One of the wisest pieces of advice I've received in my life is that I should be very, very careful what I wish for. I'm pretty sure this applies not just to me, but the idea is that we all should be careful of what we identify as our hearts' desire, because, well, we might just get it.
So, to all of you out there wishing for snow ... yeah, you had to do it, didn't you?
All right, all right, I get it. Lots of people want snow for Christmas. I blame the song, but the idea that we want to be blanketed in white by the time Santa Claus shows up seems to be in our collective DNA to the degree that it's a standing wish. Of some of us, anyway.
But, as is appropriate for someone who does what I do at least once a week, I disagree. And not just because I'm the sort of person who disagrees professionally. Though I'm not above that. I disagree because I hate snow.
Perhaps it's my background. I was compelled to leave the nice warm South for a seven-year stint in the North as a child and I've never really gotten over it. It was as scarring experience that has left me permanently broken and unable to enjoy the delightful experience of a gentle snowfall. Or something like that.
Mostly I just don't like to be cold and wet. But I'm not above milking it. And there is no such thing as a gentle snowfall. There is only snow that falls and melts quickly in such a way that we have obviously dodged a bullet and snow that falls and sticks around and generally makes a pest of itself. As in, this week's snowfall.
The thing is, years of exposure has taught me that snow is actually rain with good public relations. And unlike rain, it doesn't just go away. It sticks around and makes driving treacherous -- melting, re-freezing and melting again. What started as a fine idea that we all can enjoy suddenly becomes a lingering annoyance that just doesn't know when to leave until it irritates everyone. Sort of like the New England Patriots.
Yet when local weathermen quit interrupting programming to warn us about upcoming tornadoes and storms and rains and a remarkably heavy dew long enough to start warning us about a coming potential snowstorm, the general reaction of the folks I deal with on a daily basis is akin to what you'd expect if they were told there would be two Christmases and no credit card bills this year.
And no amount of wet or snowy blanket-throwing on my part seems to deter them, including my remarks that soon the stores would be out of bread and milk in addition to toilet paper (what do people do with all that milk and bread during a snowstorm, anyway?) or that our state's typically beautiful natural scenery was about to take on all the character of a whiteboard.
They wanted snow and Mother Nature, for once this year, decided to oblige them. And, days later, here we are.
Of course, it's not all bad. It's kind of hard to call school off for a snow day when quite a few students are already going to school on the dining room table, anyway.
Team leaders used to spend the evening before a storm worrying whether their teams had taken their laptops and equipment home or had the computer power to work from there. The leaders had to decide themselves whether to work from home or try to make it into the office. In 2020, though, they can confine their concerns to whether any more of that delicious gourmet hot chocolate from the holiday goody bag was left.
I mean, when we're stuck at home because of a pandemic anyway, what's one more reason to remain indoors? In a time when nothing seems to have gone right, well, at least this wasn't too bad.
This has been, by all applicable measure, a no-good, terrible, downright awful year. And even as we head in the holidays with the promise of vaccines on the way, the reality is relief is not in sight for most of us until late spring, if then.
So, if all it takes to make people feel a little better is snow, well, I can probably live with that. And won't complain too much.
Gary Smith is a recovering journalist living in Rogers.