It was hot last week. Testicle-meltingly hot. Then on Friday night the weather tried to kill Gord Downie and ruined a bunch of finished basements in Niagara County. Let’s just say your Instagram feed full of lightning won the Internet last week because I’d like to hear “Wheat Kings” live at least once before I die.
People like to whine about the weather because they have terrible memories and no sense of their own emotions or the words that come out of their big, dumb mouths. The same people that complain about it getting too cold or rainy or snowy or dark are often those that moan when the weather gets tropical on the Niagara Frontier. It’s not about being warm or cold-blooded, it’s about having something to complain about. If you can’t make music you can still push some air out of a hole in your body and call it art.
The fact that our atmosphere is in constant flux is not news. Please say, “It sure is weathering out there,” out loud right now. Say it five minutes from now. Use that line at the Thanksgiving table. Toss it into your wedding vows. Lead with it at your drunk uncle’s intervention. It will never not be true. You will now always have something to talk about. Please give me all of your money for this life-changing advice.
You make the weather a big deal when you have nothing else to talk about. It’s the same whether it’s a conversation between you and your awkward third cousin at a family reunion or a man in a Jos. A. Bank suit and makeup talking into a camera. No one in power accidentally revealed that they are guided by a poor moral compass and too much of your staff is on vacation, so the replacement anchor fires up the, “Geez oh man, you guys. It sure is hot out there!” cliche machine and you’re all set. Send out a photojournalist to capture old people and toddlers playing #BEATTHEHEAT and you might win yourself a New York Emmy® Award. The road to a top 10 market is paved in the sweat of those without central air.
The beautiful thing about being in the news business in a place that gets four seasons’ worth of weather is that the atmospheric conditions can always be your top story. Who cares what’s happening in city government or the school district if the forecast skews a few degrees away from the average? If Don Paul looks into his hot crystal ball and sees more than four inches of snow coming, news stations suddenly have every right to sound the foghorn and tell everyone that they’re going to die. It’s going to be 55 degrees in August? THAT’S JUST A BIT TOO MILD FOR MY LIKING, FRIEND.
This phenomenon is only amplified by the Internet. Have you seen Weather.com lately? That whole site is one big scare quote full of clickbait. The top two stories as of this writing are You won’t believe what THIS is! and Olympic stadiums left to ROT. Please just tell me if I can wear shorts today, Barometer Buzzfeed.
So sure, weather matters. It impacts Bisons ticket sales and whether your grandma plays her high-stakes canasta game on the back porch or in the rumpus room on a Tuesday afternoon. Beyond that, it’s kind of inconsequential until it has the chance to actually kill you. Which—judging by Facebook—it almost did on Friday.
I’m glad you’re still here.