Facebook...it’s the new grocery store checkout aisle.

    Facebook...it’s the new grocery store checkout aisle.   

    At least when it comes to winter cold, that is.    

    Weather is the ultimate small-talk topic that helps you avoid awkward silences with casual acquaintances in the grocery store checkout aisle and in other public places where the paths of various people cross. And now, with the winter of 2013-14 off to the coldest start that many great white northerners can recall in recent memory, the weather has become the ultimate excuse for people to populate their Facebook page.   

    Even if you only casually check in on your Facebook friends once in a while, it’s hard to avoid: The screen shots taken of the upcoming weather forecast...the photo of the digital thermometer outside the local bank...the photo of the outside temperature reading on the dash of your vehicle, etc. One of the latest examples was spotted last Friday, when someone posted a computer screen shot on his Facebook page indicating that the actual temperature was in fact 33 below zero.   

    “Wow. That’s cold,” he wrote.   

    Someone get this guy a hobby, and the same goes for the rest of you, too, who insist on sharing the fact that it’s cold in northern Minnesota during the dead of winter with the rest of the populace.   

    What’s your motivation? To draw attention to your toughness? To draw attention to you, specifically? To find yet another distraction that allows you to put off for another couple minutes tasks that you should be completing at work?   

    No matter why you do it, the fact of the matter is that you are never going to get people who have never experienced a northern Minnesota orgy of frigidness to grasp how hearty you are, or exactly what it’s like to feel the thump-thump-thump as you drive down the road on the way to work in the morning on tires that are actually frozen into shapes that redefine circular.   

    The network news last week led with a story about the freezing cold gripping much of the nation. They sent a reporter to stand on the street in downtown Minneapolis, where the “actual temperature” was four below zero. Four below? Around these parts, that’s cause to break out the flip-flops. Then they cut to a reporter talking about the frigid cold that the thousands of New Year’s Eve revelers were poised to endure in New York City’s Times Square, where the temperature was forecast to be 28 degrees. “That’s below freezing!” the news correspondent gasped, before adding that the air temperature, when the wind chill was factored in, would feel like it was 12 degrees. Around these parts, such balmy conditions translate to “clothing optional.”   

    So stop it, people. We know it’s cold. You know it’s cold. Even deathly cold. But when it comes to reporting just how cold it is, no one from the national media is daring to venture north of the Twin Cities to report the obvious. They just can’t hack it.