It’s not weather, it’s whether

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 27, 2003

It’s worth mentioning again; these TV weather persons drive me nuts. I’ve counted them several times. There is the regular Monday through Friday bunch, 23 more or less. And then those 12 neophytes stuck with the weekends. On any weekday, if you can manipulate a remote, you can find them many times, at least once an hour, and half the night beginning at 5 on some channels, right up through 11:30. We didn’t get that many reports during the war with Iraq. And you are still not sure of the weather until you peek out in the morning. They must believe air temp is critical to our very existence. Does it really matter that the temperature in Virginia Beach is 46 while in Chesapeake it is 44? I guess if you are traveling between cities you must be prepared for the changes.

Each local TV station has the best equipment in the world for predicting weather. One can see where others can’t and I’m curious if they can peek in bedroom windows. I have often wondered about that occasional smile on Jeff Lawson’s face. Donnyboy repeats himself so many times I try to guess the instant when his last report will be, it’s as though Donny feels the weather can change drastically during his 4 minutes of patter. Each of the 23 guessers has a special way of dramatizing the insignificant. I live within sight of the broadcasting towers and I worry about the possible weather changes that might occur while the TV signal travels from the tower, to the station, and back to my TV set. The fact is that working people are going to work regardless of the weather and learn to keep a warm coat and raingear in the back seat after living only a few months in Tidewater.

Worse is that stunt they pull, withholding weather info until after the commercial. They hint at what it might be tomorrow but if we really want to know we must stay tuned for an additional two minutes. We are expected to wait eagerly while we hear that Haynes is finally going to have a sale, or watch dimwits naming the different things you can do on a mattress. Barring a potential tornado or an imminent hurricane, there is nothing that makes me even think about weather. I have windows all around my home and a weather rock given me by my grandson who was earning Scout merit badges. It hangs from the center of a tripod cradled in rope and works perfectly all the time. If the rock is wet it could rain again. If dry it might rain later. If it is moving there is a breeze and if it is banging against the tripod I don’t go out.


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There are so many things wrong with TV in general it is a wise parent that keeps the kids away from it, throws out their computer games, and gives them books to read. Day TV is filled with game shows and insipid early morning blather shows where some celebrity is pushing her worthless book, or Diane Sawyer wants to interview a doctor whose secret method of removing wrinkles is to develop a fat face. Charlie talks to a housewife; she has thirteen kids but knows how to prevent a war with North Korea. Now and then they turn the camera so you can see the idiots standing out in the rain holding placards that read, &uot;We adore you, Charlie, or, &uot;We’re from Maine.&uot; My wife insists she keeps the TV on only because I have buried my face in a newspaper in another room. And every celebrity filled national morning TV station has its own cutesy weather persons who figure we need to know about the weather in Slovakia.

Local stations, cable, and satellites all try to thrill us with a plethora of cop shows. Bad guys killing good detectives, good guys killing bad detectives, wives plotting to kill husbands, everybody having affairs. If guns, knives and clubs were illegal on TV, they’d dream up a plot where murder is committed with dental floss. They frighten us with commercials implying we are risking our life if we don’t hurry to our doctor for the newest prescription to buy the latest colorful pill. Even flatulence has a cure. Fortunately for us all there are National Geographic, History, Discovery, Travel, and Animal Planet. If that’s not enough to enhance your kid’s education, let them watch the furious TV battle for attention between professional weather guessers.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist.