Given the recent bout of nastiness weather-wise lately, I felt it was time to address the inanity that is weather related news reporting. I absolutely LOVE watching the reporters out in the bitter cold, particularly those unused to dealing with this sort of thing. From the rather hapless guy reporting an inch of snow in Atlanta to the earnest, parka wearing tootsie shivering in New York, these people can make my day with a single sound bite.
The morning hostess on CNN made my Thursday when she reported, with particular emphasis, that Atlanta was experiencing its coldest temperatures in nearly a quarter of a DECADE! I wonder if there is anyone living that can remember back that far? She did, quite frantically, try to correct herself after the commercial break. This was actually funnier than the original gaffe. She forgot the golden rule of broadcasting, if you screw up, keep going like nothing ever happened. I know this from personal experience, as I once dropped the F bomb into a live mic at the small town AM radio station where I was working and continued on my merry way with a chirpy "And now for a final look at the weather..."
The goofball reporter telling us about the snow and ice in the south seemed oblivious to the rapidly growing pileup going on behind him. In the thirty or so seconds it took for him to do his bit, a car slid through the intersection behind him and bounced to a stop after hitting a light pole. A second or two later, a second, third and fourth car got into the act. After a slight pause in the action, with the reporter still plowing through his bit about the icy road conditions, three more cars enter the fray. It was a bit like watching lemmings go over a cliff.
The aforementioned parka clad tootsie was barely coherent through the shivers and chattering teeth, but nearly as entertaining. With the wind buffeting her from all sides, the faux fur of her hood sticking to the copious amount of lip gloss on her mouth, she determinedly told us all how brutally cold the single digits can be. Interestingly, her hair never moved, not a one.
Then I switched to my local news. Reporters in the hinterlands grew up with this sort of crap, they spent their youth shoveling out the driveway and pushing cars out of snowbanks. These guys and gals don't screw around with sissy fur-lined pseudo winter gear. They wear Carharts as part of their regular wardrobe, Uggs are scorned in favor of Sorels and the cute little useless berets that sit perkily on flawlessly coiffed hair are shunned, in their place is a heavy duty, real fur lined plaid Floyd R. Turbo (read bomber) hat. Appearance is nothing, these people are hardy. These reporters don't stand by the side of the road while the plows go by, they're driving the plow, one handed with the mic between their legs.
We all watch the weather reports while readying for the day, resigned to starting the car a half an hour before leaving the house, making sure the children are dressed in layers like Randy in "A Christmas Story", and praying they've gone to the bathroom after breakfast. We pay close attention to the forecast, take note of what's to come and then remember that they don't know what the hell they're talking about anyway.