The scene: a lonely, dark alley way. It’s raining. The players: an intrepid reporter holding a camera and microphone, and a nervous man with a paper bag over his head.
CC: Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Soft Copy your local investigative reporting show. We are here today with someone known only as “Bob.” Bob, I understand you’re part of the WPP, is that the Witness Protection Program?
BOB: No, that’s the Weatherman Protection Program.
BOB: Well, Weatherperson, if you like.
CC: O-kay. Why do weatherpeople need protection programs?
BOB: Look, if it was your job to tell 30 million people that they were going to wake up to two feet of snow tomorrow morning, would you want them to know where you lived?
CC: Ah. Probably not. So why have you approached us here at Soft Copy?
BOB: To blow the whistle. Have my say. Tell the world. And besides, they wouldn’t book me on Oprah.
CC: I see. And just what is it you need to tell the world?
BOB: I want people to know just what a thankless job it is being a weatherman. I mean, we perform a vital function in society, and we get nothing but grief because of it.
CC: You see your job as vital?
BOB: Certainly. We warn people about important events like, say, the first snowstorm of the season.
CC: Is this so they know exactly when to increase their speeds to 140 mph, throw on the brakes for no apparent reason, and otherwise drive like absolute maniacs with bald tires and smoking exhausts on highways that resemble ice rinks?
BOB: Um, sure. But we don’t just look out for snowstorms, you know. We watch for things like thunderstorms, hailstorms, or big nasties like tornadoes.
CC: Tornado warnings, yes. Is this to help save lives?
BOB: Well, no, it’s so camera crews have time to get out to the nearest trailer park to catch footage of RV’s being turned into kindling.
CC: Right. So, how do you answer the charge that weatherpeople, or meteorologists like yourself are often wrong?
BOB: But we’re never wrong.
CC: How can you say that? It was supposed to be bright and sunny today and yet it’s pouring rain.
BOB: Hmm-mmm. What did your local meteorologist say? Exactly.
CC: Well I can’t remember her exact words but I’m sure “bright and sunny” was part of it.
BOB: Yes, but did she say it was going to be bright and sunny right here? On this particular patch of ground?
CC: I don’t know that she said anything about this spot but —
BOB: There you are then. Somewhere today it is bright and sunny. Perhaps even just around the corner. You just don’t happen to be in the right spot for that.
CC: That’s ridiculous. How am I supposed to make use of that prediction?
BOB: You’re wearing a rain slicker aren’t you?
CC: Yes, but that’s because I always carry that stuff in my trunk. I don’t trust the forecasts.
BOB: See? You were prepared because of a weatherperson’s predictions.
CC: An inaccurate prediction!
BOB: Nonsense. Weather forecasting is a very precise science. No expense is spared in bringing you timely information. Do you realize how many crates of tea leaves and gopher guts we go through in my department alone?
CC: I’m sure I don’t want to know. Aren’t you afraid that meteorologists will eventually replaced by computers and specialized instruments?
BOB: Won’t happen. We’re constantly expanding, diversifying our services. Heck, we now give out air quality indexes, UV ratings, pollen counts . . .
CC: Is this so allergy sufferers and asthmatics know when to prepare for bad breathing times?
BOB: I have no idea. But it’s a great way for pharmaceutical companies to advertise. They sponsor these reports you see, and —
CC: Yes, thank you. Well “Bob,” how about you sum up by telling our viewers your thoughts on El Nino?
BOB: El Nino? They make great tacos, but the burritos there are always a bit suspect.
CC: (Sneezing) You know Bob, I can’t understand why Oprah wouldn’t take you.
BOB: Hey, I think you’re coming down with a cold.
CC: You’re sure about that?
BOB: One hundred percent.
CC: Good. That means I don’t have to buy cold medicine.