The Suitcase Lady


December 17, 2013, 8:07 pm

I am not a polar bear. Therefore, I am seriously questioning my choice of habitat. The temperatures last week were well below zero every night with daytime numbers in the single digits.

Polar bears are ideally adapted to survive and thrive in the harsh Arctic environment. To a polar bear, minus 30 is fine and 10 above is getting a bit toasty.

A built in Arctic survival kit comes with each bear. First, each animal is equipped with a thick coat of waterproof fur which is padded by a second layer of even denser fur….in other words, two winter coats. Next comes the bear’s skin which is black, a heat absorber.

Under the skin is the best coat of all, four inches of fat. Since blubber is the substance that holds in body heat, the bear is wrapped in the equivalent of super-sized blankets.

The thin extremities on any animal are the first to freeze. But there are no frostbitten limbs on a polar bear. Fat legs, massive feet and fur encased toes are all chill chasers. Stiff fur covering the bottom of the paws is for both warmth and traction on ice. Long, sharp claws act like ice picks to reduce slips as well.

Dinnertime for the bear entails a swim in the Arctic Ocean to search for its number one menu item, ringed seals. Four inches of blubber make it a pleasant paddle and slightly webbed toes make swim fins unnecessary. We, on the other hand, would face certain death from hypothermia if we attempted a momentary Arctic plunge.

A quick mental check of my winter adaptations comes up with a big, fat zero, just like the current temperature. I have only one ray of hope. I’ve got a brain.

Creative thinking is required here. What can I do to emulate the superb adaptations of those big, white bears? I sense an orgy of Christmas cookies and fat leaden foods coming on.

polar bears

1 Comment for this entry

  • Karen Little on Facebook

    I’ve been trying to shed my warm fat, although it has made me buoyant in hotel swimming pools heated to 85+ degrees. For walking around NYC in the winter, I’ve found long, soft scarves wrapped around my neck do the trick, but probably wouldn’t be of much use if I jumped into the East River . . .