Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Sky is Not Falling

I've added a French Toast Alert Level gadget to this blog so those of you in the Boston area will know when you should panic.

I saw this over at Violins and Starships and I'm kind of ashamed I didn't spot it first. The tendency of otherwise rational folks to stock up on bread, eggs, and milk before a predicted storm has been a goofy phenomenon I've been watching for three decades. Here in the Boston area we have a permanent spot in our memory labeled “The Blizzard of '78.” It was a huge storm that took almost everyone by surprise. Only one of the weather guys, Harvey Leonard, said that it might happen, but even he thought it unlikely. We got socked with more than two feet of snow. The wind blew at hurricane speeds, with gusts over 100 miles an hour. Drifts were several feet high. In some ways it was terrible. Power lines came down. Roads were impassible for days. People were trapped in their cars on the highway. Some even died. For most of us it was several days off from work and school, a bit of an adventure, and for us kids a lot of fun. My family walked through the snow to the grocery store and yes, they were out of bread and milk. It seems that a lot of people were traumatized by that. My folks bought powdered milk, walked back home, and made pancakes. I love pancakes.

Here are a few things I would like to say to my fellow New Englanders:

1. You are in New England. It is winter. It will snow. You know this.

2. It's just snow – the sky is not falling. You know this.

3. If you hear it is going to snow, don't panic. Yes, if it is bad enough the store may run out of a few things. You have some things in your pantry. There are substitutes for your usual sources of grain, dairy, and protein. You'll make do. You're a yankee dammit! Show some of that ingenuity and flintiness you're supposed to possess.

4. No, just because there are a few inches of snow on the ground doesn't mean that you don't have to go into work. You're a grown-up now, get over it.

5. On the other hand, there is snow on the ground, respect it, and don't drive like an idiot.

6. If you have a sidewalk in front of your house, shovel it, scrape it, and salt it. If you don't, you are a jerk.

7. And if you do shovel but you shovel the snow into the street where it will freeze and be a hazard for drivers, you are still a jerk.

If you are one of those people who ran to the store last week to load up on gallons of milk, cartons of eggs, and loaves of bread, then go back to the store, buy some real maple syrup (try to find something made locally while you're at it, your neighbor sugar farmer will thank you) go home, and make a lot of french toast. Then invite me over. I like french toast too.

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