My Irish Up: Snow denial tips

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist 

My mother, who may have been part Eskimo, had a hundred words for snow, most of them beginning with %#$#$ and ending with $*^&%@#! In preparing for winter storms, she taught me the Five Stages of Acceptance:

1. Denial. Mom, who had a lot of practice at it, was better at denial than anyone I ever knew. (“I can’t believe you swallowed a pencil sharpener!” “Why is there a pile of ashes where the dog usually sleeps?” And so on.) But the weather brought out the best in her. “I don’t like the look of those clouds… Just pass on by, pass on by!” she’d mutter, terror rising. “Look! A flake! A snowflake! No! … I TOLD you it was going to snow.” … “Harry, why did I ever marry you and move to this godforsaken place?” … “Four inches already… No, no, no!” … “This can’t be happening again!”

2. Panic! At some point, the breaking point, Mom ran around the house screaming, “Harry, batten down the hatches! Kathy, stuff pillows under the doors! Martha, raise the mizzenmast! Bob, stop slathering mustard on your brother, and then both of you boys break out the shovels!” Everyone within a few blocks got fair warning that Impending Doom was no longer just quietly impending, it was upon us all like a pack of ravening wolves. Suddenly, neighbors comprehended that not only were those people in the house down the street dangerously insane, it might well be time to move to some safer, sunnier place, such as the Gaza Strip.

3. Panic some more! “Fill the bathtubs!” Mom would call. “Bring in more wood for the woodstove! …Well, somebody go buy a woodstove then! Do I have to do EVERYTHING?”

4. Bargaining. “Please God, if you make it stop snowing and just let it be spring right now, I promise to desert this ^&#$*%% family and never travel north of Florida, ever again.”

5. Acceptance. Acceptance was attained by my mother when she crawled into bed under six quilts and moaned softly until spring, or June, whichever came first to — and I quote her here exactly — “these blasted, stinking, blinking, ^#&$^%**^&^% mountains.”

It’s a good thing my mother is gone now, because the combination of her panic during storms and our modern weathermen’s panic before storms even form would have us all over the edge before the first flake fell, and then who would be there to fill the bathtubs? Days before the storm, drooling like Count Dracula over a particularly defenseless, tender throat, Joe Six O’Clock predicts the time and place where colliding air masses will spell doom for everyone within sound of his voice. Then, during the actual storm, Mary Snowbender gives a report from the field as she’s being blown into a nearby snow fence. “Do not venture out into this storm! As you can see, Joe, a flying board has pierced my pancreas. I only regret that I have but one life to give to the Channel Nine On the Spot, 24-Hour Storm Team. Back to you in the studio.” (Dies.)

Winter weather experts say that everyone in the Northeast should prepare a disaster kit, so there will be fewer snow-crazed mothers running around, shouting orders as the storm roars in. Here is a checklist of things Mainers will need this winter if their TVs still work and they find out it’s not too late to prepare for Snow-mageddon XXXVII:

1. Let the animals out to fend for themselves. (This includes fish.)

2. Stock up on batteries, since God forbid your Twitter fails during the storm.

3. Get gas for the chain saw, in case the power goes out and you need a heat source. (Also: spare ear plugs.)

4. Have on hand plenty of blankets, to cover up the bodies of those frozen to death.

5. Prepare flashlights, flares, sparklers, glow sticks, torches, cyanide pills.

6. Tape this article to your bathtub, so you'll know where it is when you need it.

If you are unprepared for the next storm, don’t go crying to Mike. He’ll be in Antigua until April 30.

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