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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cold Hands, Warm Heart... (Well, Cold Hands, Anyway)

I went and saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night.  I won't give away any spoilers, but there were definitely a few things that I was waiting for.  Someone to say "I've got a bad feeling about this", for instance. Or for someone to lose a hand.

Seriously, the Star Wars folks seem to have a thing about lopping off hands.  Luke has his cut off in The Empire Strikes Back.  Count Dooku has both of his taken off in Revenge of the Sith, as does Mace Windu.  And Anakin Skywalker (AKA Darth Vader) looses four hands throughout the series.  That's a lot of hand-lopping.

Why am I bringing this up?  Because if we lived in Star Wars world, and those fancy cybernetic hands that half the characters seem to have were real and readily available, I would totally get a pair.  My hands are my least favorite part of winter at the zoo.

I'm not sure if my hands are always cold because of poor circulation, or if I have poor circulation because I am always letting them get too cold.  The fact is, they are absolutely useless in any weather below 30 Fahrenheit.  If I could replace them with something just as functional but immune to the cold, I'd be grabbing a lightsaber as we speak.

And don't bother asking me about gloves.  In several years of trying, I have yet to find a single set of gloves which do me any good at work.  I've tried gloves of every material, every consistency, and every brand.  None can do my hands a little bit of good.  Plus, they rob me of my dexterity, so I always end up pulling them off and putting them back on so I can manipulate keys, locks, doors, spigots, and a hundred other things.  Keeping in mind that zookeeping involves lots of working with water and metal in all weather, you can understand why it's easy to freeze your hands (water and metal are, incidentally, also my two favorite things to be working with in our not-infrequent lightning storms).

The natural remedy to being out in the cold is, of course, to rush inside as quickly as possible and stick your hands in scalding water, which feels awesome, but does no good to your soon-to-be-cracked-and-bleeding hands.

It's not so bad if you're taking care of tropical zoo animals, which will be happy and snug inside their holding buildings during the coldest parts of the year (reptile keepers have it so good).  It's awful if you're taking care of polar bears, wolves, bison, takin, and other cold-hardy beasts who love to be out when the weather is terrible and don't understand why you don't too.

In conclusion, winter is evil.  The zoos of the future should, as soon as technology catches up, all be placed under gigantic domes that are completely climate controlled to a perfect 70 degrees every day.

That or someone better get moving on these robotic hands.

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