Rain In The Forecast
July 12th, 2012

Full Disclosure: I used to work in television news, but was fired about the same time that Eric Sevareid retired and the network execs decided to drop all pretense and adopt “Toddlers and Tiaras” as the new programming template. Nowadays, whenever someone asks me what happened to my so-called career in broadcasting, I tell them it’s a lot like someone who has lost his taste for tuna fish, the result of having worked in a cannery.

Which isn’t to say I never watch the local news. I generally tune in thirteen minutes past the hour in order to catch the weather report, which inevitably is preceded by a weather-related news story. Lately those stories have been about the wildfires that are raging across Utah, thanks to a prolonged drought coupled with a record-breaking heat wave. I was hoping things were about to change, because when the camera pulled back, the weather girl was wearing a smiley face.

Well, I suppose she’s always wearing a smiley face; that’s how she got the job. And I’ll be the first to admit she’s attractive, albeit married and usually pregnant, which means that when she stands sideways to the weather map, we can never figure out what the heck is going on in the Midwest.

But here’s the good news: A storm “system” is moving up from the Gulf, slowly making its way across Arizona and Southern Nevada. Tomorrow it will reach the Intermountain West, bringing with it a “threat” of thundershowers. What? Where’s the threat?

Well, it’s a threat to those who are currently hiking the Zion Narrows or camped out in narrow slot canyons, where summer rains often result in flash floods. Of course, none of those people are watching television, so what’s the point of warning them? Let them enjoy nature, for whatever little time they have left.

But wait! It gets worse. The weekend is coming up, which means everybody in Utah who isn’t hiking a slot canyon will be out on the golf course. Oh, no! The anchorman was now making a frowny face and sports guy—well, the sports guy all but broke into tears. Oh, the humanity!

And here I was thinking how wonderful it would be if ONLY it would JUST rain! I was thinking how great it used to be back when I was a kid growing up in a little town where the TV reception was awful—thanks to the fact we were ringed all about with mesas and mountains. Our house stood at the north end of town, only two blocks from where the urban grid gave way to untamed wilderness. Water would collect in channels high in the Book Cliffs and then come roaring down what was normally a dry wash, which then emptied onto the street where we lived. Gutters would suddenly become raging rivers; the culvert on the corner would become clogged with debris; men folk would rush out with shovels to unclog it and stem the torrent that was now sweeping across the front lawn and turning our basement window wells into subterranean aquaria. Newts and toads and salamanders would magically emerge from floor drains. Lightning flashed, thunder clapped, hailstones pelted the pavement. I was in heaven!

“I sure hope it doesn’t come down in the valley,” opined the anchorman.

“Or on the golf course,” added the sports guy.

Well, we can only hope.

-Richard Menzies