Thursday, December 08, 2005


It's our Annual Ice Day here in Dallas, except it's just over a month early. No matter. All has gone according to Tradition. That is, everyone has gone nutso. The city is Shut. Down. Actually, the madness started yesterday with regular Network programming being completely suspended in favor of live, ALL DAY reports:

The sleet is coming! Let's adjust the radar to its most sensitive setting so you can SEE it! Look closely -- see those faint green areas out west of the Metroplex? That's sleet! It's coming this way! Whoa! The phones are ringin' off the hook, people wanting to know: what is the difference between sleet and and frozen rain? Here, look at this chart: As you can see, sleet is rain that freezes on the way down from the sky, and freezing rain is rain that freezes only after it hits the ground!

The sleet is almost here! Take a look at this footage from our affiliates in the western part of the State. See that? That's sleet! It may look like snow, but it's not! It's sleet! And remember, unlike frozen rain, sleet is rain that is already frozen by the time it hits the ground!

And when the sleet got here ...

Footage of freezing reporters (who did they piss off, anyway?) standing by the roadsides pointing out the sleet! Be VERY CAREFUL! You may think this is snow, but it isn't! Whoa! Lookit that 18-wheeler! You see that? Let's run that back for a replay. See that, that right there? That's what happens when you hit sleet! That truck almost jack-knifed on that sleet right there!

And so on. Ad nauseum.

When regular programming finally resumed in prime time last night, the bottom of the TV screen had crawlers showing all the closings for today. All the schools closed. All the schools. This is normal. Most of the businesses closed. This is normal. Tradition, you might say.

And this morning? Cancelled. Well, it might as well have been. ALL the media issuing dire warnings:

If you don't have to get out on the roads today, STAY INSIDE! The roads are treacherous! The sanding crews have been out since early this morning sanding the bridges and underpasses, but please! Don't get out and drive today if you can possibly avoid it! The crews can't sand the roadways! Only the bridges and underpasses! This is all normal. Tradition.

And so, when I headed out to my appointment with the doctor this morning, I remembered back about oh, 25 years ago, I think, when I had an appointment with this same doctor on an ice day. The city was shut down then, too (tradition, remember). But this doctor kept his office open that day, as today. And I kept my appointment that day, as today (tradition?) Driving there was not a problem, because you know why? All the schools were closed. And most of the businesses (tradition). When I got to his office, his was the only one open in the building. I was only the second patient who had signed in on the clipboard so far this morning (my appointment was at 10:15). His regular staff wasn't there. I told him what I remembered from 25 years ago. He was in another building then, and I remembered that his staff hadn't come in, but his wife did. She came in to help him (she was a nurse). He got the biggest kick out of that and said he was gonna have to call her and say, hey, you should have come in to help me today! We had a good long visit. What a treat! This doctor is famous around town because he's the "TV doctor" on one of the local network affiliates. But I knew him when. Way, way back when he first started his practice.

He ordered some tests, so I went down to the lab in the basement to have my blood drawn. The door was closed. Oh, no, don't tell me the lab is closed! I'm fasting! But, the door wasn't locked so I went on in. No one was in there. I called and called. Hell-looooooooo? Finally, a lady came out from somewhere way in the back. I handed her the lab slip with the doctor's orders on it. She told me that she could draw the blood. She was the only one there, and she was obviously a supervisor, not a blood-drawer-outer. Oh great. An amateur. This is gonna hurt for sure. I say this because I'm what those in the biz call "a hard stick." (Why yes, I have been called worse; thanks for asking). After the usual fruitless search for a viable vein in my arms (tradition), I tell her that she'll probably need to use a butterfly syringe in my hand (tradition), thinking to myself, oh shit, now this is REALLY gonna hurt! But surprise -- this gal knows what she's doing, and it doesn't hurt a bit -- wondermous!

Here's the part that I hope does not become tradition: I was complaining to the doctor today about my left knee, and he diagnosed ... arthritis. So, is it, like, going to be the right knee next time? And then my elbows? Ankles? I ask you: How the hell am I supposed to get there in all that sleet when I have arthritis?!!?