I have a brother who has a thankless job.
He’s a severe weather warning meteorologist, covering southern Ontario in Canada.
Whenever there is severe weather, be it expected or unexpected, I can find him in the news. He’ll get interviewed and quoted by journalists (most recently, at time of writing, here).
Tornadoes, lightning strikes, blizzards, hurricanes . . . . . for all of them, he’s the face of Environment Canada’s weather forecasting service.
Get the forecast right, and he doesn’t get thanked, he’s just doing his job. Get it wrong . . . . . and he gets it in the neck.
What peeves me about this most recent blizzard event in New England is not that the forecasters got it wrong. They didn’t. They predicted a blizzard, and there was one. It just wasn’t as severe (in New York City, at least) as their mathematical models and scientific judgement predicted.
What peeves me is:
- My brother’s opposite number in New England apologized for “getting it wrong”. Bad move. He’s done his colleagues and fellow meteorologists around the world a disservice. (He’s probably also done himself out of his hoped-for pay rise this year.)
- We human beings, us humanoids at the top of the food chain . . . . think we have a right to perfection from those around us. We don’t expect it from ourselves, but we expect it from everyone else. We demand to be insulated from anything bad.
All those people in New England, who had to stock up with food and water, take a day or two off work, and hibernate at home in front of the fire. Terrible, terrible.
My heart bleeds.
Excuse me, but that kind of sounds like Christmas Day!
Growing up in Québec City, I remember one real humdinger of a blizzard that trapped us at home for two days. My brother and sister and I thought we’d died and gone to heaven. No school for two days! We drove my mom nuts, but then she’d just throw us out into the snow to give herself some peace and quiet.
My dad, who worked at the army base 30km away in Valcartier, was trapped there. The army brought them in food and blankets, and televisions so they could watch the Canadiens-Leafs hockey game.
It was terrible hardship, I tell you. (I think there might also have been whiskey.)
In your life, bad stuff is going to happen. People you love are going to die. You will lose jobs, go bankrupt, have car accidents, get sick, find yourself in crappy jobs, friends will betray you . . . . Some of those things are going to happen. Guaranteed.
That’s an accurate forecast. Now do you want the detailed forecast? (I’ll get it wrong, mind.)
Quit expecting a pain-free, perfectly-scripted, safe life. Won’t happen. Human life on this planet is nonlinear and unsafe. There will be blizzards, bombs, bugs, and the milk in your coffee will curdle.
Far better just to arm yourself with An Attitude of Gratitude for what you’ve got, have a laugh, and look for the silver lining in those clouds, whether they are forecast or not.
Six years ago, I was prescribed some strong medication for a long-standing chronic condition. I was warned there might be unpleasant side effects.
Hoo boy, were there side effects! Three weeks along, and I had my first ambulance trip experience. Not fun. (Notice, however: I survived.)
I was prescribed a second medicine. Two doses in, and i could tell this one was going to be no better. Scratch that.
Attempt #3 was a yet stronger drug, with even nastier potential side effects. It was just like Scrooge meeting the Ghost of Christmas Present. The one thing I was not prepared for, was Nothing.
No side effects at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Was I ticked off that the promised side effects didn’t materialise?
HELL NO! i couldn’t believe my luck. Six years along, I’m still on it, fit as a fiddle, and counting my blessings.
Oh yeah, I neglected to mention:
Good stuff is going to happen to you as well.