Chill out, they said - so what do I do now with this snow blower?


January 19, 1995|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Staff Writer

As a boy, I was taught not to laugh at the misfortune of others or to say an unkind word about people who do silly things, people who over-react to situations, people like . . . well, like you, for instance.

Oh, you had it all figured out, didn't you?

Last winter's ice and snow freaked you out, and you vowed not to be caught unprepared this winter.

So you went out and bought a snow blower and snow shovels and ice-melting compound by the pallet.

You bought a rugged, down-blend parka and nylon-shell bib pants and thick, insulated boots.

You bought a $22,000 4-wheel-drive vehicle from a small man with thinning hair and a loud tangerine sports jacket at Bob Bonney's Nissan-Jeep-Eagle-We-Got-Any-Car-You-Want, and when he said, "You gonna put a snowplow on this baby?" you felt a frisson of pleasure run through you and answered: "Count on it, friend."

And what happened?

I'll tell you what happened.

Nothing happened. Nada, zip, zero.

We didn't get ice. We didn't get snow. The weather's been great: a very mild winter. And now you feel foolish. Only it's more than foolish, isn't it? You feel . . . well, used is probably the word we're looking for.

But, winter isn't over yet, is it?

So every morning you slap on your goofy Elmer Fudd hat and woolen scarf and over-sized St. John's Bay parka and waddle outside to see if it's snowing yet.

Ha, ha, ha, ha . . . sorry. It's just that when I picture you standing on your front lawn amid those plastic pink flamingos, with your earnest little face raised to the heavens as you whine: "Where's the sn-o-w-w?" I just . . . well, I just lose it.

As a boy, I was taught never to feel superior to others and to react with equanimity to even the most ill-conceived line of thinking.

So there will be no second-guessing you people here, no Monday morning quarterbacking about how you over-reacted by buying all that bad-weather gear, except to say what in God's name were you thinking?

Let's face it, it doesn't even feel like winter! There was a stretch of four days recently when the highs were 55, 71, 66 and 55 degrees.

People were walking around in shorts and T-shirts! People were walking around in thongs! OK, that's not true. But they could have walked around in thongs, if they wanted to.

Meanwhile, what were you doing, Mr. or Ms. Bring-On-Winter-I'm-Ready? Gunning your new snow blower in the garage?

How much did you pay for that bad boy, anyway? Eight hundred bucks? Hey, hey, why so gloomy? I'm sure you'll get to use it once or twice before spring comes, ha, ha, ha.

Actually, it isn't hard to see why so many people panicked about this winter. In this town, all you have to do is mention snow and we're all fish-tailing the car down to the Giant for bread, milk and toilet paper.

So we're paranoid about snow to begin with and then you read something like The Old Farmer's Almanac, which, and I'm sort of paraphrasing here, called for a cold November in the Mid-Atlantic region with twice the normal snowfall and a cold and snowy late December.

I don't know about you, but that makes them 0-for-2 in my book. So I called The Old Farmer's Almanac offices in Dublin, N.H., just to rub it in. A very pleasant-sounding woman picked up the phone. All I said was "Ha, ha, ha" and then there was this long pause and she said: "Hello? Dave's Parts and Supplies."

It turned out to be an auto parts store, not the Farmer's Almanac. But the woman was nice. She said people call there all the time thinking it's the Farmer's Almanac, because the phone numbers are similar.

I said, "Is that right?" and she said, "Yes, indeedy," and I said, "Say, do you know anything about a manifold on an '87 Subaru station wagon?" and she said, "No, but my husband Dave does, only he's at lunch now. Why don't you call back?"

Anyway, the Old Farmer's Almanac was bad enough, scaring people half to death, and then there was the the Hagers-town Town and Country Almanack, which called for a cold winter with 51 inches of snow.

Fifty-one inches! I'm surprised they didn't run a headline saying: "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" in the same subdued type size that once announced: "ALLIES INVADE NORMANDY!"

But maybe they did. Maybe I just missed it.

As a boy, I was taught to be generous of spirit and I am trying to be that way now, believe me.

It's just that snow wimps, boy, they really burn my bacon.

Please. Don't get me started.

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