Joy to the World

Merry Christmas to the entire world. To the Muslims, the Jews, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Roman Catholics and the Greek Orthodox, the Episcopalians, the Methodists, the Taoists, the Sikhs, the Baha’i, the Shintos, the Zoroastrians, the atheists, the Presbyterians, the pagans, the Unitarian Universalists, the Rastafarians, and to anyone I left out.

Running your eyes over this list of religions: Does it occur to you that we’re missing something here? Something about the spirit of — what was it called? — oh, yes. Christmas.

I’d also like to wish a merry Christmas to the weathermen and -women.

Aside from lawyers, and the priest and the rabbi who walked into a bar, is anyone subjected to more cruel jokes than weathermen?

I moved to Vermont 12 years ago and I like everything about it, except, perhaps, December through April. I’m not a winter sports kind of guy. I try to like the weathermen, but every time I think I do they throw another outrage at me.

Like a snow event.

Listen, weathermen: When 7 inches of snow falls from the sky, it’s not a snow event. It’s a snowstorm.

Like any good Vermonter — actually, all Vermonters are good, except perhaps one guy down the block (it might be me) — I listen to Vermont Public Radio, and the weatherman’s “Eye on the Sky.”

Each “Eye on the Sky” weather forecast takes an inordinate amount of time, at the top of the hour. I’ve never timed it, but I believe that each “Eye on the Sky” event goes on for about a month.

He tells us about a Low Pressure Ridge Over the Ohio Valley that May Be Working Its Way Toward Us, unless High Pressure Over the Maritimes does Something or Other, not to mention God Knows What Over the Mississippi Valley, and — I swear to God — Something To Do With Africa and the North Pole.

I listen to all of this enthralled. I have no idea what it means. But here is the payoff. After each three weeks of this daily weather philosophy, at the top of the hour, the Eye on the Sky guy says, every day: “Now for the forecast details.”

Then he predicts the weather.

Day after day, as I return home from my job, lugging increasing amounts of beer, I shout at the radio: “Those aren’t the details! That’s the weather forecast! The other stuff was the details!”

I’m all right. I’m fine. Really.

Yesterday it was 5 below and we got 6 inches of snow and high winds.

The weatherman predicted it. And he was right.

He said it would warm up the next day, and he was right again.

He said the snow would turn to “a wintry mix” — a phrase I find offensive, but let that go for now. It means snow, sleet, hail, rain and freezing rain.

Sort of like calling Jeffrey Dahmer “a fun date.”

OK, fine. Wintry mix. I can deal with it.

Then he said – and this is when I cried “Lay on, MacDuff!” – that the wintry mix would be followed by drizzle – “or snizzle.”

I was driving home from the Country Store in second gear, in 4-wheel drive. No one else was on the road. It was snowing a blizzard, but everything was calm, inside and outside the truck.

But when the “Eye in the Sky” guy said “Snizzle,” I shouted, “Snizzle! Snizzle? You (bad words here)!”

But the weatherman was right. The next morning I damn near fell on my butt just getting to my truck. On the snizzle.

Oh, OK, if you insist: A priest, a rabbi and an imam walk into a bar, and the bartender says, “What is this, a joke?”