“Snot on ice” is not a show coming to your nearest ice arena this winter. You may, however, experience it this season without going much farther than your driveway. My wife, who generally does not use bodily excretions to describe her world, recently employed this very expression to portray the condition of the walkway to our front door after she had to do a little dance just to stay upright.

I fall a minimum of two times during the slippery season. Sure, there will be more falls some years, but two times seems to be the minimum requirement of Maine residency. Some of the more spectacular falls miraculously have minor consequences, especially if I can negotiate my way to a snowbank, with its amazing ability to absorb shock. On the other hand, some minor falls are rather scary, but no harm done if I can get up and avoid blood-staining white towels, tablecloths, or any light-colored linens that my wife might have on display about the house.

A couple days of recovery after a “gravity episode” like that and I’m good to go, except when I twist my back doing some incomplete and inept triple axel. Then I might be out a couple weeks — a month, tops.

Of course, it’s silly to wear my “perilous death shoes” out on the ice but sometimes I forget to switch over from these indoor summer shoes to more sensible footwear when making a quick jaunt out to get the mail or to break my pelvis.

We do have a selection of ice cleats or “creepers” that you can slip over boots or street shoes, adding a measure of traction to your contact with Mother Earth. Some work better than others. The ones that work best are the most trouble to get on. In the past I have dedicated a pair of rubber clogs to always have by the door with the creepers already attached. This way I could instantly exchange the death shoes for toothy shoes almost without breaking stride.

Of course, you have to remember to exchange them again upon re-entering the house or you’ll suffer the consequences for tearing up the living room floor. I would rather fall face-first on the ice.

I still have a pair of real mountaineering crampons from a time in my life when I was just plain crazy. They look like something crazy young men would wear on the top of an icy mountain to … well, to ultimately impress women when you get right down to it. Currently, these are only for display since they are too much trouble to put on and there is always the danger of puncturing a car or truck tire if you wear them in civilized areas.

We all have our ways of being careful on the ice but we have a common walk. Some people call it the penguin waddle or the old woman crawl but I call it the “Maine Winter Shuffle.” It occurred to me that this could make an engaging dance/song so I sat down and pounded out these lyrics, Gangnam style:

In winter time it’s freezing cold and slippery in Maine,
You’ll get snow and you’ll get ice, on top of that it’ll rain.
When you leave the house to go to church and sometimes to the bar,
Do the Maine Winter Shuffle or you won’t get very far.


Chorus:
Now shuffle step, baby step, shuffle step and slide
Bring your legs back together until they’re side by side

Shuffle back and spin around and do a graceful glide
Now flail your arms before you fall like you’re electrified.

It’s cold, it’s cold, protect your knees protect your hips and truffle
Then strut back smart to where you start the Maine Winter Shuffle.


Okay, since you’ve read this far, I’ll give you the second verse:

When you’ve finished up your beer and all that Allen’s Coffee Brandy,
You’ll have to go to town and leave your warm ice-fishing shanty.
Just open up that door and step out slowly on the lake,
Then do the Maine Winter Shuffle, like it’s a piece of cake.


There are more verses for sure but what I need is for someone to work out the music. I know dancers; we’ll make a music video and take the internet by (winter) storm. This will be big; T-shirts, mugs, vuvuzelas. We can use the proceeds to buy crutches and wheelchairs.