Forecasting Follies

Dearest Rachel –

Aside from the fact that I don’t want the responsibility – and cannot fathom why anybody else would – I have certain… ideas… that probably would suggest that I shouldn’t be trusted with the reins of any sort of power.

I’m not a big fan of the psychic community, for instance. Personally, if I could predict what the numbers were for any of those multistate lotteries, for instance, I’d keep that information – and a ticket with those numbers on it – to myself. I might spread the wealth around once I’d won it, but first things first, after all.

Were I in power to enact such an edict, I would probably suggest raiding such businesses on a semi-regular basis. Maybe every four or five years; long enough to make a living and gather a clientele, but not long enough to actually swindle too many people. I’d have police do it during their regular business hours, in broad daylight. If the psychics truly are what they claim to be, they will have closed up shop for the day, and not be there to arrest. Nor would they be subject to arrest, having proved their mettle. However, since I expect they will be there at their place of business, they should then be apprehended and hauled before a judge, and fined a life-changing amount of money as complete and utter frauds, putting them out of business.

Even when they get these things right, psychics tend to be so vague that the person they’re telling their fortunes to can’t act on them properly – in which case, what use are their predictions? I’ve mentioned before about King Croesus of Lydia, and the ‘mighty empire’ he destroyed by going to war (spoiler alert: it was his own), but even on a more individual level, these sorts of thing prove useless. I was just reading about some Italian count from the early 1700s, who was warned by a soothsayer that alcohol would kill him, upon which advice, he swore off the stuff. Admittedly, not a bad lifestyle choice – except for the fact that, after a strenuous hunting trip, he’d gotten an alcohol rub for his sore muscles, which somehow caught fire, and the unfortunate count burned to death. You can’t deny the accuracy of the prediction, but it didn’t help all that much, now, did it?

So I’m not a big fan of people who claim to know the future. You throw out enough generalities, and a few days or a week or a month later, you can cherry-pick all sorts of things to prove that your vague pronouncements were prescient. Big honking deal. The least you could do is to win the lottery, like I said, or make scads of money in the stock market as a day trader, rather than fleecing some desperate schmo out of his hard earned cash. It would be faster, more efficient, and less of a stain on your soul.

Well, maybe not if you chose to be a day trader.

Anyway, I mention all this because of the fact that, for the last few days, we have been warned, many times over, in fact, of a great and terrible snowstorm coming our way. Last night, the temperatures were in the high 40s, but they were expected to drop into the teens by today. Throughout it all, we would be getting precipitation – rain at first, because it wasn’t cold enough for anything else, but then it would freeze overnight, and ultimately turn into snow. It was going to be absolutely treacherous, in terms of driving conditions, this morning and throughout today as the accumulation, well… accumulated.

In fairness, we did get absolutely dumped on last night during the study at church. We could hear the rain cascading upon the roof as Daniel and I tended to the video of Scott’s presentation (he’d gotten a early flight out to Israel, so he had to pre-record it) in the A/V booth. It had settled down a bit by the time we headed out, but I still got plenty wet when I went to retrieve the car and pick him up at the door of the church.

And, to be sure, the temperatures had indeed fallen by the time I woke up this morning. The lake that we usually get in our backyard every February was a solid ice-skating rink (if you didn’t mind crashing into the old swingset):

But I’m sure you can notice that there’s something missing from this picture. Snow. There is no snow to be seen here. Not on the ground, not in the sky. Nothing.

We were promised a blizzard. Granted, here on the north side of the city, we weren’t supposed to bear the brunt of it like they were on the south side, or worse over in Indiana, but still, we were bracing for something. And yet, here we are.

I understand that weather forecasting, despite being much more of a science than soothsaying, is still tricky in certain places – ours in particular. Dad has told me about meeting a meteorologist at some point during his career. Apparently the consensus in that profession is that, if you can’t get the weather right 75% of the time in places like San Diego or Los Angeles, you should be fired, but if you can get Chicago weather right more than 50% of the time, you’re doing well.

And I’m not exactly complaining – I have no desire to dig out from, or drive through, the sort of snow that we had been warned about on the weather stations (which are still predicting snow for this evening, by the way, but the numbers aren’t nearly as intimidatingly large as they have been over the past few days, for any part of the metropolitan region). But I’m not fond of panicking over what turns out to be nothing, either.

Especially when the thing that you’re really supposed to worry about is something that never even crossed your mind – or wasn’t explained to you adequately by your court psychic.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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