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Snow good, ice bad
12/13/07

Man, we dodged a bullet these past few days.

Mother Nature never tires of playing games with the earth’s population, and most of Oklahoma. When you get warm moist air moving over cold polar air, that’s when it gets really interesting.

As I’ve said before, I prefer snow when that happens. I just love the stuff.

Ice is altogether a different story.

Snow good. Ice bad.

Most of us, when the subject of ice comes up, thinks immediately of driving over slick roads, bridges and overpasses.

This happens frequently enough to where we should collectively as intelligent beings have a useful load of experience to draw upon.

The most often-used comment during such times in the checkout line at the local grocery store is, “I know how to drive on ice ... it’s all the other drivers on the road that are crazy. I just can’t stand them.”

If you think about it, one might be insulted by the comment, because, according to the generalized statement, you are one of “them”.

But most of us just nod our heads in agreement. Yep. He does have a point.

Until you get out on the road, and all of a sudden, according to such logic, he is now one of “them” in your book, and perfectly capable of driving too fast towards the four-way stop sign, losing control and wiping out a handful of perfectly good cars.

Idiot on ice.

It is a “me against them” battle on the freeway when ice decides to invade the landscape.

So, if it ices up here in the next few weeks, don’t venture out on the road and become one of “them” to me.

What happened in Oklahoma and the Midwest this week brings more perspective to the potential hazards of ice.

The latest statistics indicated 24 dead and over one million homes and businesses without electricity, with inches of ice weighing trees down to the breaking point, snapping electrical lines in the process.

The National Weather Service even warned of potential injuries to individuals from falling ice.

That’s a lot of ice.

Shards of ice.

It gets really ugly when your electricity is shut off for an extended period. If you don’t have backups, or even a fireplace, you are totally screwed. And there’s no hot water for a shower, so after three or four days you begin to smell worse than a Frenchman on the Paris Metro on a sweltering summer day.

The only reason Mother Nature decided to spare this immediate area was the fact I was called to jury duty.

Facts of ice.

I went to bed Sunday night with dreams of sugar plums in my head, and a line of ticker type running across the local tv channel the next morning stating that “Wichita County Courthouse” is closed for the day. Maybe even days.

That would have been sweet.

But it didn’t happen.

So not only did I spend an entire day at the courthouse Monday going through our privileged jury vetting process in front of attorneys with way too much time on their hands, I managed to miss the final cut on the first phase, only to be called back at 1 p.m. on press day (Wednesday).

To understand the severity of press day interruptions, you should know that giving birth, getting married, dying or coming close to dying is expressly forbidden until after the paper is safely at the printer.

Writing this column on Tuesday night in anticipation of the worst case scenario, I can only say that I truly love my country and respect such judicial responsibilities when called upon.

It’s just hard finding time for it.

Me? I’ve got to make it all up, one way or another, and I’m falling further behind even now as I close out this column.

With another approaching winter storm expected to hit Friday and Saturday, I pray it results in driving through four inches of packed powder, and not on an inch or two of ice.

Whatever happens this weekend, be safe. It’s nice having you all around.



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