OK, so the LowCountry of South Carolina doesn’t get that much snow, granted – although we did actually have a serious blizzard last year (when I say blizzard, in South Carolina-relative terms, I mean it snowed long enough for the ground and roads to get covered for more than 8 hours, and you could pack some really awesome snowballs, because it wasn’t that super-dry powder you want to schuss across – not that I would ever schuss, mind you – nor was it that superfine but unpackable mini-ice-cube snow that hurts like a mother when you get pinged by an iceball to the temple).

And no, I have never resided anyplace that took a serious snow for granted (forecast for Bangor, Maine, 18”-24” of snow in the morning, followed by flurries of 1’-3’ in the afternoon; then the really serious stuff starts coming down – and that’s the July 27th forecast). I have lived where there would be no snow at all, unless it was immediately preceded by the 16 horsesteps of the 4 Horsemen, but I have also lived where snow happened an average of 2-3 times a year – enough that it’s not the end of days, but at the same time panic still runs rampant in the tri-state area.

Unfortunately, that panic metamorphoses the larval slugs whose 1977 Datsun F-10* is coated with a thick sediment of garage dust, with tires sagging deeply at the measly 10psi left of their 1976 air (oh yes, they bought this peach when it was brand new, back when the next year’s models rolled out late in the previous year – of course, that was back when you could reliably count on the new TV season starting in the first 2 weeks of September, running through spring, and then reruns of same until the cycle rebooted the following September; now you have at least 3 TV “seasons,” with mid-summer replacements running in December – leaves me as confused as a newborn in a topless bar).

These aforementioned pre-ugly-butterflies-sitting-in-their-footed-jammies-and-slippers (OK, my most common outfit) apparently only ever gnaw their way out of their cocoons (they were home schooled, so they’ve spent the bulk of their life in this outfit – granted, it’s a bit snug now) when such meteorological happenstances occur, realizing with shock and horror that, for the 2.2 days the roads may be somewhat less than ideal for motoring, they may not have enough of the 4 basic food groups stocked up next to their MREs.

The 4 Basic Food Groups? The same comestibles upon which man has survived since the first knuckles were dragged in an upright, bipedal position: Milk, Bread, Eggs, and Cheese – as if you could not survive those 2.2 days without a toasted egg and cheese sandwich, dunked in 2%. But I guarantee you, before the talking head bimbo (male or female) – you know, the one who has the inkjet “Certified Meteorologist” certificate thumbtacked up in his/her cubicle at the station – can utter the first two letters of the word, these post-cocoon slugs rise with a hue and cry (stick your head out the window – you will hear the cumulative hue and mass cry) as if the spaceship was coming out from behind the comet and they suddenly realized their purple track suit was at the cleaners.

So, what do these dairy/gluten/poultry-deprived wombats do? They thrown on their down parkas or full-length-female mink strollers (because male mink are wider and thus it takes less of them to produce and thus they are cheaper to make and so they cost less, but you can’t be seen wearing a male mink coat, because everyone whose anyone will know you are a cheap bastard) – over their union suits – and go screaming out the door to their waiting Slugmobiles.

“Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed.” “Roger. Ready to move out.” Then the F-10 fires up – well, not so much fires up as cranks ceaselessly like you were punching a baboon in the solar plexus, and only after a severe case of carpel tunnel from twisting the key so many times does the beast finally roar to life, and they come tearing out of the detached garage.

And why, you ask, rightly so, does any of this matter? Because a) these people, who have nothing more to do than watch TV all day, and thus would have had far greater access to the Weather Channel than “normal” human beings, would have had plenty of forewarning of the impending Donner Party-level blizzard, and could have stocked their stores days or weeks in advance; and 2) BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE UNDER PRISTINE CONDITIONS, LET ALONE DURING PERIODS WHEN THE HIGHWAY PATROL ISSUES A CREEP ACROSS THE BOTTOM OF THE LIFETIME NETWORK’S SCREEN TELLING PEOPLE NOT TO GET OUT AND DRIVE UNLESS THEY ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO.

These piles of monkey nuts so rarely see the bright light of day, that individually cascading flakes of death (which they have to count, owing to their OCD) so totally distract them as to further impede their already nonexistent driving “skills.” They apply their standard driving techniques, extinct as they are, to thoroughfares covered in black ice, melted and refrozen snow – basically anything other than blow-dried asphalt.

While I could ramble on ad nauseum on the entire drivin-in-the-snow theme (oh, god, please, no), I will, for the nonce, stick to bridges.

Firstly, I would naturally admonish those of you who fall into the previously-described states of larvaeness to remain in your houses, curled up next to your 17” black and white Philco TVs with the aluminum foal on the rabbit ears to increase reception. However, as I know you will ignore me, I must instruct you on how to drive across bridges when there’s snow accumulated on same.

The soundest advise I can give is to move to a town where there are no bridges. Or hills. Or curves in the road. Or roads. There, I think that covers it.

No, I know you will foolishly ignore my sound logic, offered only to save my life.

So, I Googled for information on driving across bridges:

Bridges are one of most dangerous things to drive on during a storm. They freeze before roads and you should use extra caution when passing over them. Do not break [sic] [if you don’t know why I put the “[sic]” there, you need to go back to elementary school and understand homonyms – not “homophones” – back when I went to school, we didn’t have “homophones,” something my daughter came home with several years ago, and had I initially seen that in print, I would assume that “Out” magazine was offering gender-specific telephonic devices)] on bridges if you can help it. Even if it is raining and the temperature is just above freezing, be mindful that bridges are probably frozen. Also, remember that some roads that do not have ground on either side of them or just one side of them are also like bridges and will freeze first.

That pretty much covers why you shouldn’t drive over bridges, especially when it snows. Of course, you may already have a pre-existing condition that would thankfully keep you off such structures when it snows – gephyrophobia – which would presumably ward you off bridges full-time.

But no, we’re not lucky enough for you to be gephyrophobic, or have common sense. So, you either floor the accelerator (again, remember that we’re driving on snow/ice-covered roads) to get onto the bridge, and rather than simply allowing your vehicle’s momentum to carry you the rest of the way across, you suddenly realize you are likely moving too fast for current conditions, and so you slam on the “breaks” [sic on purpose – you know it’s brakes].

And what happens? You stop, right? No. Duh. You continue, unimpeded by your nonjudicious braking, and in fact, rather than continuing in a straight line, you are now doing what we in the business call “fishtailing.” First, I didn’t know fish could drive, and second, they REALLY don’t have experience driving in snow. Rain, however, they might have covered.

So, you sideswipe several oncoming and driving-alongside vehicles in your brilliant Emerson Fittipaldi-esque slide, taking out fellow slugnuts whose selfsame goal is the acquisition of 1% (they fit better into their adult onesies than you), lowfat cheddar, Eggland’s Best, and New York Seedless Rye (how can they keep calling this stuff “New York,” when it’s made in West Virginia by people who can’t eat Seeded Rye because those little suckers will get trapped in the dental bridge attached by the only remaining tooth in their head?).

Let’s circle back to the root cause for all of this mayhem. You do not actually NEED the 4 basic food groups for the 2.2 days this crisis will last. You have enough Ramen Noodles in your cupboard – the stuff that contains all the nutrients of life, and is probably what comets carried that seeded the earth with life 2.4 billion years ago – to last until the next millennium.

Milk? Seriously, haven’t you read about how BAD milk probably is for you? Oh sure, when I was a kid you were told if you didn’t drink a gallon a day, you would end up stunted and tongueless (I’m not sure about the tongueless). But now, they are saying – whoever “they” are – that milk is detrimental to you. And thus it follows that cheese is bad for you.

Eggs? The jury’s still out on them. Yes, they’re chock full of protein, but can evidently adversely affect your cholesterol levels. And think about it – how many eggs can you eat in one 2.2 day period without your apartment starting to smell like that additive they put in natural gas to alert you to the fact that you should run screaming out of said apartment because there’s a gas leak (today’s educational tidbit – natural gas has no smell on its own, so the gas companies have to add a chemical to it so your nostrils can spot the presence of it – or supply all natural gas customers with little canaries).

Bread? Carbs. Bad. Unless you go out in the snow that’s already falling to harvest your own wheat (or rye), crush it with your handy mortar and pestle, and make your own flour, mix your own dough, knead that sucker, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again, drop it into a bread pan, bake it at 350 for 35-40 minutes (oven temperatures may vary – or, simply follow the instructions on your bread-making machine) until the crust is golden brown, then remove to a cooling rack. It will still burn your hands to handle it, because you can’t wait for it to cool, so use a potholder to slice it. But, and this is important, turn the loaf on its side before slicing. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a mashed-down chunk of dough, instead of a nice clean slice – even if you do have one of Ron Popeil’s incredible knives. And then you have the perfect warm slice of healthy, homemade bread. No additives, no preservatives. Actually good for you. Then you slather it with as much butter (or, if you want to pretend to be healthy, use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,” but don’t leave that out of the fridge for more than 20 seconds, or it will revert to its natural form – whale ambergris) as it will hold – so much that it is actually dripping when lifted, and thus turning an all-natural slice of health food into the Shingle of Death.

So, don’t drive in the snow, especially on bridges, unless you want to chop years off your life by eating food you shouldn’t be consuming anyway.

DW

* I must, in good conscience, reveal my sources for this vehicle selection. I Googled “ugliest classic car,” and the F-10 popped up at the top of the list. I think you might agree – http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/curbside-classic-the-ugliest-car-ever-1977-datsun-f-10/

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