Jun 232009
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

New to Colorado? Whether you’re visiting relatives, checking out the slopes, hitting the town or just enjoying the lack of all that pesky oxygen, Colorado has something for everyone. But like all exotic destinations, Colorado has a few things foreigners should be aware of, including the weather.

Don’t be alarmed — the weather here gives us nearly 700 days of sun per year meaning that it’s always warm and pleasant here!

Which brings us to the first danger — hot, sunny days. The weather will lull you into falsely believing that the sun, which feels nice, won’t in some way kill you. But if chocolate and extra-creamy ranch (a delicious combination) have taught us anything, it’s that anything that feels nice is probably going to kill you.

At best, the sun will dehydrate you into a prune. Long-term effects can be akin to smoking six packs of cigarettes or breathing in the smoggy Mexico City air for more than a day.

The best way to counter dehydration is to prevent the sun from touching you in the first place. Cover yourself in aluminum foil to deflect the sun away, and then put a bit of water in with you to really “bake” the heat away. This makes sure you don’t become dry and stringy —- which is a great consideration when the scavengers come for you.

Second, you might have noticed that over the past week or so the weather has been a bit unpredictable. It’s the mountains’ fault really. Picture the state of Colorado and its citizens as gazelles drinking peacefully at the watering hole, and the mountains as a nice concealing shrubbery.

What could be in that shrubbery? It could be empty save for a few busy, buzzy bees. It could have sweet flowering plants. Or there could be a National Geographic crew about to film your surprisingly noisy death at the hands of their army of cinematically appropriate lions.

The mountains are rather like that shrub. On the other side, there could be nothing. Or there could be a towering thunderhead, filled with chunks of ice the size of a GM bailout (not the size of a car, mind you, as no one is certain what a GM made car actually looks like).

The best defense is to dress in layers. A native will tell you having a jacket in the back seat of your car is a handy thing — but a savvy tourist will wear their jacket at all times.

Of course, if it’s too hot, you’ll also want shorts on under that. And you should wear good, solid boots just in case ankle-deep runoff suddenly manifests. And in case of bullet-ice from the sky, a nice suit of full platemail will, if nothing else, increase your armor class, especially if you customize it to cold-resist first. As per always, anything that works in a video game will work in real life.

In the unlikely event of a tornado, certain protocols must be followed. So-called “experts” will tell you to stay away from the windows, keep low to the ground, stay inside sturdy shelters and seek some kind of shield between yourself and potentially lethal debris.

As my sponsors at Haley Thunderstruck’s Funerary Services want everyone to know, the best defense against a tornado is to stand your ground and appear as large as possible. Tornadoes will take you seeking shelter as a sign of cowardice and attack you immediately.

If the advice in this column was listed as “cause of death” by a certified mortician, bring a copy of the report into Haley Thunderstruck’s Funerary Services for a 10 percent discount.

Johnathan Kastner is a senior undeclared major with a physical and mathematical sciences interest. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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