A number of people have chosen for whatever reason to move from warm places like Texas or even Singapore to cold places like Erie. For people like this, I have decided to post these Frequently Asked Questions About Snow as a public service.
Q1: What is this white stuff on the ground?
A1: That stuff that is making your feet cold is called snow. You see a lot of it north of the Mason-Dixon line, and according to this local weather guy, you will likely see 80-100 inches of it in Erie this winter.
Q2: Is snow dangerous?
A2: No. Snowstorms typically contribute to more births than deaths. No, not like that. First you go out “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” and feeling all romantic, then you talk to the preacher, and then you start having all these kids.
The NRA has a slogan. Guns don’t kill people, people do. This applies to snow too. Snow is not dangerous, but people driving like idiots in snow are dangerous. The scary thing is, Northerners should know how to drive in this stuff, but we forget, and every year we have many accidents because we insist on driving like it’s still July.
If you drive in snow, you cut your risk of accident in half by being careful, but you still have to deal with the people who don’t understand the laws of physics.
Q3: Why do people make snowmen instead of snow women? Isn’t that sexist?
A3: Its the laws of physics again. A snowman has to be very large in the bottom, skinnier in the chest, and narrower still in the head. That’s a bad enough physique for a guy… but snowmen have no shame, so you see them out all the time. Most snow women, however, would rather go into a sauna than appear in public wearing nothing but a scarf.
Snow women also age badly. In the Blizzard of ’79, when 14 inches of snow shut down the entire state of Maryland for a week, my very artistic neighbor made a very nice snow sculpture of Farrah Fawcett. (Sorry, no link to a swimsuit shot will be posted here.) After one day of 40 degree weather, she looked far from angelic.
Q4: How does snow affect violence and crime?
A4: Like Alcohol, snow can cause you to pick a fight with someone twice your size. (Especially if you are a kid, and your dad’s back is turned.)
However, it is also true that “40 Below Keeps the Riff-Raff Out”.
Q5: What should you do when there is a whole lot of snow?
A5a: Get out and shovel. This is one of your few chances to see your neighbors before spring. People in Erie don’t exactly hibernate. We actually behave more like bears. Instead of sleeping all winter, we just slow down a lot and pack away a few extra pounds. We come out for free food.
If you have an elderly neighbor, shovel for them too.
A5b: If you were born south of the Mason-Dixon Line, use the snow as an excuse to take the day off. Or maybe even the whole week.
A5c: Snuggle with your sweetie. This works especially if you have heroically shovelled snow and you can act cold.
Q6: Is there anything else I need to know about snow?
A6: Yes. Erie can get really gray in winter, but snow brightens our city considerably. This is not a coincidence. God uses snow to picture his forgiveness of our sins. Here is some of what he says: