Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where Do All of the Ice Scrapers Go?

Around this time of each year, those of us unfortunate lucky enough to live in the Midwest find ourselves in need of an ice scraper.  I realize such an item probably isn't commonly found in Southern California or Arizona or Florida or anywhere else that Social Security payees tend to congregate, but here in South Dakota it is a given that each and every car on the road during the months of October or November through February (and sometimes into early May) will have at least one ice scraping device readily available.

However, when the Spring thaw rolls around each year, we tend to forget about these valuable pieces of plastic as they are pushed under seats, stuffed into glove boxes, retired to trunks, or perhaps even moved into a box full of hats and gloves which is put into storage for another year.

The real question is - when winter rolls around again and we find ourselves in the need of an ice scraper, do you think we could actually find it?  This leads me to believe the companies who manufacture ice scrapers do so with biodegradable plastic with no more than a seven month shelf life.  Either that or snow has some type of a negative effect upon long term memory... which might actually make more sense.

I cannot even begin to guess how many ice scrapers I have purchased throughout my lifetime, but I'd be willing to bet I average at least one a year.  At one point I thought I was getting ahead of the game by purchasing two when they were on clearance in the spring with the thought that surely one of them should be available for that first snowfall the following season.  However, as luck would have it, when the first snowfall came I had to resort to using an old CD to scrape the snow off the windshield as I mutter some choice words under my breath and wonder what I did with my ice scrapers.  Don't worry about the CD though... it was a mix CD I created myself and was already scratched bad enough that it really didn't matter.  

Although come to think of it perhaps I should place a Vanilla Ice CD in my car for just such an occasion... scraping a windshield with a CD containing a song entitled "Ice Ice Baby" seems rather fitting.  Then again on second thought, nothing really justifies owning a Vanilla Ice CD, so scratch that idea.

In any case, once again I find myself at Target choosing from the plethora of ice scrapers they have available.  From experience I have learned what works and what merely looks like it works, and I have also found that there really hasn't been anything innovative from the ice scraping community in decades.  Yes we have all seen the ice scrapers that plug into the 12V outlet and try to melt the snow and ice (they don't work) and we have seen the type with the brass blade that is supposed to work better than plastic (not really).  We have also seen the scrapers that come with their own gloves (which makes sense for those days where it is warm enough you don't already have gloves on, but cold enough to still have snow on your car (never), and we have seen scrapers with brushes and extension wands and ice chippers and built-in flashlights and all types of gimmicky attachments, but at the end of the day they rarely work any better than the $1.99 plastic ice scraper sold at almost any convenience store coupled with a coat sleeve used to brush off the fluffy stuff.

Yes there will be swearing when some snow finds its way up the sleeve, and more choice words when we are back in the vehicle and realize even after all that scraping the windshield wipers are still stuck to the glass.  Of course my personal favorite is when you spend ten minutes scraping windows to where they look great right up until the point you start moving forward at anything greater than seven mph and all of the snow from the hood decides it now prefers the windshield.  This in turn causes you to hit the brakes and do the "ice ostrich" move where you bob your head around looking for any area of six square inches or more of clear glass through which you can (quite dangerously) navigate the city streets until the defroster kicks in!

Come to think of it, I think 80% of the reason those remote car starters are so popular in this part of the country is because people just got tired of looking for their ice scrapers.  It is much easier to just hit a button 15 minutes before you want to go somewhere rather than contemplating where that little piece of plastic disappeared to.  Yes even a cheap remote starter is probably in excess of $200 and yes that will probably buy decades worth of ice-scrapers, but if you add up all the hours saved by not having to search for the scraper, then maybe the return on your investment starts to pay off.

The truth is I'm pretty sure I know where all the missing ice scrapers go.  The same gremlin that seems to steal just one sock out of the dryer also has an affinity for ice scrapers, and thus he steals them when we aren't looking.  Rest assured somewhere out there is a huge pile of ice scrapers all tucked neatly away in socks to keep them clean, dry, and warm.

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