The irrationally optimistic weatherman called for snow here today, which in South Carolina is something like having Weight Watchers announce that Amaretto cheesecake will be the favored menu item at their Christmas buffet. Those folks straining the door supports down at the Weight Watchers meeting know it’s not true, just like we know that it will rain macaroni and cheese before we see a snowflake, but by golly, we’re going to be prepared, just in case.
When the temperature dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and wild rumor spreads the S word around like compost on the vegetable garden, or if somebody kicks over a cup of ice at the Dairy Queen and it doesn’t melt before a refill arrives, the Piggly Wiggly rule goes into effect and everyone in the tri-county area proceeds to the local supermarket to show solidarity in the bread and milk departments.
This is the moment when the Live Action News cameras arrive from the major networks. Southerners may collect accomplishments like Leprechauns hoard pots of gold, but it’s not likely that the rest of the world is going to see us on the news pulling Timmy from the well. You’re going to see action packed newsreels of Lurlene pushing a buggy piled high with grocery store white bread, pork rinds, and a tribe size of Charmin, charging past the fresh fruit to beat her sister to the express lane checkout. And when tornado weather rolls through, the news channels race like greyhounds hot on the robot rabbit’s trail to be the first one with Live-Eye footage of a double-wide trailer spinning through the air like a boomerang.
This used to bother me when I was younger. Nowadays I can’t help but wonder why our country is obsessed with women in foam curlers and hair nets buying Moon Pies or the airborne velocity of the family Windstream. But in a country where a team of folks eating insects or a set of parents feuding over TV rights to a flock of kids can draw a major market share of attention, it’s no wonder Southern disasters spark the network glare.
When it comes to entertainment value, some people have it and some people don’t. Around here we spread it on toast and eat it for breakfast with our cheese grits. Which reminds me. The sun just ducked behind a cloud. I’d better go buy bread. You never know when the weatherman just might be right.