The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

January 17, 2012

How to Panic in the Snow

Filed under: weather — Brian Lutz @ 5:42 pm

There’s no getting away from it now, at least not unless you’ve got travel plans already and happen to be able to get to the airport sometime in, oh, about the next 20 minutes or so.  That’s right, there’s snow on the way, and plenty of it (or a moderate quantity of it depending on where exactly you happen to be, but that’s just nitpicking anyway.)  A Winter Wonderland of Doom awaits all who dare to venture out into the elements.  While it’s true that reasonable precautions and preparation now can save you from serious trouble later, who’s got time for that?   Sure, the warnings have been out there for days now, but why bother being prudent and taking reasonable precautions when you can just put everything off to the last minute?  Besides, under certain circumstances, I hear that panicking can be quite rewarding.

That’s not to say that you should just go out and run around in circles screaming with your hands up in the air.  Sure, it’s a pretty standard method of panicking, but ultimately it doesn’t really accomplish much, and it mostly just makes you look silly.  You see, in order to panic properly, you need to combine the usual irrational with rash decisions and counterproductive overreactions.  There’s a fine art to proper weather-related panic, and with these handy tips, you can be panicking like a pro in no time.

    • Start by cleaning out a supermarket or two.  Any experienced worrywart knows that the first thing you do when it looks like there might be snow on the way is to head for the nearest supermarket and go clean out the canned goods aisle, but anyone can do that.  In order to do it right, you can’t just go in with a shopping list like you’re making your weekly grocery run, you’ve got to rush in at the first sign of peril and fill a cart up with the first thing you see on the shelves.  Sure, that tends to mean you’re going to end up with a year’s supply of canned garbanzo beans and 12 boxes of Corrugated Fiber Crunchies (The world’s first 100% recycled breakfast cereal!) which doesn’t sound like much fun, especially when compared with the sumptuous looking boxes of Macaroni and Cheese  right next to it on the shelf, but remember, this is a crisis, and you’re not panicking properly unless you treat it like it’s a crisis.  Besides, you can always go download a few thousand recipes for canned garbanzo beans off the Internet, right?  Oh, and be sure to keep some of the stuff in the car, you never know when you might find yourself needing to live in there for a while…
    • Don’t forget the essentials.  Even after you’ve cleaned out the nearest canned goods aisle, you’re going to need some other stuff to survive.  For example, you might want to consider having some firewood around, just in case.  Sure, you may happen to live in an apartment with no fireplace, but if you’re going to make it through this crisis you can’t let little details like that (or other insignificant trivialities like the terms of your apartment lease) deter you.  After all, the last thing you want to find yourself having to do is to burn up your supply of Corrugated Fiber Crunchies to stay warm, right?  (Then again, after you actually try the things, you might find yourself looking for a convenient excuse to do so…)  Oh, and according to some very reliable sources I’ve found on the Internet, just hours before a potentially threatening snowstorm is supposed to be a great time to go out and buy yourself a team of sled dogs.  If you buy them from the right place, I hear they’ll even throw in a handy instructional DVD, so all you need to do is get the dogs to watch it so they know what to do, and you’ll be ready for anything.
    • Batten Down the Hatches.  Obviously the best way to keep yourself out of trouble is to stay away from it in the first place, and there’s no place to do that than in the comfort of your own home.  Sure it might be a little crowded in there now that you’ve filled the place with canned garbanzo beans, firewood and quite possibly even a pack of soon to be dangerously bored and undertrained sled dogs, but at least this way you won’t have to be out in the snow.  If you want to be extra careful you might even board up the windows and shove a dresser or two in front of the door.  Sure, you won’t be able to tell that is’s snowing outside, but isn’t that what Facebook and Twitter are for?
    • Go out for a nice drive.  Over the years, the denizens of the Pacific Northwest have become famous worldwide for their Winter driving prowess, and Northwest drivers in the snow have been the subject of many popular viral videos.  Sure, common sense tells you that you don’t want to go out driving in the snow if you don’t really have to, but why pass up what may be your only chance at Internet-wide fortune and fame?  (Well OK, maybe not the fortune part, unless you count your car insurance bills afterward.)  Sure, you may find yourself trying unsuccessfully to climb a 45-degree slope in an old beater Honda to get back to your house, sliding back to the bottom and hitting 2 or 3 Bimmers on the way back down, but remember, anything that is worth having is going to be difficult, and driving home in the middle of a snowstorm is no exception.  Then again, if it all gets to be too much for you to handle, you can always just ditch the car, walk home and go retreive it after the Spring thaw.  Sure, some people might have some issues with this (especially if you happen to do it right in the middle of the freeway) but when we’re in the middle of a weather-related crisis sometimes we must all make sacrifices.
    • When all else fails… Run away.  I hear Florida is lovely (or at least has a lot less crummy weather) around this time of year.  Granted, that leaves the problem of finding flights that don’t cost a small fortune and haven’t been delayed to next Thursday due to the weather, and then getting to the airport when there’s an inch of ice on the roads (as well as potentially a car you recently abandoned sitting in the middle of the freeway,) but that’s just a minor detail.  Maybe this would be a good time to try out those sled dogs, assuming you remembered to buy a dogsled to go along with them.  Um… you DID remember to buy a dogsled, right?


Anyway, with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a full-fledged Seattle snow panicker.  Now stay safe out there, and if you’d be so kind, try to leave some pasta on the shelf at the supermarket, I haven’t made it over there yet…

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