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Whittling Away: Weather

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By Dick Brooks

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

I’ve decided that when I grow up, I’ll become a weatherman. 

I’ve got a lot of experience dealing with weather and as I get older, I find that I’m getting better and better at predicting what the atmospheric conditions will be for the day ahead. 

Maybe the decision is based partly on the fact that I pay closer attention to the weather segment of the television news programs that I watch daily than to the news. I store little facts that are new to me in what passes for my memory. 

Recently I learned about the polar vortex, a spinning cloud of ice cubes that usually has the decency to stay up around the North Pole where people expect to be cold, that decided to come down to our area for a bone-chilling visit. It finally decided to go back home and we had a few days above the average temperature for this time of year.

I wrote the National Weather Bureau and suggested that since the weather was running hot and cold, they should change the polar vortex’s name to the “bipolar vortex.” I haven’t heard back from them yet. 

I also suggested that putting a window in the room where they do their predicting might help with their accuracy.

I’d be more accurate than most of the current weathermen and weatherwomen because I have a dog. If you really want to keep up with the up-to-the-minute weather, get a dog. Telly, my canine companion, sees to it that I am kept current on the weather conditions. Neither sleet nor rain nor snow, the dark of night or even hurricanes, keeps him from his appointed rounds. Maybe every weatherman should be given a weather dog. 

I realize there are things I’ll have to practice before I can become an official weatherman. I’ll need to brush up on the vocabulary needed and learn how to predict something without making any commitments to reality. Phrases like “partly cloudy” and “chance of precipitation” sound good and can fit almost any weather situation, and yet not pin you down to an actual prediction of what the weather is really going to be like. 

I’ll bet that a weatherman or weatherwoman who has been using weather vague-speak for years could easily get a second career after they retire, as a politician. I imagine the pay is pretty good and you get to be on the radio or on television, which could be fun, and you can be wrong most of the time and still not worry about your job security. Most of the time you work indoors and don’t have to worry about being out in the weather you’re predicting.

I have the added advantage of being older, so my whole body has become a barometer. My knees can tell when there’s a sneaky low-pressure area creeping up on us that doesn’t even show up on Doppler radar. Ice, not being senior-friendly, is something I can spot from a long way off and I’m aware of all the atmospheric conditions that might cause that ice to occur.

Yep, I’d make the perfect weatherman — I’m old, I own a dog and I spent 20 years in politics.  Watch for me on your local newscast.

Thought for week — We’ve had enough “youth.” How about a fountain of “smart?”

  Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

  Reach columnist Dick Brooaks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.

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