International Freezer Appreciation Day (IFAD) #1: the freezer literatures

In the process of gathering celebratory materials for IFAD (International Freezer Appreciation Day) it came to my attention that there is a whole body of freezer literature out there.

Here are the examples I learned about – three deep. The closing tale is The Rules of Freezer Wars, a fiction that Toronto writer Pasha Malla (author of The Withdrawal Method, and winner of this year’s Trillium Award!) generously agreed to write specifically for International Freezer Appreciation Day.

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from Jill Margo, writer & boxer, Vancouver, BC


Dear Freezer,

I know I don’t appreciate your cool Roper (TM) goodness enough. Part of the problem is your contents. There is hardly anything in here more exciting than three half-stale buns and the tealights whose placement perplex my boyfriend (it’s suppose to make them burn longer… when you take them out, that is).

Anyway, I’ve made a decision. It’s time for you to meet Yeti.

From now on, he’ll be your #1 fan, chillin’ in your nippy-nippley frosty darkness. (He’s been wilting in the trunk I kept him in.) I think you’ll make a good pair.

Be good and take care!


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from writer Peggy Herring, Victoria, BC:

This is an excerpt from a much longer epic-length fairy tale; before this is the whole explanation about why the king wants the horse, and how Ivan initially gets the horse before losing it to the Thumb-Sized Man.

“The Freezer” is a character in a well-known (& rather long) Russian fairy tale. The story is called “Ivan the Peasant’s Son and the Thumb-Sized Man.” The Freezer, along with his companions, The Magician and The Glutton, are minor characters who help Ivan recover a special horse he has lost; in return for giving this horse to the king, Ivan will wed the king’s daughter.

The Freezer, The Glutton and The Magician appear mid-way through the tale as three old men trying to cross a river. Ivan ferries them to the other side for free, for which they agree to help him find the horse.

The Magician first draws a picture of a boat in sand and asks the others to sit in it. When they do, the boat flies to the top of the mountain where the horse is being held by The Thumb-Sized Man. The Thumb-Sized Man says they may have the horse, only if they will bring to him the king’s daughter.

The three companions go to the king’s court. The king finds out why they have come, and sets out to harm them. First, he offers his guests a bath. The bath however is red hot, and they will suffocate if they accept. So The Magician sends The Freezer in first. He cools off the water, and they are all able to bathe without harm.

Then the king offers them a meal. It’s a feast with so much food, they will die of over-eating. However, The Glutton eats it all, and again, they come to no harm.

At night then, they steal the princess, take her to The Thumb-Sized Man and get back the horse.

That’s all for The Freezer, The Glutton and The Magician in that story. However, in case you are wondering, the princess cleverly turns herself into a pin, pins herself to the lapel of Ivan’s shirt, and so, Ivan is able to return to the king both the horse he has sought and his daughter.

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from Pasha Malla, current Writer-in-Residence at the Pierre Berton House, Dawson City



1. All Freezer Wars competitors must fill out a WAIVER FORM, fulfill the necessary height (minimum 5’8”; no maximum), weight (0.075 metric tonnes) and volume (eleven pints of human blood) restrictions, provide a detailed BACKGROUND CHECK (including an up-to-date Curriculum Vitae, certified police clearance, and three references, none of which may be relatives nor currently incarcerated), and recite the Freezer Wars Oath of Solidarity and Trust (available by fax).

2. Teams are to include no more or less than four (4) members, except in the case of teams of three (3), five (5) or any number divisible by six (6). Teams of one (1) are immediately granted a HANDICAP of eleven (11) points, but also penalized the same amount for failing to obey the BUDDY SYSTEM. Once a team is inside their freezer, there is no getting out until the FINAL HORNBLOW, so please ensure that everyone gets along and is fine in confined spaces.

3. Each team is allowed one substitute, only permitted entry onto the ice in case of SEVERE MAIMING (dismemberment, disembowelling, decapitation, accidental castration or mammectomy, etc.) or DEATH of another teammate. Substitutes must answer a skill testing question (12 x 6 + 14 ÷ 11 ≈ HOPE… Discuss!), say one nice thing about each of the referees’ shoes, and prove him or herself worthy by a feat of athleticism, such as a backflip or successful pro badminton career.

4. Uniforms must be fashionable, but also tasteful. The revelation of buttocks will result in a stern, firm-handed spanking. Each team member’s jersey must bear a number (1-99), his or her last name (e.g. “Ahmedinejad”), and a brief INSPIRATIONAL APHORISM, such as something by Gandhi or August Strindberg.

5. Team cheers are encouraged. A “We Will Rock You” stomp-and-clap is not.


1. Freezers are to be in the Chest or Deepfreeze style, of standard make (Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Guangjong Prefecture Happy Fun Weapons, Refrigeration and Fish Processing Concern, etc.), and not exceed 30 cubic feet in capacity. Freezers MUST be cleared of all ice and frozen contents before competition and are subject to a rigorous forty-point appraisal by discerning Freezer Wars inspectors. These may take days, even weeks. Please be PATIENT.

2. Motors affixed to freezers must not exceed 100 horsepower/1600 CC. There are no official specifications as to paddles or steering devices, but be warned: nothing escapes the capricious surveillance of our referees, many of whom have been recently cuckolded, are still seething, and just looking for some reason to lash out and exercise what pathetic flicker of PUNITIVE AUTHORITY they have left.

3. Freezers may not have wheels, but runners may be affixed to aid in transport over the ice. Sleddog teams are not allowed. DOGS AS TEAMMATES are, but must remain inside the freezer at all times. Competitors who leave unattended dogs inside the freezers are subject to legal action as per animal cruelty laws, excepting “hot dogs,” ha ha ha. But seriously, you shouldn’t have hot dogs in there either.

4. Freezers may be decorated with streamers, decals, graffiti tags and fins. Corporate sponsors other than Mountain Dew are ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN.

5. Any team attempting to pass off a boat as a freezer will be drowned, ironically.


1. Competitors are expected to bring their own weaponry, although in certain instances weaponry may be confiscated by Freezer Wars officials and replaced with balloons.

2. Acceptable weaponry includes, but is not limited to: low-calibre handguns, broadswords, shillalies, medieval implements of torture, hacksaws, slingshots, harpoons, crowbars, moose antlers, grenades, Freddy Kruger gloves, banjos, jagged bits of broken glass affixed with chewing gum to strips of cardboard, trained cobras and/or birds of prey, fireballs, and, of course, ALLITERATIVE INSULTS such as “Stupid Snivelling Suckface” and “Farty-Fart-Fart Farty-Farty-Fart-Fart.”

3. Bullets are to be RUBBER ONLY. Any use of real bullets will result in a two-minute penalty; a second infraction will be penalized with a game misconduct and possible slow-motion (henceforth: “slo-mo”) review.

4. At no point may any weapon be turned upon either the referees or spectators, despite whether or not spectators are hurling bottles of frozen Mountain Dew or “dirty bombs” upon the ice. You are here for their enjoyment. Suck it up.



1. The Frozen Surface of Play (heretofore: “the ice”) is demarcated with a series of red, blue, green, pink, black, orange, zigzag, wiggly, segmented and/or imaginary lines. Please be sure to stay within the BOUNDARIES of the ice at all times, as any territory outside of the allotted area may be subject to “cracking” or “spontaneous implosion.” Your death is not our problem! Do not say you haven’t been warned.

2. Use of the term “black ice” is forbidden. Once again, racism will not be tolerated and is punishable by immediate disqualification, a lifetime ban from all future Freezer Wars competitions, and several threatening phone calls in which the person on the end of the line will just breathe into your ear—heavily, unceasingly, with no small hint of SEXUAL AGGRESSION.

3. Competitors must SIGN IN and provide a URINE SAMPLE at the scorer’s table before the start of play. (Saliva and perspiration samples are no longer necessary, though not entirely discouraged, either). Urine samples will then be mixed up; if you cannot identify your own by sight, smell or taste—well, how are we to believe that you really are who you say you are?

4. All members of each team must remain INSIDE the freezer at all times: this includes the Helmsperson, Rudder Operators, First John, Second Brian, Strikers, Medics, and Picaresque Figures. Any attempt to exit the freezer will at first be rewarded with BRAVERY POINTS—but then summarily mocked and, later, drawn-and-quartered by dolphins.

5. Gameplay begins when the sun is at its apex and Jupiter is in the fourth quadrant of Neptune’s dogstar, Andrew. One of the referees (there’s no telling which one, though usually it seems to be whoever’s got the most luxuriant moustache) will blow his flugelhorn, drop the ceremonial BUCKET OF COMMEMORATIVE COINS, and summon all teams from their HOVELS onto The Ice. At this point, ALL BETS ARE OFF (literally: please, no more betting; it distracts the referees, many of whom are gambling addicts).


1. The “game” “ends” when only one freezerful of competitors remains on the ice and the penguin chicklets have been reunited successfully with their mothers.

2. The winning team will be heralded champions by all in attendance, profiled favourably in the local media, and invited, probably, to a delicious surf ‘n’ turf dinner courtesy of the Freezer Wars Board of Benevolent Funders (no seconds, no dessert, two Mountain Dew minimum). After that, prepare to fade into obscurity.

3. Seriously. No one will remember you after this moment. Cherish it, for even your own memory, now as glorious and magnificent as a palace crafted from ice, will eventually start to dissolve until it is little more than a sad grey heap of gritty, useless snow, fit only for a dog to urinate upon before it fades to nothing at all.

4. Always remember, the #1 rule of Freezer Wars (notwithstanding the actual #1 rule, re. height, weight and volume restrictions of competitors, nor the #1 “secret” rule of Freezer Wars, which is that the first rule of Freezer Wars is to always talk about Freezer Wars), is to HAVE FUN!

5. Now get out there in your freezers and SHOW NO MERCY, VANQUISH YOUR OPPONENTS, AND KILL, DAMN YOU! KILL! KILL! KILL!

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