Saturday, January 5, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Remembering the Man in the Water

This is a very good blog post at KBYU that I think I'll use with "Man in the Water" this year.

Thoughts on Freezing to Death...

I had my students read an amazing informative article, "As Freezing Persons Recollect the Snow--First Chill--Then Stupor--Then the Letting Go:  The cold hard facts of freezing to death" by Peter Stark today in preparation for a unit on informative writing. I love the story that frames the information and how he uses the story -- from beginning to end -- to point out how the freezing person (who he appropriately calls "you" throughout -- what a great way to draw the reader into the story) feels and reacts physically and mentally. Then Stark tells us the name of the phenomenon and explains exactly what is going on inside your body that causes the reaction, from pre-shivering muscle tone to paradoxical undressing. He also adds interesting little tidbits of information throughout the paper -- historical tales of freezing people, adaptations of Australian aborigines and Inuit hunters, Nazi Dachau prison experiments, etc. And to make things even more serendipitous, we will be reading "The Man in the Water" as part of our hero unit. Perfection! Anyway, as preparation for reading, I had the students write about experiences they had with the cold. As usual, I wrote along with them. Here are my two efforts:

I know this gets old and you think that everyone says this, but it really was a lot colder 20 – 30 years ago here in Utah when I was a college student here.
I lived down below the BYU campus in some rinky-dink little apartments. Every day I would walk up a long, steep hill to the main campus. I’m a natural early riser, so this would be for eight or even seven o’clock classes. At that time in the morning, the sun hasn’t even come up here in Utah, so everything was bleak and cold and
. . . icy.
I am from Arizona. You know, that warm place down South. I was not used to cold. Snow. Ice. Precipitation of any kind. Walking on snow and ice. Hmmm…
Well, one day I was gingerly making my way up the cold and snowy, icy hill that I traversed on my way to Organic Chemistry, Anatomy, Phrenology, or Psychology, or whatever class it was. I was naturally in a hurry and . . . I slipped. Hard. On the cold, dark ice right on my butt. Now, I had a big black splotch on my behind, but even worse than that, I had injured my tailbone, and when I went to stand up – I couldn’t. I couldn’t move. I could only lay there on the snow and ice and wish to die . . . because at least then I would be warm, because I was probably going to the hot place.
Anyway, I lay there for about ten minutes until some hunky boy rescued me and carried me to the student services office… but that is a tale for another time.

Back in 2012 I was a volunteer for the Winter Olympics. I did one nighttime shift at the Peaks Ice Arena in the back where we checked in and out dignitaries, athletes, VIPs, etc. The problem was this was women’s ice hockey at the Peaks, so we weren’t getting too many of these big shots. What I did get was an eight hour experience of working in a freezer. We were right next to the ice, and it was around 5 degrees in the room that we were in. All night.
The only perk of that experience was checking in a male athlete. I would give them a dish to put their metal objects in while they were scanned. Usually we got keys, wallets, change. That night I got a gold medal. So . . .  I can say I got to hold a 2002 Gold Medal in my hand. The sad thing is that I can’t remember any more whose gold medal it was. Ah well.