Lee Pitts: Gypsies, Tramps & Beeves
I get my news from paperview. I read the newspaper. I don’t watch much television and have found that your average security camera monitor is more entertaining than TV. I do however watch the occasional weather report on TV, but I don’t know why I bother because it’s always the same: “Torrential sunshine today with scattered darkness tonight.”
In our area weatherpersons come and go like gypsies and cold fronts. Some are good and some are bad.
Generally speaking I’ve found that the best TV weatherpersons are found where the weather is the worst. My problem with most TV weather reports is that the weather is not taken seriously enough. To me the weather report is far more important than what happened in Syria or what Congressperson got caught with his pants down, or his hand in the till. I guess I’ve been in the beef business for too long but the weather is no joking matter. In many instances the weatherperson is some sort of clown. It’s no accident that Willard Scott, the most famous weatherperson in TV history, was the original Ronald McDonald, or that his “training” to be a weatherman included stints as Bozo the Clown.
We’ve certainly had our share of clowns where I live. There was one tramp who looked like she was dressed by Victoria’s Secret and another guy with a huge honker. His nose was so long when he stood sideways to the camera and pointed to a low pressure area it looked like he was pointing with his schnozzola. We called him Pinnochio and it was fitting because, oh, how he lied.
I’ve met a few “celebrity weathermen” over the years because at many of the charity auctions we worked the local TV station would send the weatherperson to “jazz up the auction.” Usually these local stars felt compelled to imprint their personality on the sale. Years ago I was at a Junior Livestock Auction and the local TV station had sent their weather reporter with the idea that his presence would help create excitement and therefore raise more money for the kids. When we were selling the Grand Champion Steer the weatherman first stood ringside with a cane he’d borrowed from a hog showman and was swinging it so wildly he nearly decapitated one of the real ring men. To everyone’s shock the weatherman then grabbed the microphone off the block from the auctioneer and tried to call bids. Needless to say, he had no chant and was awful. He didn’t advance the bid one thin dime and the crowd had clearly had enough of his narcissistic behavior. As he obnoxiously implored the crowd to bid he walked up to the rear of the steer, raised his hand and emphatically slapped the steer on its rump with a big THWACK!
In the flick of an eye, with a crack that sounded like thunder the steer shot a kick that landed… well let me put it this way. If we suppose the weatherman’s head was number one and his feet were number ten, the weather guy got it right about number five. He dropped the microphone and fell to his knees with his lips forming a big round circle of pain… “OOOOOO!”
There was a smattering of groans and impolite cheers and a couple standing ovations from the cowboy crowd who for years had been given a bum steer by this obnoxious weatherman.
There was a cameraman from the TV station at the Junior Livestock Auction so everyone rushed home to see if the memorable event would be shown on the nightly news. When it came time for the much anticipated weather segment the anchorman broke into a broad grin and said that the regular weatherman would not be on and explained his absence by saying, “He’d had a big day at the fair and was now a bit under the weather.”
As if a tainted fried Twinkie was responsible and not the Grand Champion Steer.
I’d always wondered about the derivation of the phrase, “under the weather.” Now, whenever my wife and I watch a certain NBA team play with a well known dirty player on its roster we just know before the game is over there’s a good chance someone is gonna be “a bit under the weather.”