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In My Opinion


At a time like this, it’s our duty to insult your intelligence

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

In case you’re not up with the latest, we are in the gorilla grip of an epic calamity of lost-mitten proportions, a savage siege of ice and snow that will alter our lives forever, if not inconvenience us for hours.

I know this because I’ve been tuned into the Severe Nostradamas Gompler-Whompler Weather Center of Agonizing Death, also known as my television.

I can assure you that in anticipation of the catastrophe, we at the newspaper have larded up on typographical bullets

• Like this so

• We can reliably deliver

• All sorts of goofy lists on how to survive.

Every few years when we get a Storm of the Century, it falls to responsible journalists to dispense life-saving, bulleted advice because we think you must be a bunch of drooling imbeciles. Already this year alone, we have actually advised you to:

• Check your pet’s water to ensure it’s not frozen.

• Bang on the hood of your car before starting it in case animals are sheltering in there.

• Dress infants before taking them out.

While we are wickedly clever, I regret that the following piece of advice dispensed in January by a local TV station had us moping around for days because it exceeded even the loopiest warnings we have ever issued with a straight face:

• Unhook your car battery and bring it inside to keep it from freezing.

Even commuters in the Arctic Circle don’t do that, but it raised key issues in my mind. If you’re a battery-bearing drooling imbecile, should you swaddle it in a dish towel or go knit it a shawl? It is humbling, I can tell you, when you’re outdone on ridiculous weather tips.

In that spirit, I urge you to heed the following:

• Do not store your car battery overnight in the food freezer or a warm bath.

• Try to identify all the doors and windows in your home, and close them.

• If your eyeball is cold, do not attempt to warm it up with a match. It could lead to diminished vision.

• Do not microwave your pets to warm them up, unless they are goldfish and you’re running low on milk and bread.

• Reassure frightened children that the world is perfectly all right and that things are absolutely normal by comforting them with YouTube videos of Russian cops singing “Get Lucky.”

Being cooped up for a day or two might not be such a bad thing. Remember, this is that magic season that comes along every two years in which you can watch young Americans who have dedicated their lives to practice, struggle and sacrifice to reach their ultimate prize, to pursue the dreams for which they have so long prepared themselves.

Yes, you can turn on the TV and catch the latest on Clay Aiken running for Congress.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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