by Jim Harris
Snowed in with the family for a second straight day last week. Too dazed for another round of Scrabble, I thought I’d escape to the bedroom and catch up on some Olympic action on TV. It went something like this:
“We interrupt today’s Olympic broadcast to bring you this special news report, ‘Snow Way Out!’ with Anna Conda and the entire News 10 team reporting from Calamity Central.”
“Good morning, dazed viewers, it has now been snowing for 112 hours straight, with no end in sight. We will return you to the Olympics just as soon as we have scrutinized every single flake of snow from dozens of indistinguishable locations across the Delaware Valley. Our reporter, Cleopatra O’Herlihy, is on City Line Avenue. Cleopatra, is it still coming down out there? It looks like it’s going UP!”
“Hi, Anna. That’s because Jack Hammer, my cameraman, has gone snow-blind. He’s holding the camera upside down. Jack! Flip the camera! Flip it! I think he’s lost his mind, Anna. Please, can we come back inside now?”
“Not just yet, Cleo. It looks pretty deep out there. Would you say it’s up to your shins?”
“It’s north of my knees, Anna, and heading for the Promised Land in a big, fat hurry. If I don’t get out of here soon, I will never have children.”
“Thanks Cleo. We’ll check back with you in the next hour. Lets go to Shondra Shaboo in Chestnut Hill. Shondra, what’s it like down there?”
“It’s very cold, Anna. If the cameraman could pan over to that lot across Germantown Avenue, you can see there is actually a squirrel frozen to the top of a flagpole. It’s hard to tell from here, but I think he’s in shock. In any event, he is a very salient example of why people should stay indoors. I’m going to name him Squiggy, Anna, and I will do everything in my power to get him down alive.”
“Shondra, please, be careful. Don’t do anything foolish. We’ll be returning to Chestnut Hill every half-hour for updates on this compelling story that we are now calling ‘Squiggy: The Frozen-To-A-Flagpole Squirrel.’ Uh-oh, we have breaking news! It’s NOT snowing in Cherry Hill! We’re going immediately to our reporter, Barbara Seville, on the scene. Barbara?”
“Actually, Anna, it IS snowing here. About 20 minutes ago, it stopped for about 10 seconds, and that story has been trending on Twitter, but I can tell you that it is definitely snowing here now, in spite of rumors to the contrary.”
“Thanks for clearing that up, Barbara. Let’s go now to our licensed meteorologist, Justin Case, for the latest forecast.”
“Thanks Anna. I am indeed still licensed. We are presently experiencing blizzard-like conditions. To be clear, this is not an actual blizzard, but it is ‘blizzard-like,’ which is a subtle distinction that only a trained meteorologist like myself can understand. I’ll try to simplify it for the lay people out there. Let’s go to the Channel 10 Interactive Digital Weather Screen.
“This large swirling green mass will intersect with that undulating polka-dotted blob, combining to form a counter-clockwise purple vortex which will turn left at Oxford Circle, eventually meeting up with itself in East Falls, where it will achieve critical mass and suck all the oxygen out of the atmosphere. Here’s what it looks like sped up in 3-D, moving backwards and upside down. Here’s what it looks like moving forwards, but in reverse. Oddly enough, I think it looks just like Chris Christie in his huge, swirling underwear, but I have to go rest my arms now because they’re extremely tired from all this pointing.”
“Thanks, Justin. My producer tells me that we’ve been getting thousands of emails from viewers complaining that our non-stop weather news is oppressively boring. Well, we hear you, people! Starting with our next installment, we’ll be employing scientific ‘enrichment’ techniques, just like those used on zoo animals, to keep our viewers alert, challenged and stimulated.
“To that end, we will be wearing colorful, eye-catching apparel like sombreros, skimpy bathing suits and nine-inch platform shoes. There will also be live animals roaming the set and random noises like air horns and voices screaming ‘Help!’ to keep you from falling asleep. That’s it from Calamity Central for now. Stay tuned for the Winter Olympics, already in progress.”
“Greetings from Sochi. I’m Meredith Vieira sitting in for Matt Lauer, who was sitting in for Bob Costas, who was sitting in for Polly Ester. We’ll be taking you to the women’s uphill bobsled competition in just a moment, but first we have breaking news from back in the States. A TV reporter has fallen from a 40-foot flagpole while trying to rescue a stranded squirrel in the tree-lined Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. First reports indicate that the squirrel is OK. For more on this breaking story, we take you now to Anna Conda at Channel 10 in Philadelphia.”
At this point I walked out into the snow in my pajamas, hoping to freeze to death, but it really wasn’t that cold, so I had breakfast on the deck instead. I gotta get cable.