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Weather They Can't Change This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   For many months, Mike Colclough's weather report has appeared in The 21st Century. He describes the previous month's weather sometimes adding in historical tidbits about the weather of years past, especially necessary since this winter was so meteorologically dull, and "it's the excitement of storms that makes it all worth it." Hurricane Gloria a few years ago got him hooked, and Mike is used to the jokes and insults that accompany an unusual hobby, as he explain-ed in his "Being Strange IV" in February.

While being a teen-age weather watcher is unusual, it is certainly not strange. Americans as a whole are fascinated with the weather. An American newscast would simply not be a newscast without a weather report. Some begin with it; some end with it, but all stations have it. Even some of the music radio stations who might skimp on the sports report (how dare they!) will always have their weatherperson.

On television, weather reports have been elevated to an art form. Perhaps Picasso, Monet and others of their ilk would take exception, but the colorful maps and informative satellite pictures certainly enliven a broadcast.

Even the front page of The Boston Globe always leaves room for the weather report, accompanied by a witty rhyme summing up that day's weather. These many reports exist, of course, because of public demand. Who can forget the unfortunate student who neglects to check the weather before preparing for school in the morning? He dressed for summer when it was really winter; he dressed for winter and instead it became summer. He sits freezing or sweltering while his classmates enjoy a good laugh. Did you judge the weather by looking into your closet instead of out the front door? Ha, ha! Where do you live? The North Pole?

Although weatherpeople are sometimes wrong in their predictions, Americans still pride themselves in their absolute control of their surroundings. They've made distances disappear with new and improved means of transportation. Without moving, they can carry on conversations with friends in the next town. They can watch images on screens that come from miles away. The ski slopes make snow in a ski season that is lacking, and homeowners simply turn up the heat when the weather turns cold.

Americans sometimes forget their helplessness against the elements. Planes don't take off in inclement weather; cars skid, and even trains derail. Telephone wires can be blown down in a hurricane or blizzard, and underground wires can be flooded in torrential downpours. Storms make duplicates of the personalities on the television screen, black lines imprisoning them in the once-revered box. The ski slope owners are helpless without the sub-freezing temperatures necessary to create a wealth of snow. And while homeowners can adjust the thermostat as often as they wish, nothing they do will warm the walk across the yard to bring in the daily paper.

So, as school principals wake up with headaches on the morning of the latest white deluge, students can relax in the knowledge that snow days can still come. The largest fleet of snowplows can't stop the snow from falling.

How ironic that in an age of such technological breakthroughs, we are still stumped by something as trivial as the weather! We never know what it will do, and that, Mike would say, is what makes the weather so exciting. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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