TV anchors take load off our mind, not our shovels

January 27, 2000|By KEVIN COWHERD

I DON'T know about you, Baltimore, but I'm walking a little taller today, a little prouder, since the Great Storm of 2000.

Oh, they used to call us Snow Wimps, didn't they?

They said we panicked at the slightest hint of the White Death.

They said we'd rush off to the supermarket and elbow old ladies with oxygen tanks in our mad scramble for bread, milk and toilet paper.

They said we got so freaked out by a little snow on the roads that we all drove like your great-uncle Harry after his cataract operation.

Then this big ol' nor'easter came screaming up the coast the other day and dumped 87 feet of snow on us, and we handled things just fine.

Didn't we, Baltimore?

Sure, we did.

Well, sort of.

OK, fine, we did it in our uniquely Baltimore way: Nobody went outside.

In fact, the streets were so empty, you'd have thought a giant radioactive cloud had descended over the area.

They showed a shot of the Beltway on the news Tuesday evening, and it looked like the opening scene in "The Omega Man," where biological warfare has killed off everyone but Charlton Heston -- in a bad Village People jumpsuit, no less -- and the streets of Los Angeles are eerily deserted.

Even yesterday, a lot of people stayed home, trying to dig their cars out of snowdrifts as high as five-story buildings.

But, hey, whether we chickened out or not, I'll always carry these special memories of the Great Storm of 2000:

Ask me how I made it through those hellish 18 hours of swirling snow and gusting winds. Go ahead, ask me.

I'll tell you how: Vic and Denise. Rod and Marianne. Stan and Marybeth.

The best darn anchors (sniff) a snowbound guy could ever hope for.

(Hoo, boy. You've heard of Stockholm Syndrome? The tendency of captives to form strong bonds with their captors?

(I think I've got it, big-time.)

On the other hand, I've had it up to here -- I'm holding my hand at my chin now -- with TV reporters standing in knee-high snowdrifts to demonstrate how much snow has fallen.

Hey, TV reporters! Instead of getting those nice new boots and designer slacks wet, how 'bout you just get a yardstick and poke it in the snow?

We'll get the idea. Honest.

Doppler radar, Insta-Weather Storm Tracker, Winter Storm Index, Sky-Scan Radar, Current Conditions Map -- I've got the lingo down, Jack.

Now I'm gun- ning for someone's meteorologist job.

This is how bad the storm was: They closed the malls!

When was the last time that happened: the Carter administration?

And look, when there's 27 feet of snow on the ground, doesn't everyone want to jump in the car and go fishtailing down icy streets, just so they can experience the joy of the food court and Hair Cuttery?

Here's another thing I've had enough of: those ubiquitous shots of travelers stranded at closed- down BWI Airport, sprawled on benches and couches trying to get some shut-eye.

I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for these people. I sure don't.

Hey, most of these travelers were said to be headed south for vacations and cruises.

Which means that, at least by yesterday, they were on their way to a warm place with gin-clear waters -- Jamaica, maybe, or the Bahamas or Aruba.

Me, I was bent over a shovel in a frozen driveway in Cockeysville. With my wife opening the storm door every five minutes to tell me I missed a spot.

So pardon me if I don't get all weepy-eyed for these poor travelers who had to spend the day doing shooters in a BWI bar.

A word or two about snow shoveling.

In the past, I have made vicious fun of those bozos who go out and spend big bucks on high-powered snow blowers, only to see these monsters gather cobwebs in the garage as we experience another mild winter.

Then yesterday, I spent two hours digging out my cars with a shovel. A couple of minutes later, I watched the guy down the street fire up his snow blower and dig his cars out in 10 minutes.

God, I hate that guy!

So I will never, ever make fun of anyone with a snow blower again.

At least not this winter.

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