If you’ve ever spent any time in Pennsylvania between November and April, you might have noticed our propensity to get a little snow during those months. We’re not talking Antarctic levels. There aren’t marauding gangs of penguins wandering the streets of the Keystone State, threatening children who are walking to school. But we get a little of the white stuff when it gets cold.
Last Monday, we got quite literally a little of the white stuff. I don’t have the final totals in front of me, but I’d wager that we received somewhere in the neighborhood of two inches of snow. This wasn’t the heavy, water-logged, destroyer-of-backs snow that the heavens dumped on us last winter. This was light and powdery. It might as well have been left behind by a giant powdered donut who’d walked through the neighborhood sneezing.
My girlfriend and I shoveled our house and the sidewalks in front of our two neighbors, threw down some salt and called it a day. We did our neighbors’ sidewalks because we use the sidewalks and one of our neighbors is an old man and the other is a middle-aged cop who is never home and when he is home, he doesn’t give a shit. Despite the extra workload, we weren’t out there for hours, toiling away while the Snow Meister chucked iceballs at us and laughed wildly. It took maybe half an hour max. As far as shoveling experiences go, this was about as pleasant as you’re going to get.
And yet, that wasn’t enough for some people.
After Monday’s snowfall, the Ice Age happened. It was so cold in Pennsylvania last week that ruffed grouses were literally dropping out of the sky frozen solid. It was so cold that Gov. Tom Corbett’s icy heart was literally the warmest thing in the state. It was so cold that locals assumed the Philadelphia 76ers had won the NBA championship because hell had to have frozen over. It was a chaotic, confusing time for us all.
Those of us who’d shoveled our sidewalks, well, we were in great shape. I mean, we were still fending off a polar vortex with a whip and a chair, but we were in great shape compared to our colleagues who didn’t bother to shovel. These people were left to sit back and watch as everything they know and love turned to ice before their very eyes. And by everything they know and love, I mean their sidewalks and driveways. Anything that still had snow on it pretty well froze over and stayed that way as the cold spell carried on into the weekend.
On Sunday, being the hearty, lumberjack-ian figure that I am, I went out for a run. It was about 18 degrees outside, but I counted on my thick beard, my barrel chest and my deep baratone voice to repel nature’s assault. One mile in, my theory had proven accurate. Things fell apart during the second. You see, I’d been having some problems with my headphones – they were rubbing against my hat or my scarf and causing static … err … I mean, my thick beard and causing static. I was busy playing with them when it happened: I noticed the sidewalk I’d been running on had suddenly been replaced with a sheet of ice. My brain said: “OK … we need to be very care …” but I never got to hear the end of that thought because I was too busy screaming and falling to my death.
Well, falling hard on my side.
Luckily, I managed to avoid conking my head on the ice. I got up and examined my surroundings. I was in front of a house that I believe isn’t occupied. That would explain the icy sidewalk … expect for one small issue. The houses on each side of the empty one are both occupied. Judging by the pickup trucks and work vans in the driveway of the one, I’d say some able-bodied fellows live in at least the one house. And the clear sidewalk in front of each confirmed that. Yet no one, no one could be bothered to shovel the extra twenty feet of snow in front of the empty house. Instead, they let it freeze.
Enraged, I did the only thing a man in my situation could do: I ran six more miles, one more than I intended, being driven singularly by the desire to punch every single person who lived in the houses surrounding that empty one right in the face.
Of course, from there on the vast majority of my run took place not on sidewalk and not on the street because apparently many more of my neighbors are completely useless and didn’t bother to shovel either.
People of the snow-ceptible world, remember Plato or Curie or Dale Earnhardt or whoever it was! If you’re young and able-bodied, you have no excuse not to shovel your sidewalk. If you don't, just know you've essentially wiped your butt with the American flag. If you’re old and you have no family who loves you and all of your neighbors hate you, then pay someone to shovel it for you. If you can’t afford to do that, act like there’s a killer upstairs and GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Go live in a condo or somewhere where there are people who will shovel for you.
Or somewhere where snow only exists in the Anthony Kiedis sense.