Lileks: The silver lining of our neverending dark clouds

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 6, 2013 - 8:27 PM

Pam and George Holgate of Cottage Grove took shelter from the sleet during a May visit to the Como Zoo in St. Paul.

Photo: Richard Sennott •,

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If I could just take a moment of your time, I would like to bounce something off you. Like a hammer, maybe.

Sorry; bad mood. Nothing personal. It’s just been a hard patch for the last three months. It’s like this:

1. I love this state and I love my city and will defend them against scourges and slander.

2. The weather of 2013 has put me in a mood so foul I got a PCA complaint filed by an industrial hog-slaughtering facility.

By devoting an entire column to the subject of 2013’s miserable, busted, soul-snuffing weather, I’m practically guaranteeing that the sun will blare forth Friday and make me look like a ranting fool. But it’s always nice to have help, and if it is nice Friday, you know who to thank. Anyway ...

You’re with me on this weather-induced bad-mood epidemic, aren’t you? Let me reach out and clasp your hands and assure you you’re not alone. And then you will withdraw them quickly because it’s bad enough when they started doing that shake-hands-with-people-in-the-pew thing in church, but I just threatened to hit you with a hammer.

I understand. But maybe you saw that the official logo for the State Fair was unveiled, and something inside you screamed, because the very mention of the fair made you feel as we’d shot through summer at Warp Nine. If so, you may agree with the following: Here are something things I do not want to hear, thank you very much OK then.

1. I do not want to hear that you are a weatherperson and people regularly blame you for the weather, because I don’t believe people do that.

It is possible that a cave man who fell into a glacial crevasse, was thawed out and reanimated, and set in front of a TV might conclude that the weatherperson gesturing at the map was actually moving weather around with magic power, but that would require the cave man to understand the complex symbolism of weather maps, as well as recognize the map as a representation of the landscape. This is beyond their capability. So that cave man’s a fake, if you ask me.

Point is, no one blames the weatherperson. No one ever comes up to me and says: “I’ve been appalled to read in your paper about the crackdowns committed by the increasingly autocratic Turkish prime minister. Can’t you do something about that?”

No one ever asks: “Can you do something about speeding up the plot on Mark Trail? Actuarial tables only give me a few decades and I want to know how the story ends.”

If they did, I would say, “Yes, but I wish you hadn’t blown your one request on that, instead of something important like Turkey.”

2. I do not want to hear this: “Oh, it’s 106 here today again! Send us some of that weather.”

Yes, I’ll get right on that. I will get a trash bag, run around until it fills up with Weather, then have an argument at the UPS place because it’s not in a box, and then I’ll pay for a box and have it sent overnight at great personal expense. Then you will open the bag in your back yard, and be surprised when the TV weatherperson says that temps will continue to top 105 in the Valley, and you’ll blame me because it must have leaked on the way down.

You’re a real piece of work, you know that?

3. Likewise, I do not want to hear this: “Hah! Well, that’s what we have in Seattle every year!”

I understand that. I know you can’t have fireworks on the Fourth because the fuses are too damp and aerial displays are useless because the clouds have been parked overhead at a distance of 150 feet since 1856. And you know what? That’s why I don’t live in Seattle. If I wanted to live somewhere so damp it took six years for paint to dry, I would.

4. I do not want to hear “it’s good for the crops,” because last week we lost 16 farmers who drove their tractors into a field and sank 47 feet into the mud.

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