Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Neither Snow nor Rain: Middle Child Meteorology.

Sleet: the Rodney Dangerfield
of precipitation.

     Just about everyone I speak with agrees it’s been the worst winter they’ve ever experienced. It seems every week there’s another headline about yet another major storm. All this talk about winter weather got me to thinking -- which can be dangerous – that in terms of precipitation popularity, snow and rain are clearly the frontrunners. I mean, we certainly have been hearing a lot about snow lately, and it’s a fact that it’s always raining someplace in the world. I’m sure that if you added up all the time people spend talking about the weather, snow and rain would dominate the discussion. And that’s when my Middle Child sensibilities kicked in. What about sleet? Why does sleet always seem to get the cold shoulder? Why do we have rain coats and snow boots, but not a stitch of sleet apparel?
Sleet will never be as famous
as rain or snow.
       Granted, sleet has a serious identity crisis. It’s neither here nor there. It’s not rain or snow, but something smack dab in the middle. As a Middle Child, I can’t help but feel a little bad for sleet. Can you imagine going through life being defined by what you are not? Actually, if you’re a Middle Child, you might know exactly what that feels like. Rain and snow get all the attention. Mother Nature’s favorites. “Rain Man” won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Currier and Ives immortalized snow covered landscapes in their famous prints. Why has sleet failed to capture people’s fascination like rain and snow? People write songs about rain and snow. They proclaim “It’s Raining Men,” wonder “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” and don’t seem the least bit bothered when “Raindrops Keep Falling on (Their) Head.” You ever hear anyone singing songs about sleet? Not only are people singing about the rain, they’re even “Singing In the Rain!” Snow is so beloved, people actually want to “Let It Snow.” Milli Vanilli could’ve lip-synched about sleet, but instead chose to “Blame it on the Rain.” Prince sang about “Purple Rain,” Frank Zappa sang about “Yellow Snow,” and sleet is left out in the cold.

Even Currier & Ives dissed sleet!
      I’ve expressed in a previous post how important receiving mail is to a Middle Child and would never want to say anything to compromise its continued delivery, but even the United States Postal Service’s famous unofficial credo shovels sleet aside. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Ummm, excuse me – anyone notice something missing from the list? Guess I shouldn’t expect any mail the next time it’s sleeting!
     Even when it stops raining and snowing, the love affair continues. After it rains, there’s a chance you’ll see a beautiful rainbow. After it snows, children frolic and build snowmen. After it sleets, all that’s left is a bunch of slush. Still, I suppose things could be worse for sleet. It could be graupel -- a form of granular snow pellets I’ve never heard of before. Has anyone ever heard of graupel?!? Even my spell check doesn’t know what the hell it is! I guess if sleet is a meteorological Middle Child, graupel is an orphan.

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