SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

            “Tragedy in Churubusco when three residents went on a walk to show off their spring clothes during the warm up this morning, and were later found frozen to death. Their bodies were originally scheduled to be cremated, but couldn’t be thawed fast enough.”

            This is why writers should live in Indiana; that kind of stuff just writes itself.

            Oh, I know, I’ve talked a lot about the weather this year. It’s only April—whatever will my columns be about in July? Heat, I’m guessing. But we came close this spring to actually having that snow tornado I used to joke about, so if you’re interested in weather at all, it’s been an interesting year.

            “Mental health officials are seeing a sudden spike in emotional breakdowns after people went out last week to mow their lawns, only to find two inches of snow on the ground.”

            You don’t even have to make it up: That actually happened to me last week, except that I went to the door to bring the dog in. His frostbite/heat exhaustion is healing nicely, by the way.

            It’s one of the few times I actually dropped the F-bomb in public. I opened the door that morning and stood there for a moment, honestly puzzled about why everything outside had a strange white coloring to it. Then the dog came storming in as if a snow tornado was chasing him, and he was covered in white. He shook himself, and a winter storm developed in my kitchen.

            Then I looked outside and said, “What the fudge?!?!”

            Only, to quote writer Jean Shepherd, I didn’t say fudge.

            The neighbors have teenagers, but since it was early morning I’m hopeful they didn’t hear me. If they did, they probably thought something like, “Hey, they had that word when he was a kid!” Then I’d yell “Get off my lawn!” and it would be downhill from there.

            Anyway, this is Indiana. Worse, this is northern Indiana, within the range of lake effect snow while too far away to actually play in the waves, assuming the waves haven’t frozen themselves into some Salvador Dali shape.

            (Yes, I’m a small town Midwestern boy who actually knows who Salvador Dali is. Okay, I looked him up. What’s with the melting clocks? Is it August?)

            Sorry if this column seems a little disjointed: There have been so many barometric pressure changes this month that my sinuses exploded, and I’ve been off balance ever since. Which brings me back to my point: We’re used to big weather extremes, to such an extent that many people actually say “I wish it would just stay cold, instead of going up and down like this.” That’s a concept we pay for in January, when the missing Polar ice cap often lingers in the fields just outside of Huntertown.

            By the way, Huntertown wasn’t named after my family. It actually stems from the Indian world “Hunyukcoldon”, which means “The snow’s melting, grab your sandbags”.

            Anyway …

            What brought all this up was last week, when it hit the mid 70’s here in Albion. Then thunderstorms came through. Then the next day I walked out on the front porch and not only was everything covered in snow, but it felt and even smelled like winter. The next night we reached a record cold temperature. The day after that it hit 60.

            The day after that I boarded up all my doors and windows, and set fire to my boots.

            Is it any wonder everyone’s talking about the weather? I mean, except the Weather Channel. I had it on at work for eight hours the other night, and every time I glanced up I saw … no weather. Only a scroll across the bottom of the screen explaining that the weather for the next hour would be delayed by a very special episode of “Extreme Ice Road Air Rescue Fishing With The Stars”.

In their defense, thanks to The Weather Channel, I now know a great deal about tow truck drivers, steel construction workers, the Coast Guard, and Mars. Still, I can’t help thinking a name change is in order.

            But who can blame them? Reality programming gives them a chance to sit back, take a breath, and try to figure out what the fudge is going on in Indiana.

.

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