Shawn's tweets
« Super Bowl: A superb low? | Main | Exercise your right to not vote »

Snow warrior or snow wimp?

The true test of a man’s character, his mettle, his potency and his manhood is how he deals with snow.

Does he quickly shovel his driveway after a snowstorm? Or does he lazily wait for it to melt or evaporate?

Does he boldly confront the snow by driving through drifts? Or does he cower pitifully at home?

Does he valiantly remain unaffected by bad weather, saying nothing, as if it is no big deal? Or does he moan childishly about a couple inches of snow?

In short, is he a snow warrior or a snow wimp?

I confess, I used to be a full-fledged snow wimp. And I only began changing my ways when I saw how unbecoming it was.

In Iowa, where I lived the first 30 years of my life, I was reluctant to shovel, I complained about bad weather and I often stayed home during mere snow flurries.

But then I lived in Indiana for two winters. Hoosiers, I learned, are accustomed to much less snow than Iowans. For example, when it snowed just a few inches, everything shut down — schools, businesses, doctor’s offices, roads. There was often no mail delivery. Snow emergencies were declared, requiring by law all residents to endlessly and annoyingly complain about the weather.

But to me, it was no big deal. I drove deserted streets during these “Indiana blizzards” that would have been an “Iowa dusting.” I had no problem navigating snowy roads — only to find that the places I went were closed.

My heavy-duty Iowa snow shovel was the envy of the neighborhood. It was far too big for the job; a small broom might have worked better. I was the first on my block to shovel my driveway. My neighbors, perhaps too embarrassed to bring out their dinky shovels after seeing mine, left their driveways covered with snow, waiting for it to melt.

I found myself cursing Hoosiers for their cowardice. I found their attitude unappealing. And I realized then that back in Iowa, I acted the same wimpy way. In moving from Iowa to Indiana, I was transformed from snow wimp to snow warrior. 

 I hadn’t really changed — the environment had changed. I felt like Superman. On his home planet of Krypton, he wouldn’t have been anything special, just a regular guy. But when he moved to Earth, he had superpowers compared to everyone else. In Iowa, I was a snow wimp, but in Indiana, I was able to leap tall snowdrifts in a single bound.

I vowed never to be a snow wimp again.

And then this year we moved to central Minnesota. I knew we were in trouble back in August when we were unloading the moving van and a native Minnesota guy saw my “heavy-duty” snow shovel and said, “Dat’s yer snooo shovel? Uff da, dat’ll never do da trick here. A guy might as well kick da snooo outta da way with his booot. Yah, dat dere shovel is pretty wimpy.”

It was as if my manhood were being called into question. I had to do something. And fast. After all, it was August in Minnesota. The first big snow could be just a couple of weeks away.

So I went to buy a snow blower. The Minnesota native salesman, after learning I had moved from Indiana, took the time to explain how snow works, like I was a complete idiot. Like I was from Indiana.

“No, I’m not an Indiana native,” I said. “I’m from Iowa. I know snow.”

This didn’t impress him. On a scale of 1 to 10, he probably thought Iowa was a 4 in winter severity and Indiana maybe a 3. Not much difference to him, especially when he considered Minnesota’s winters rated an 11. To him, Iowa’s winters were more comparable to, say, Arizona’s. 

Even though I upgraded from shovel to snowblower, I’m far from being a snow warrior here. The blower is a base model and my neighbors have bigger models. Sure, I envy them, but I try not to despair. I strive to keep my driveway as clear as my neighbors’, proving that I’m not a snow wimp — and that size isn’t everything.

While it’s good to live among people who don’t treat every snowfall like an apocalyptic natural disaster, I almost miss Indiana at times. 

I almost miss their complaining and unreasonable panic about snow. For in that environment, I was a rare guy with a level-head and a big shovel.

I was a snow warrior.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>