Well, this storm is only just beginning, Todd, but as you can see, the winds are already whipping like crazy and the rain is blowing sideways. My hat blew off six blocks ago and some kids threw snowballs at me, but the important thing is, we’re giving our viewers an up-close look at the power of Winter Storm Leopold in case they can’t look out their own windows and see it for themselves!
As you can see now, I’m pressing a gloved hand to my ear because the shrieking winds make it hard for me to hear what my cohort back at the newsroom is saying. What’s that, Todd? You want to know what people are saying about this storm? Well, as you can see, there are no people stupid enough to be out here, but I’ll go knock on some doors, Your Highness, and risk getting mauled by a dog so I can get you some colorful comments!
I know what you’re thinking: Why is this fool shouting and who in blazes is Todd?
The fact is, I always feel a little cheated about my approach to the weather. I get to write about it plenty, sure. This winter alone, I’ve filed three thousand, six seven eight stories about snow and cold and blech and ick. But unlike those lucky TV weasels, I never get to scream into a camera while chips of blowing ice rip into my corneas.
Those lucky bums.
I practice constantly in case my day ever comes.
As you can see, I’m standing out here on Park Street to relate even more about this winter mix for those who haven’t figured it out for themselves. Bored punks are standing behind me, sticking out their tongues and making comical rabbit ears above my head. We’ll crop them out of the report later, right Todd? Are you there, Todd? Don’t leave me, Todd, I need you!
We all make fun of those man-on-the-street storm studs, but the fact is, that’s thinly veiled envy. While they’re out witnessing winter weather firsthand, I’m back in the newsroom working the phones. I call boring bureaucracies like the National Weather Service to ask them about things I could discover for myself just by stepping outside.
“Todd, could you tell me what it’s doing out there? Is it cold? Is there snow?”
“It’s snowing. And cold. And stop calling me Todd; my name is Bill.”
“Thank you, Todd. As you can see, I’m hanging up the phone now.”
Two words: BOR-RING.
Those TV guys, they get to swipe the ground with their hands and then hold their fingers up triumphantly to display that they are, in fact, wet. They get to squint against sleet and lean in against the wind and, occasionally, they get to knee misbehaving college kids in the groin. (Google Jim Cantore.)
But most enviable, they get to constantly refer back to Todd, that reassuring presence in the studio. Todd is the warm, glowing light in the gloom, a constant port in the never-ending storm of street reporting.
I get the feeling that Todd is also a selfish man who has his sights set on the major networks and really doesn’t give an ice ball what happens to Paul or Steve or Candi reporting out there in the wild, but never mind that. Todd’s sweet, buzzing voice is there in the earpiece and how warm that must be to the reporter’s icy cockles.
I respect those reporters, I really do. Not only do they have to report on the weather, a Sisyphean task if there ever was one, they have to smile and avoid violent profanity while doing so. Could I manage it? I just don’t know.
So, I practice, often when I’m off the clock and running errands. I drill for it.
Standing outside Shaw’s, I’ll pluck a tube of cookie dough out of my bag and use it as a makeshift microphone. I’ll stand in the parking lot, pressing a gloved hand to my ear every now and then, and give my report.
As you can see, Todd, I just bought six rolls of toilet paper and a whack of tuna fish because with 4 inches of devastating snow on the way, travel is going to be next to impossible and I don’t want to have to resort to eating — or wiping with — my loved ones. Now, as you can see, people are backing away and looking at me funny, but I’m told that’s perfectly normal behavior when the barometer drops, isn’t that right, Todd? Todd?
You suck, Todd.
Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. Send live-weather-report scripts to firstname.lastname@example.org. He might quote you in his 3,009th weather story.