I recently moved back to Chicago after spending several years in less frigid climes. The wonders of global warming will soon ensure that every city in America will have delightful West Texas-style weather well into February, but for now, this is still one of the coldest cities once winter hits. As my job requires me to spend time around a lot of college students who are being exposed to frigid winters for the first time in their lives, I have noticed that many of them are ill-prepared; I have thus prepared the following list of cold-weather essentials.
Many such guides will simply try to get you off their back and into a large department store, with whom they are likely in cahoots, by spooling off a predictable list of purchases like a decent pair of waterproof boots, a pair of gloves, a knit scarf, a nice wool hat, and a good-quality coat. These people are lying to you for economic gain, and personally, I respect each and every one of you too much to ever attempt something like that. So here, presented without any further embellishment, is my list of winter essentials for 2015.
PUSH SCOOTER. Once winter hits, and the streets and sidewalks are coated with tons of snow and thick sheets of ice, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend a lot of time walking. The best solution is a Segway, but many students on a budget don’t have $3,500 just lying around outside of their cocaine budgets. A happy compromise is this vehicle, which combines all the convenience and dignity of a recumbent bicycle with the speed and efficiency of a skateboard. It’s custom-made for negotiating the patches of black ice and scattered rock salt, and will win you the admiration of the ladies as well. All this at the bargain price of half of a PlayStation 4!
GYM SHORTS. Fighting the cold isn’t about flannel or layering or thermal fleece. It’s about attitude. Once the sub-zero temperatures and knifing winds know that you’re not impressed, they will no longer be able to effect you! That’s why the most important investment you can make is a cheap pair of gym shorts, which you should wear on the coldest day of the year while making defiant faces at people who look at you sideways. Pair with plastic flip-flops to really show mother nature who’s boss, all for less money than you’d spend on a cup of coffee if you weren’t drinking Mountain Dew just to further the point.
A T-SHIRT ADVERTISING WHICH COLLEGE YOU ATTEND. Technically speaking, a $35 cotton t-shirt assembled by Chinese prison labor probably won’t do much to increase your warmth during the harsh Chicago winters. However, this is your first opportunity to get away from your parents, to live independently of their dominance, to truly express yourself as the individual you’re in the process of becoming! That’s why you should pipe down and let them buy you the same stupid shirt everyone else is wearing, so they’ll get off your back after taking a few photos and you can get on with taking molly with your degenerate friends.
COMICAL HAT. Forget about fleece. Forget about knits. Forget about heavy fabrics, insulation, and ear protection. We all know that the whole thing about losing heat through your head is a myth anyway, and if we are honest, only losers get frostbite. The important thing when selecting a hat, be it a comically ironic gimme cap or something that would look like a church crown if it weren’t being worn by a 20-year-old white woman from Scarsdale, is this: will it make people laugh once they are out of earshot of the wearer? If the answer is ‘yes’, then don’t just wear it; wear it proudly.
TATTOO. College is the time for getting your first tattoo, whether it’s the name of a guy you’ll date for two months and then never hear from again or a band that you’ll be embarrassed to have liked by next semester. But the decision isn’t just an aesthetic one; it’s a practical one. Not many people realize this, but tattoos are made with a special ink that actually traps heat! So get the biggest one possible, and get it on a part of your body where you most want to retain warmth, preferably on your face, buttocks, or belly.
BACON. Although you’ll be eating many of your town’s finest selections of breakfast ramens come finals time, and feasting on a wide variety of aged salty snacks designed to encourage you to drink more alcohol the other 48 weeks of the year, you need to eat something healthy. And college is where you learn that bacon is not only good for you — containing up to 7 essential fats — but also a magical, mystical foodstuff that transcends its origins as smoked pork leavings and becomes a passport to hilarity. Wear it on your face at all times.
SWEAT PANTS WITH A SAUCY WORD WRITTEN ON THE FANNY. So far, most of these lifestyle accoutrements have been recommended with style and social appeal in mind. But now it’s time to pick out something that will actually keep you warm. The best thing to choose is loose-fitting artificial fibers that will fit shapelessly, absorb buffalo wing stains, and most of all, have a salacious word or slogan written at butt-level that will allow you to become offended if anyone but you should happen to look at it.
A HANDGUN. We cannot stress this enough: it is the right of every American to own as many guns as he or she wants, and to use them all the time for whatever he or she wants. That’s why your #1 cold-weather accessory should be a loaded handgun. Snow soaking your shoes? Shoot it! Random jerk making fun of your comical hat? Shoot them! Space heater not keeping your dorm room warm enough? Shoot it! Some smart-ass Muslim saying that it never gets cold in their heathen country? Shoot them! Sun not shining enough natural light onto your part of the surface of the Earth? Shoot it, shoot the sun!