As people all over the country careen from one temperature extreme to another, the temptation to criticize the weather is irresistible. One day it snows like heaven has a spastic colon, and the next it’s so brutally cold people leave a trail of frost bitten fingers all along the sidewalks. Practically everyone can be heard complaining that the weather is terrible and wishing it would just return to “normal.” But while venting at the weather may make us feel slightly better for a few moments, we rarely consider how such hurtful expressions make the weather feel.
“It is clear that the weather is acting out,” Dr. John Cacioppo, a meteorological-psychologist at the University of Chicago, explained. “What is not known is exactly why. There are several possible causes for the weather’s lashing out behavior. It could be that the weather has severe impulse control connected with an attention span deficit disorder. However, it’s also possible that the weather suffers from a bi-polar, manic-depressive condition. On the other hand, the weather could be experiencing post-traumatic stress and is re-enacting the occasion of the damaging event. Even more disturbingly, the weather could be a compassionless sociopath with sadistic tendencies. If that’s the case, it’s a very difficult condition to treat.”
Dr. Raymond Pierrehumbert, a psychological-meteorologist also at the University of Chicago, demurred, “With all due respect to John, he has a tendency to over-dramatize. If it rains two days in a row, he starts building an ark, and when the temperature drops below zero, he has his lab assistants draw lots to see who will be eaten first. What we’re dealing with with the weather is clearly either a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder or, more probably in my opinion, run of the mill bulimia. Obviously, I would need to interview the weather to make a more definitive diagnosis, but with a combination of weekly therapy and anti-anxiety medication, both conditions are very amenable to treatment.”
“Ray is a world-class ass,” Dr. Cacioppo responded. “He believes the treatment for every case of meteorological distress is a pill and a pat on the back. Reach a hand out to this weather, and you’ll have it frozen off faster than a running intern with the short stick. Indeed, if ever there was a classic case for institutionalization and aggressive, surgical intervention, this is it. Or maybe, so-called Dr. Pierrehumbert has accordion band practice he has to get to. The man actually plays the accordion. (http://geosci.uchicago.edu/people/faculty.shtml) What do you think that says about him?”
Dr. Pierrehumbert was unavailable for further comment.
A couple of weather’s former classmates offered potentially helpful insights. “Weather was always kind of withdrawn and moody,” Soil recalled. “But never like he is now.” Agreeing with that assessment was Air, who added, “I admit that, when we were young, I used to push weather around sometimes. Not to make excuses, but Water also exerted influence. But these days, we try to stay the heck away from weather because he’s become a total nut job.”
After several attempts to reach him for comment, weather sent a text that reads: “You all had your chance to be nice to me. I warned you, and I warned you. But you never loved me, so now this is what you get. Bitches.”
photo credit: Chung Ho Leung
Science and You
Science and You