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Texas | Columns | "Quips and Salsa"

Climate change
or
wacky winter weather


by Jase Graves
Jase Graves

With the stroke of several souvenir pens that will likely end up on eBay, President Joe Biden recently enacted sweeping executive orders related to climate change-specifically aimed at saving the arctic tufted titmouse and encouraging the transition of all fuel-burning vehicles to Flintstones cars. Seriously, though, these actions mark an important shift in favor of clean energy, which is like regular energy, but with less B.O.

While these efforts to slow climate change may seem admirable to some, radical temperature changes are (and have always been) an inevitable and disconcerting way of life for those of us living in the weather-fluid South, especially in East Texas, where the dead of winter often chooses to identify as late spring or early summer.

It's like the atmosphere is suffering from a continual state of low T- including hot flashes, night sweats, and general irritability-as it coaxes us into donning our favorite and rarely used woolen sweater on a frigid February morning, only to incite our sweat glands to insurrection against our underwear in the afternoon. Just the other night, a meteorologist on the local television news referred to our extended forecast as a "roller coaster." (I'm thinking about calling for his impeachment.)

Take our recent snow day, for instance, when East Texans stormed the local Walmart for staples like bread, milk, and Wolf Brand Chili. Even before the snow had accumulated, my wife and I started rounding up the proper winter-frolicking attire, which included enough layers for an extended arctic research expedition. Sure, we looked like freshly-baked pigs in blankets modeling for Lands' End, but at least we would stay warm and appetizing. My three teenage daughters, on the other hand, dressed with Instagram selfies in mind, trying to ignore the fact that their toes were turning into freezer-burnt tater tots.

Our winter-ish wonderland lasted for approximately twelve hours, and a few days later, we were back to sporting our beachwear and blinding one another with the glare from our arms and legs.

One of my primary concerns is how these wild weather fluctuations are affecting our children. For instance, during winter months my youngest daughter dresses in a perpetual state of fashion emergency, usually consisting of a thick jersey hoodie, a pair of Nike running shorts, and flip flops. (As a caring father with a keen sense of style, I've tried to convince her that sandals are only appropriate this time of year when combined with a pair of black dress socks.)

My eldest daughter has given up trying to adjust the temperature in her bedroom according to the weather. Instead, she constantly runs her ceiling fan on turbo, keeping the climate at a crisp permafrost and sleeping under enough blankets to finish melting the polar ice cap.

And speaking of melting, my middle daughter just incessantly complains about how hot she is. I usually respond by asking her whether I need to turn on the A/C or if she's repeating something her current boyfriend told her. (Cue the almighty teenage eye-roll.)

Although I care deeply about the earth and God's creatures that share it with us (especially the ones I can eat), I'm not sure any action taken by politicians will have much effect on the stubbornly unpredictable East Texas weather. After living here for half a century, I've found that it's just best to adapt by maintaining a schizophrenic wardrobe, a healthy supply of deodorant, and a trusty stash of Wolf Brand Chili.

Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" 2-8-21 column



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