by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
January 7, 2010
HELP! HELP! I'M REALLY CHILLY!
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The television weather people are turning us into sissies. They're doing everything they can to force us all into our homes, where we'll be found dead after the Spring thaw, huddled together in frozen heaps.
Don't believe me? Watch your morning news next week and see how dramatic the weather reporters sound, especially when there's anything heavier than a snow flurry. They'll stand on the city streets in the "dangerous cold" (10 ºF), telling people why they should stay inside.
We used to go out and play in 10 ºF weather. It was double-digit temperatures, so we were okay. Now, they're telling people how to avoid frostbite during the short walk from the parking lot to the office.
Just three weeks ago, my oldest daughter and I were watching the morning news on our local Fox affiliate as I was getting ready to take her to school. All the anchors were using their Very Serious Voices, warning us about the bitterly cold winds, the dangerously low temperatures, and the winter storms of biblical proportion that were looming over the city. Drivers leaving the city were told not to look in their rearview mirrors, lest they turn into pillars of salt.
When we stepped outside, I expected to be whipped around by heavy winds and blinded by snow.
It was sunny, in the mid-30s, and a stiff breeze messed up my hair and made me zip up my windbreaker. On the way home, I drove through a snow squall two miles wide, and I was back in the sunshine.
So much for dangerous weather.
Every tv station's weather promo carries this underlying message: "Weather is scary and dangerous, and it will eat your children. Only our news station can give you the most up-to-date weather and road conditions.
"If you watch the other guys, you will probably freeze, suffocate, or die in a fiery crash of twisted metal and Titanic-sized snow drifts."
But Indiana isn't the only place the tv news is trying to scare the bejeezus out of their viewers.
Fox affiliate Ch. 11 in Green Bay, Wisc., has begun naming the winter storms. Once limited to only killer hurricanes, Ch. 11 is naming the winter storms to drum up more viewers.
I can't be sure who came up with the moronic idea of naming a winter storm, but I'm astonished that it's Wisconsin trying to create this panic. To hear most Cheeseheads tell it, an Indiana winter storm is just a minor inconvenience. A mere dusting of snow and a few cold gusts of wind.
Or as they call it, August.
But Ch. 11 has come up with a list of storm names to use whenever there's more than two inches of snow on the ground. They're already up to ChlÖe, and it's only the first month of winter. But the entire list only goes up through Nathan, so they don't seem to think their fear mongering, er, I mean, list will be used up before Spring.
Now, I realize we don't get horrible storms here in Indiana like they do in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but I also know that we get some pretty hard weather. We'll get a few inches of snow, and people will drive like idiots for the first couple of days. But then everyone gets their sea legs back, and we're fine again. We're used to this kind of weather.
That's because anyone who's my age or older remembers the Blizzard of '78, when schools and businesses were closed for a week. I remember my dad putting on his cross-country skis and skiing to the store for some groceries.
See, here in Indiana, we're made of sterner stuff than Wisconsin. We just name the more memorable storms after they happen, not before. The last time the weather worried any of us was 32 years ago.
Maybe Wisconsin's getting soft. Maybe the Upper Midwest is losing it, and are turning into a bunch of sissified weather-whiners who would rather fly away to warm, sunny Florida every year until April.
Not us Hoosiers, nosiree. We'll stick it out here. We won't name our storms or huddle in fear. We'll ignore our tv newspeople and their feeble attempts at fear mongering, and we'll just fight our way through winter like we always do, heads down and eyes squinting into the wind.
After a while, the temperatures will warm up, and we'll all be fine again. At least until Spring Shower Rachel rolls across Central Indiana.
That's when we'll panic.
Erik Deckers also publishes humor articles at Laughing Stalk blog.