Storming about the weather

By Marla Boone - Contributing columnist

Are you familiar with the phrase “Doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain?” Yeah, me too.

If my friend Rex were here, he would preface the remark with “I don’t mean this bad but…” and then he would proceed to cast aspersions on the brain power of the person being precipitated upon. Rex is a well-practiced aspersions caster. Most of us do not, at least voluntarily, stay out in the rain.

Parents devoted to watching their offspring play football or baseball will sit out in the rain. As someone who was married to a coach for 38 years, I know “huddled masses” applies not only to immigrants but to the dripping fans in the stands. From what I’ve seen of track meets, it’s actually a requirement for the skies to open the minute the starter’s pistol fires and then, just to add a little more discomfort to the whole proceedings, the temperature plummets. I’ll say this about rain during sporting events…it makes you grateful it’s not sleet.

But now, during storm season, there is a population that not only remains out in the worst downpours, they embrace the downpour, right along with their (we hope) electrically grounded microphone. (“Here we are, Weather Beater’s chief meteorologist, standing in a large puddle of water in front of a very angry ocean with enormous waves crashing on our heels, being pummeled by raindrops the size of quarters, reporting live from Impending Hurri— ZZZZZZTTTTT!” and they go off the air as the equipment short-circuits. It is just as well the microphone disappears in a shower of sparks because we can’t understand a word they’re saying. The weather person is unfailingly wearing a rain jacket entirely inadequate for the job. The jacket is flapping wildly in the buffeting winds, drowning out (no pun intended) almost every word. Occasionally a rogue sheet of plywood or an uprooted traffic sign will sail by, its clatter adding to the din. These people are trying, I am sure, to do us non-weather folks a service. They are telling us there is a big storm coming. They are telling us there will be torrential rains and damaging winds. They are telling us to use caution. They are telling us to take shelter. They are telling us to do the exact opposite of what they themselves are doing.

The whole process raises more questions that it answers. Why, exactly, is it necessary for all the weather people to stand out in the rain? Do they think we’ve become so inured to skewed news shows that we won’t actually believe it is raining during a tropical storm? Never forget, for every on-air person (called, in TV lingo, “the talent”) there is some poor behind-the-scenes personnel trying to keep “the talent” in frame while the huge camera on their shoulder is threatening to act like a rudder and turn them right into the wind. Also, why are hurricanes named in alphabetical order? If you’ve ever read the obituaries, you realize people die in alphabetical order but I’m not convinced this should extend to weather phenomena. And lastly, why isn’t a meteorologist someone who studies meteors?

As part of their service to the viewing public, television stations will interrupt any show, any show at all, to give us weather warnings. Some folks react badly to having a show broken into by people trying to save their lives. The viewing public does not want to miss a titillating moment of a soap opera, a golf match, or, heaven forbid “Dancing With The Stars.” Personally, I appreciate these warnings. Remember the Memorial Day tornadoes of a few years back? The sirens were screaming, the weather map was turning mostly magenta, and the sky was turning that very ominous shade of yellowish-green which was the last thing Dorothy saw before she got conked on the head. On that day, I looked around at the home I had just purchased and arrived at the horrible realization that for the first time in my life I was living in a house without a basement. And I’m almost sure the insurance does not cover crushing injuries to wicked witches.

By Marla Boone

Contributing columnist

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for Miami Valley Today

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for Miami Valley Today