'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
WEATHER FORECASTS CAUSE FRUSTRATION
I hate to complain, but there are certain people who really bug me: TV weathermen. I’m not the only one who’s annoyed. Some people get angry when the weatherman offers a big million-dollar smile (actual cost of orthodontia and caps: $120,000) and says, “And tomorrow will be a perfect day for your family picnic,” but neglects to add, “…if you are a family of ducks.”
So, unsuspecting viewers schedule a big family reunion at the state park, but the day is ruined when Aunt Mabel gets washed away in a flash flood, and the lively game of “rain volleyball” has to be suspended so everyone can help the rescue workers locate her body before nightfall. (“Darn! We were winning 14 to 10 and serving for the match!”)
Tragic situations like the “Aunt Mabel incident” cause some people to blame the weatherman. (By the way, Aunt Mabel was finally located three states away, and other than being a little soggy, she was in fine health. Everyone knew she’d be OK when she continued making snide comments about Cousin Gertrude’s potato salad. “I swear, that girl wouldn’t know the difference between paprika and a pap test.”)
I never get angry at the weathermen when their forecasts are incorrect. I realize trying to predict the weather is about as difficult as, well, trying to predict the weather. And despite all their fancy computers and satellites, and the fact they describe themselves as “meteorologists” (from the Latin meteor, meaning “flip,” and ologist, meaning “a coin”), what these guys do for a living is not science. Which explains why they each have in their dressing rooms a shrine containing many candles, chicken entrails, and a graven image of Willard Scott, in front of which they kneel before every broadcast and pray for inspiration from the weather gods.
No, I don’t mind that the weathermen are so often wrong. What gets me peeved is the weathermen’s attitude. They speak with an air of certainty (“So put away those umbrellas and give Aunt Mabel a call because tomorrow is guaranteed to be gorgeous!”) about things which are simply unknowable. Imagine if the sports guy said, “So bet the mortgage on Green Bay this weekend because the Packers are guaranteed to crush the Redskins!” (Which would be quite a feat because the Packers aren’t even playing the Redskins this weekend.) Or if the news anchor said, “So leave the house a little earlier on Monday morning because I guarantee there will be a three-car pileup on the eastbound side of I-84.”
However, that annoying air of certainty is nothing compared to the weathermen’s worst attitude problem: taking credit for the weather! Yes, I know you’ve seen it happen. The cute little news anchor turns toward the weatherman, offers a big million-dollar smile (actual cost of orthodontia, caps, plastic surgery, breast implants, liposuction, Botox, tanning salon, and hair treatments: 4 million dollars), and says, “It was beautiful outside today. Thank you, Jason!” And Jason, instead of replying, “Hey, I just report the weather, I don’t make the weather!” actually smiles back and says, “You’re welcome, Melissa.”
Can you believe it? He says, “You’re welcome,” as if he personally pushed all the rain clouds out to sea. Ugh! That drives me nuts. On the flip side, whenever there is nasty weather, say, a blizzard or tornado or Aunt Mabel was last seen being swept into a storm drain, Melissa turns with her frowny face (hard to do with all that Botox) and scolds Jason, “How could you let the West Piddlyville Apple Harvest Festival get washed out?” Jason hangs his head and says, “I’m sorry.”
Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with it anymore. I have my own weather-forecasting system which is just as accurate as Jason. It’s called my living room window. I look out the window and if it’s raining I grab an umbrella. If it’s snowing I put on my boots. What a concept.
Right now, my living room window says it’s going to be sunny all afternoon. You’re welcome.
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