It’s been unseasonably warm lately even though it’s technically still winter and therefore should be seasonably cold. It’s also been pretty rainy. The weather is something I talk about with almost every person I run into, at least after the shock and the accusations and the exchange of insurance information, but that’s another story. It occurred to me that the weather is such a popular topic for conversation because it’s something we all live with and something most of us can agree on, unless you go to a meteorologists’ conference and there will be at least a dozen fistfights over whether cumulus or cirrus clouds are better.
Whenever we get rain, and especially when we get a lot of rain, in the middle of the winter someone will inevitably say, imagine if this were all snow. And I always wonder why we never seem to get as much snow as we get rain–that is, we’ll get two or three inches of rain at a time and according to at least one reasonably scientific-sounding site one inch of rain equals approximately ten inches of snow. Maybe it’s a good thing we don’t get that much snow here in Tennessee where I am. Here’s a helpful guide to what happens when it does snow:
1 inch or less: Wild, disorganized rioting in groceries begins. Children are automatically released from school because snow’s mysterious beguiling properties will keep them from learning anything as long as it’s coming down.
1-3 inches: Grocery stores set up special barricades to prevent looting. Checkout-people are issued handguns. This is the only time that the “ten items or less” rule in the Express Lane is enforced.
3-6 inches: Cars entering the state are stopped. Any with license plates farther north than Kentucky are refused entrance for fear that drivers with experience driving in snow will interfere with locals intent on causing as many wrecks as possible. Children who have been given sleds by Yankee relatives test their reaction time by careening around assorted wreckage and gasoline fires.
6-9 inches: Salt trucks are fired up and used by public officials as escape vehicles. As snow levels reach the upper limit, the emergency broadcast system is used to inform people that “all hell is about to break loose.”
Over 9 inches: The mayor will declare martial law from a hotel room in Florida.
And in the words of the southern Roman scholar Cletus, “Permittet ningitere!”