As character defects go, WRSS is a fairly minor one. It’s also geography-related. I assume—though I have no research to back this up—that it affects pretty much the entire populations of states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin; and for Canadians it’s practically a birthright.
The full name for WRSS is Winter Related Superiority Syndrome. It is characterized by the regrettable (but understandable) tendency to feel virtuous and superior just because one happens to live in a part of the country that has severe winters.
You and I, of course, are much too stable and emotionally balanced to be affected by this trait. Or, at least, we are skilled and sneaky enough to keep it hidden. However, if you want to know whether any of your relatives or friends suffer from WRSS, here’s a diagnostic checklist:
1. Have you ever used the phrase, “Cold enough for you?” more than three times in one day? (Extra points if, when other people ask you this question, your standard answer is, “Not quite.”)
2. Do you feel a sense of pride if your home town makes national news for having the lowest temperature in the country?
3. Do you assert that shoveling snow is better exercise than yoga? (Extra points if you genuinely believe this to be true.)
4. Do you find it odd that some people don’t appreciate the beauty of words like “slush” and “thaw”?
5. Have you ever said out loud, in public, that you think insulated coveralls or long underwear are sexy?
6. Do you regard, “It took me 20 minutes to scrape off my car,” as a legitimate excuse for being late for work?
7. Have you ever practiced blowing “smoke” rings when it’s cold enough so you can see your breath?
8. Have you ever asked someone from, say, Florida, how they can stand to live in a place that doesn’t have four seasons?
9. Are you sometimes tempted to go south for the winter, but you would never actually do it because you’re afraid it would make you look like a wimp?
10. Have you ever bragged about being able to perform miracles—pointing out that, for several months of the year, it’s no big deal for you to walk on water?
And finally, here’s how to discover whether your case of WRSS is incurable: You feel acute embarrassment if you’ve made up something snarky about cold weather, only to find that the day you publish it turns out to be sunny with a high of 50 degrees.