You will need to jiggle the handlePublished 10:24am Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Column: Tales from Exit 22
Have you ever said something and the words came out in the wrong order?
We all have.
Maybe the months of the year came out in the wrong order.
Most weathermen had forecast a nasty winter. That was a swing and a miss. They must have allowed their subscriptions to Tomorrow’s Weather Today magazine to lapse. It was a winter that wasn’t. The sun returned early from Florida. We shouldn’t expect perfection from meteorologists. If they could predict the future, they’d spend their time betting on sporting events. Predicting weather is akin to Yogi Berra reading Chaucer. It doesn’t come out right. The problem might be that the weather doesn’t watch The Weather Channel. Forecasts mean nothing to weather. To the weather, every day is April Fool’s Day.
I think that we have selective hearing when we listen to a weather report. We don’t hear everything. We hear, “Blah, blah, blah, snow. Blah, blah, blah, hot. Blah, blah, blah, raining frogs.” Then we forget the part we did hear.
A person mowing a lush green lawn in March in Minnesota just isn’t right. It means that March has replaced April as the cruelest month. That said, the consensus is that we are sitting in the catbird seat weather-wise. Soon, Texans, Arizonians and Floridians will be wintering in Minnesota.
Do you know how many miles you get per gallon while mowing the grass with a lawn mower running on gas that is the price of gold? When I heard the Beach Boys singing, “She’s real fine, my 409,” I thought it referred to a 409 cubic inch Chevrolet. Little did I know that they were singing about the price of a gallon of gas.
Things might be occurring earlier than during a normal year (if we have normal years), but we shouldn’t expect the 4th of July to arrive in May. Even years with warm Marches get frosts in May. We are known for cold snaps that make convertible car owners proud to drive with the tops up. In 2010, we didn’t get a single snowflake in my yard during the month of March. Nada, zip, zero. It made snowshoeing challenging. It was the least snowiest March in modern history in my hood. The last frost in my yard in 2010 was on May 9.
Every single day is a curious event. We waited for winter, and we got spring instead. Weather is fierce, friendly and fragile — sometimes all at once. A rushed spring brings premature blooms and bugs. The early bug gets the squirm.
There is an average of 1,200 tornadoes that touch down in the United States annually. Last year, we had 1,900 tornadoes. Some people claim that these “weather events” are signs of the pending apocalypse. I don’t believe that. I believe that they are signs of something approaching the apocalypse — property tax notices and income tax filings.
A recent early morning found me toiling at my desk. I felt a need to work long hours because my property taxes had just come in the mail. They had gone up. It didn’t help my mood that I not only got my property taxes, I received those addressed to “Occupant,” too. I paused in my endeavors when I heard the toilet running. It’s always running, but it never gets anywhere. That’s why I call it The Candidate. I groused a bit about having to jiggle the handle.
I shouldn’t grumble about that task. It would be great if everything in life could be remedied by jiggling the handle.
The economy struggling? Jiggle the handle.
Blood pressure a little high? Jiggle the handle.
The car not running properly? Jiggle the handle.
Bad meatloaf? Jiggle the handle.
Don’t like the weather? Jiggle the handle.
An interviewer from one of our fine southern states asked me what an average year in Minnesota is like. I told her I had no idea. She said that she thought I’d spent all my life in Minnesota. I replied that I had, but we’d never had an average year in my lifetime.
My neighbor Crandall, who is one of those crusty curmudgeons who feels the need to comment on everything, especially the things he doesn’t understand, told me, “Half our year is made up of days too miserable to go outside.”
I protested that his statement was untrue.
He countered with, “I withdraw my statement and offer an amended one. Half our year isn’t made up of days too miserable to go outside.”
Crandall needs to jiggle the handle.
Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.