oregon coast. And by REALLY COLD, I mean cold enough to warrant using an ice scraper. Now, to someone from Michigan or Maine — where an ice scraper is a six-ton piece of diesel-driven steel with studded tires and a nine-foot scoop — scraping down my windshield with a four-inch piece of beveled plastic that has a smiley snowman on the handle wouldn’t exactly be called a winter crisis (On the East Coast, this is what is commonly known as “spring.”)

However, for us coastal Oregonians, who are kept reasonably warm by jet streams that push cold air to the north and allow naturally abundant hot air to make its way up from California, pulling out the ice scraper means it’s time to revisit some cold-weather-safety procedures.

To do this, we will use a couple of real-life examples from an actual area resident. Because some of these examples could prove embarrassing to this individual, we will protect his identity by referring to him only by his Danish name, Den Noskcih.
(To further protect his identity, please do NOT hold this page up to a mirror.)

The first line of defense against cold weather is your clothing. This is especially true when taking out the trash at 6 a.m. in nothing but your underwear — which brings us to real life example number one:

Upon hearing the garbage truck, Den leaps out of bed and rushes his can to the curb during a hail storm.

As you might imagine, this breaks a number of cold-weather-safety rules, not to mention more than one city ordinance. Amazingly, the whole thing could have been avoided by taking a few preventive measures — beginning with champagne. You see, because Den drank too much of it on New Year’s Eve, he opened his big fat mouth and made a resolution in front of everyone to take the trash out every week without any reminders. If Den had just stayed away from the champagne (or made his resolution in front of the cat instead of his entire family), he could have avoided ending up face-down in the recycle bin during a hail storm dressed in nothing but his BVDs. (As you might expect, Den is currently looking for a new trash service.)

This brings us to reallife example number two:
Cold-Weather Grooming.

Because he’s running late, Den rushes out of the house with his hair still wet, the result of which is a hair-doo similar to that of “Mr. Freeze.”

When temperatures drop below 32 degrees, water freezes — yes, even if it’s in your hair — and the colder it is, the faster it freezes. Therefore, a good rules of thumb is to not leave your house unless: a) The temperature rises above 32 degrees; b) Your hair is completely dry; or c) You really hate your hair anyway and would like to start over again from scratch.

Finally, our cold-weather-safety discussion wouldn’t be complete unless we talked about firewood. In Oregon, most homes do not have natural gas. Therefore, we rely on firewood and re-runs of Bachelor Pad as our primary heat sources.

To burn firewood in your home, you really should have a fireplace or wood stove (Although this is optional, depending on your degree of fire coverage). Preferably, it should be equipped with a device called a “catalytic converter.” This device is absolutely essential because it converts all of your firewood into “catalites,” which are small creatures that eats lots of fiber and emit a natural gas that burns even longer than firewood.

This helps to slow down your wood consumption, which is really important because it’s not like firewood grows on…

Well — you know what I mean.

As much as I’d like to continue this discussion, I really have to leave now.

I think I hear the trash truck coming.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

29 thoughts on “Cold snap puts freeze on taking out trash in your underwear”

  1. Hilarious! Reminds me of my Greek neighbor who at a wizened 75 years-old and 4 foot seven feet tall, thought it okay to put his trash out in leopard spotted bikini underwear… . The same man, a wonderful chef and grandfather figure to my children, had the gall the build his fence an additional 3 feet higher than the six they already were, because, in his words, “Someone’s skinny dipping on your side of the fence.” I should have chopped down the broad-limbed tree he napped in… GREAT POST!

        1. Several months after my wife and I had been dating, I was at Target buying some flowers, wine and some snacks to surprise her with. While I was there, I saw these “sexy” men’s underwear, which is something I never owned before. So I grabbed them and, as I was waiting in line, started looking at my assortment of items and thought, “Oh my God, I look like some creepy guy who thinks he’s going to get lucky!” So I chickened out and put the Triscuits back … Just kidding, I put the underwear back because I was too self conscious. I was worried the girl in the checkout line would remember me and my underwear the next time I came in with my wife! I’m a dork, I know!!

          1. Sweet. I’ve choked on the unusual array of purchases… especially at Safeway where my teenage daughter’s school mate’s work check out… Great image Ned… I’ll look for it in a fantastic blog post!

          2. I brought condoms, earplugs, wax, and a slinky scarf through the ‘fast lane’ checkout at Target once. The 16-year-old cashier turned 16 shades of red and completely avoided my eyes. I don’t really see what the big deal was. 😛

            1. HAHA! Next time you’re at Target, how about picking me up some sexy underwear. I’ll pay for them and the shipping. This is a small town — we don’t even have a “fast lane” here, unless you count the turning lane across from the donut shop 🙂

                1. It’s a smart man that goes with what his wife likes.

                  You wouldn’t be *required* to model them for the garbage men, Ned. Unless, of course, your lady is into that sort of thing. 😉

  2. This just reinforces a long-standing motto of mine: never make promises you can’t keep . . . without flashing half the neighborhood. Or you could just live in a location as rural as mine so that you can fight the raccoon with a bad attitude and a fistful of chicken bones every time you try to take out the trash. He never seems to notice what I’m wearing.

  3. You’ve given me an idea. In Seattle, we should have remedial driving courses if even the slightest amount of snow hits– don’t drive with your brakes, stay off the road if your car is smaller than a St. Bernard, and keep to the right if you don’t feel safe driving anywhere remotely close to the speed limit.

    Yeah, cold freaks people out here too. But then even the rain can cause massive traffic panic…

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