CLICK HERE FOR MORE COLUMNS BY IOWASCRIBE
Fact: Water Freezes When It Gets Cold
By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Post Columnist
OK, Americans -- the polar vortex thing, whatever it is, is finally receding, so please stop throwing boiling water into the air like a pack of morons. It's embarrassing.
As far as I can tell, some cheesehead from Wisconsin was the first to try it, shoot video of it and put it on the Internet. He claimed that it was so cold where he lived that he could throw a pot of boiling water into the air and it would freeze before it came back down.
A ground-breaking experiment, right?
It's this guy's theory that water, when exposed to extremely cold temperatures, turns from liquid to solid.
I watched the video a few days ago, and it appeared this knucklehead was telling the truth. He threw the boiling water into the air, and what seemed to be snow and ice crystals and mist came back down to Earth. I found the whole thing a mildly amusing way to spend about 35 seconds of my life.
I said a little prayer for the person who did the experiment, asking the Good Lord to point him in the direction of some kind of treatment center where he can get the help he needs, then I moved on to other endeavors.
But there is a good percentage of Americans who aren't content to just sit and watch idiots do idiotic things. These people have to join in and prove that they, too, can be idiots.
Once that initial video was up, thousands of others decided they had to go to the trouble of boiling a large pot of water, bundling up under layers of clothing so they could stay warm, lugging the pot of dangerously hot water somewhere outside into dangerously frigid temperatures, and throwing the water into the air. All the while filming it.
The results? Yeah, you guessed it. At least a hundred people burned the crap out of themselves.
By the end of the day I heard meteorologists following their weather reports with warnings to viewers and listeners. "Please," they said, "please don't boil water and then take it outside and throw it into the air. You'll probably just end up burning the flesh off your Uncle Charlie's face."
Oh, and don't lick a flagpole either. Even if someone double-dog dares you.
A dozen or so other people managed to avoid the burning part but suffered injuries when they slipped on the once-boiling-now-frozen water and fell onto their butts. Or their heads. Or both.
One local Ottumwa media publication even tried the experiment themselves, and covered themselves as if they were breaking news, publishing the story on the front page.
That was some top-notch investigative reporting -- they uncovered the stunning facts. I had always suspected that whole section in my third grade science book about water freezing when it gets cold was some kind of fabricated liberal conspiracy, but sure enough, those scientists were telling the truth.
Alas, I've wasted a lot of hours staying up all night trying to catch the person or gnome or gremlin or underfunded lefty scientist or whoever it is who breaks into my freezer and steals my water from my trays, replacing it with ice cubes.
I've heard that tomorrow's headline in this publication is going to be something along the lines of "Area Fishermen Magically Walk Around On Lake Without Drowning."
I don't really blame the local publication for trying the boiling water experiment, because I am certain it was an enjoyable distraction from the humdrum daily duties of collecting bundles of old newspapers out of ditches. And they certainly weren't the only ones out there who attempted the experiment.
All over YouTube, you can find videos of people doing things with hot water in cold weather. One guy filled one of those super-duper water guns with boiling water and shot it out into the cold. I have to admit, this was kind of cool to watch, and I wish I would have thought of it.
One woman froze soap bubbles. She held them in her hand and they were kind of squishy, like gumdrops. Kind of neat.
Some kid from Iowa stupidly dove onto a frozen trampoline, just so I could laugh at him. Thanks, kid. I'll pay it forward, and do something stupid someday soon, so that others will laugh at me.
Then there was the guy who wanted to show what happened when you urinate in 50-below wind chills. I have to admit, this was excruciating to watch, and I wish I had never seen it.
Hundreds of local and national news organizations also attempted the boiling water trick, including CNN, as a part of their coverage of the polar vortex, with varying results. Of course, the talking heads at FOX News have been using the cold weather caused by the expanding polar vortex as evidence that the global warming caused by climate change is a myth.
And radio comic Rush Limbaugh went in another direction, claiming that the polar vortex itself was a fake, made-up thing. And he might have a point. Because weather reports are for socialists, or something, I don't really know. It's hard to understand where Mr. Limbaugh is coming from sometimes.
I do know that it's always disturbing to me when I come to the realization that I live in a world where people have to tell other people that throwing boiling water into the air is a bad idea.
Or that water freezes when it gets cold.
But hey, whatever gets you through the day, right?
Whatever gets you through the bitter cold, frost-bitten day.