If you've never experienced the first day of spring weather after a Great Lakes winter, let me try to explain it to you. (If you have, pour yourself a brandy old fashioned and sit back, baby, because you've earned it!)
After months and months of snow — so much snow — that usually lasts well into April, you one day step outside and immediately shield your eyes. "What is that glowing, burning globe in the sky and why does it hurt to look at," you ask yourself. Ah, yes — the sun. You remember it now from the stories that your papa told you in your bonny youth, the days when you were small enough to be bounced on his knee and foolish enough to miss the grim message behind his kind smile: Winter isn't coming. Winter is here.
You remember what else your papa told you: the sun gives off warmth. Warmth. Warmth! A word so strange that you struggle to comprehend its meaning, but then you realize that you do comprehend it. In fact, you've been feeling it ever since you stepped outside, unnecessarily clutching your filthy winter coat around your body. There's a prickle of sweat on your back, a whiff of mud in the air and then it all comes flooding back to you. This is Spring, but is it real? Are other people feeling it? You've been fooled before by that strange snap of 40-degree days in February. Are you being fooled again? And what of the others? The friends and family who you haven't seen since before The Great Snow — did they survive? (They did and somewhere, neighborhoods away, they are wondering the same about you.)
I paint this picture only to illustrate that we shouldn't laugh at the people of Madison, Wisconsin (the good city where I was born and bred) who are currently flooding 911 with reports of seeing possible dead bodies lying in the grass, only for police to later discover that the corpses are actually very-much-alive sunbathers. Of course, the Madisonians think that their city, after "one of the worst fucking winters ever" (quote source: my mom), had turned into a distopic hellscape littered in bodies. They don't know any better! They're still trying to remember how to wear shirts without sleeves and eat food that's not potatoes and cured meat. Give them a break!
Still a dispatcher from 911 had relayed this message to city news site Madison.com:
"Please tell cellphone users that people lying in the grass are not necessarily dead."
Image via Getty.