The Weatherman

I was watching the local weather forecast on TV last evening. The guy in front of the green screen had to be 14, maybe 22. Alright, he was probably 30. But I’m old and have a skewed perception of age recognition.

I know this is not an uncommon phenomenon. Growing up, my Dad would talk about some of the people he worked with at the foundry. He referred to a particular individual as a “boy”. As in, “The boy who runs the machine shop.” Two weeks later Dad would introduce me to this “boy” and he was actually a grown man with a wife and two kids. As you get older, they all look younger.

Anyway. This boy on TV talked so fast that my head turned like a top trying to keep up with him. He danced to the right and thought he was pointing to Columbus. In actuality, he was pointing to Dallas, TX. He then sashayed to the left and waved at the temperatures displayed across the state. By the time he was done and all 25 screens had passed by behind him, I wasn’t sure if a cold front was breathing down our neck or why we needed to know that it’s going to be 27° in Freeport, MA by next week.

All I really wanted to know is if it might rain tomorrow. How much? And will the sun come out after lunch.

He is called a Meteorologist. I happen to think he’s a weatherman. But the title implies more.

He does this song and dance 3 times in a 30 minute news show. And the local folks have decided that we need them to run this show 3 times back to back between 5:00 and 6:30 every evening. And God forbid that we have a storm brewing anywhere between here and China. This boy and the Storm Tracker Team will interrupt the World Series every 15 minutes just to make sure I’m aware that thunderstorms can carry high winds that’ll rip the roof off the tool shed in the back yard.

“Please be sure to keep your pets indoors tonight.”

The most annoying thing about the modern-day weatherman is the profundity of common sense advice. He tells me how I should dress and how I should drive and how much SPF 400 to rub on and when I should get out my umbrella and what puppy I should adopt. He expresses this with great personal concern for my well-being; as if, without his help, I would wonder off into the world in a pitiful stupor, get in my truck and drive like a madman on slick roads on my way to the beach to get a 3rd degree sunburn.

As the driver said to Miss Daisy, “I am a grown man.”

I do not need a weatherman to tell me to put on a jacket. I’ve been going outside in all kinds of weather for over 60 years. I haven’t flubbed it so badly that I couldn’t make a decision about how to dress myself.

The first thing I do each morning, well not actually the first thing, is walk out on the kitchen porch. From there I can tell if it’s wet outside. Are the stars out? If it’s cold, I can gauge that through my toes on the porch floor. On that basis I make decisions about what to wear for the day. It’s pretty much a fail-proof system.

Besides, it’s that time of year when the day can start at 46°and end up at 76°. I dress in layers and peel them off as the day goes on. It can also start at 70° and drop to 42° by 3:00. Fortunately, all the layers I peel off usually end up on the back seat of my truck and never make it back to my closet until April. I have a rolling wardrobe to chose from if I need it, or if the weatherman gets it all wrong. Which never happens.

You know what I miss? Or, maybe, who I miss? I miss Guy Sharpe. Guy Sharpe was the weatherman on a couple different stations out of Atlanta for my entire growing up life. He didn’t have a green screen. Guy had a big, fat, bold black marker and a real map on a wall that he could touch. If he pointed at Atlanta, by granny he pointed at Atlanta.

He could draw a cold front by hand on live TV that would make you want to go the closet and get your jacket out. He drew his own Cumulus clouds over north Georgia. Raindrops falling on Macon. His Sun had a smile over my hometown of Hampton.

Tomorrow’s high will be 78°
Barometric pressure: 14.62 and rising
Winds 8-10 mph out of the SE
Make up your own mind how to dress.

If he said it was going to be foggy in the morning, he never said to drive with your lights on. He assumed we had more sense than God gave a gnat. He gave us the forecast and let us decide what to do with it. He had a full head of white hair and a voice that garnered him more respect than Moses.

These young boys in front of the green screen could learn a little something from Guy. Just give me the raw data. Don’t pretend you know what the weather is going to be like 10 days from now. You’re probably wrong about tomorrow. And for goodness sakes, practice your pointing.

Just a couple last observations. Every few months there’s a new weatherman on the local station. I wonder where they all go. Maybe to Freeport, MA? And by the way, it’s going to be 46° in the morning. Be sure to wear your jacket.

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