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In My Opinion


Why are we such weather wimps?

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

It’s just embarrassing, is what it is. It makes us look so bush league.

Big deal. It got cold. It gets cold every winter.

Every big storm nowadays gets some thunderous name, like it’s a new menu item at Burger King. We called this week’s cold snap polar-vortex-ageddon. Up north, they just call it “Tuesday.”

We delayed the start of school because it got cold? Back in my day, school was held inside.

We spread brine on the bridges even though there was no ice? That’s like washing clean clothes.

Our weather-wimpage factor must be one of the highest in the nation. We overdo it every time. Even without a flake of snow, we cower like there’s a “whoops” at the nuclear plant.

Did I hear Paul Cameron suggest on the late news that you should consider bringing your battery inside so it wouldn’t freeze? At least that idea feeds the news cycle.

“Our top story: Scores of people were found frozen in their driveways early today, apparently after trying to monkey with their car batteries. On the plus side, their loss increased the region’s average IQ by three points.”

Winter is why we can never win bragging contests with Northerners.

Carolina: “We have a skilled workforce, low taxes, excellent universities, an NFL team in the playoffs and Bruton Smith.”

New Jersey: “When it’s 8 degrees outside, we put mittens on our little ones and march them off to school. On time. Unlike youse guys.”

Carolina: “Awww, rats.”

This is why we didn’t get the Boeing plant. They figured no one would come to work in January.

Many of you know that growing up cold is like growing up poor. You just don’t know any better. It seems natural.

Charlotte has a burgeoning community of refugees from Buffalo. They wear thongs this time of year. When they were little, their mothers bundled them up like wee astronauts and tossed them outside. They burrowed to playmates’ homes, built igloos, had snowball wars and scaled glaciers. They were gone for days.

Buffalonians look upon us in winter with that feeling you get when you move in with what seems to be a normal tribe, only to discover one day that they all worship goats. “They’re nice people,” the Buffalonians write home to say, “except they have reptile innards.”

We need to knock it off. We need to quit acting like winter is a FEMA event. We need to man up.

We need to stop and remember how miserably wretched it is here in July.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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