Sunday, February 12, 2012

Re-run Sunday: All snowmen are abominable

I've only had to shovel twice this year. There were days in February 2010 when I shoveled twice before noon. The month set all kinds of snow records and still scars my mind. Yet I survived it. Today, in homage to that fierce foe, I rerun this piece written in the teeth of the worst winter I can remember.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful and I can’t keep the Christmas ditties from sleigh riding ‘round and ‘round inside my head.

At Christmas we all sang “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” How come “Make it Stop! Make it Stop! Make it Stop!” doesn’t work half as well?

We’ve already had our White Christmas, our White New Year’s, and our White Groundhog’s Day.

For heaven’s sake, we even had a White Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And how did Al Sharpton miss the chance to protest that racial switcherroo?

I’ve heard the Eskimos have 25 different words to describe snow. I have at least that many and all of mine start with a word that sounds like “firetruck.”

The man who said no two snowflakes look exactly alike never shoveled my driveway. Let me tell you, every single firetruckin’ snowflake looks exactly alike.

I’ve spent two to three hours each day for the past two weeks walking in a winter wonderland. We’re about to set a record for total snowfall in February and we still have 12 days left in the shortest month.

I asked a fellow sufferer how we’re supposed to celebrate breaking such a record. He looked at me with what combat veterans describe as the 1,000 mile stare and said, “You just keep shoveling.”

Really, there are times when I pause, lean on my shovel and pray my heart slows to a gallop. I look around through great gusts of frozen breath. Nearly three feet of snow is a marvelous sight to behold.

But so is about anything on my 52-inch hi-def TV. If I could choose, I’d take the TV.

We live half way up a mountain in what is familiar to local weather viewers as the Laurel Highlands. It’s about an hour east of Pittsburgh. It’s the place weatherman always say is “getting really hammered with twice that amount” after they say Pittsburgh’s getting a school-closing eight inches of snow.

I hear that and conclude weather school curriculum must be too severe to allow for decent parties.

Because I spend a lot of time thinking about getting really hammered and this ain’t it. I’d love to break the tedium of constant shoveling with one of those lost weekends I vaguely remember from my days at Ohio University where the weekends used to run from Thursdays to Mondays.

But that’s not going to happen. The forecast calls for more snows and sobriety.

Schools have been closed for seven of the past nine days. The kids are sick of me and the ways I try and cheat to win at things like Jenga.

I look in the mirror and staring back I see Jack Torrance from “The Shining.” He’s been sober since the snows began to fall. His cabin fever is acute. He keeps writing the same disturbing drivel over and over and over.

The literary parallels alone are frightening.

If Scatman Carothers shows up at my door, he’d better watch out.

I told the 55-pound daughter that she could jump up and down on my aching back. She began to do so with glee and continued right up until Mommy told her that she wasn’t inflicting pain, she was relieving it.

That’s the instant she stopped.

My instinct was to drag myself off the floor and drive straight to the bar for sudsy camaraderie. But it seemed foolish to risk winding up in a ditch just to break the monotony with some beers and buddies.

So I just stayed in and challenged the girls to beat me at Jenga.

Besides, baby, it’s cold outside.

No comments: