It has been a bad week for weather. Awfully bad, across most of the country. But you only hear about some of it. And for BoomerCafé co-founder and Executive Editor Greg Dobbs, that’s a source of irritation. Kind of.
I live in Colorado. When I first moved here from Paris more than 25 years ago as the correspondent here for a new ABC News “Rocky Mountain Bureau,” I was invited to speak to a gathering of civic leaders at what’s called The City Club, and the topic they asked me to address was, “How do we overcome Denver’s image as a Cow Town?” After all, I’d been roaming the world for many years, and represented a television network based in New York City; surely I’d have some indispensible big-city wisdom to impart.
I didn’t. Instead, I told the assembled civic leaders to be careful what they wished for. Because if they wanted to be a sort of New York of the Great Plains, they’d have to take what comes with it: traffic, crime, higher costs, epic discourtesies. Worse than what Denver already had. If you’re a baby boomer, you’ll remember the comedian Rodney Dangerfield who said, “I don’t get no respect?” Denver felt the same way, and didn’t like it. I hope I changed some minds.
Well, now, as a longtime Coloradoan, I find myself torn between being miffed that sometimes we still get no respect, and being glad we don’t. And I’m talking about the weather.
Read the nation’s newspapers, listen to network newscasts. Get a few inches of snow in the northeast, or even mere hailstones in southern California, and The Weather Channel dispatches its crisis team to stand in the heart of the blizzard and tell us it might be the apocalypse. And by the way, complain about your own work if you like, but these Weather Channel reporters’ whole job is to jump on airplanes to the worst weather in the country. I used to jump on airplanes to the world’s worst wars, but I think I had it better than they did because at least the sun usually was shining warm on our backs when snipers took their shots.
But I digress. We have to get about a foot of snow here in the Rockies — heavy, wet, unshovelable snow — to get more than an honorable mention in the national media. Why? Well, maybe it’s because we’re expected to get smothered by snow. I mean, why would anyone live in Colorado if they didn’t welcome winter weather? So what that only a reported 7% of Coloradoans snowboard or ski and the rest don’t really relish snowfall any more than the snowbirds who’ve moved to Miami.
Or maybe no one notices when we’re buried by a blizzard because from the main media centers in America (read: New York City), we are just a blip on the map. Like the famous New Yorker Magazine cover decades ago by an artist named Saul Steinberg that showed Manhattan in the foreground, then looked west across the Hudson River to a great expanse — the rest of America — where a few pimples represented other cities (not including Denver), then came the Pacific Ocean. I have it hanging in my own home as a reminder of why, a few years after I got here, I stayed in Colorado rather than move, at ABC’s behest, to New York.
But a little respect wouldn’t hurt, would it? After all, I’m a leading-edge baby boomer but that doesn’t give me a pass; I still have to shovel just as much snow as, and maybe more than, anyone at my latitude. Sometimes our streets are impassable too, sometimes we lose power, sometimes our schools stay closed. Hey, America, look at us, would you?!
Then again, if they did, maybe more Americans fed up with winter where they are would figure it’s better here where at least they can go to the mountains and actually play in the snow. And then that 7% might swell to 17%, and where would Colorado be then?!
Okay, fine, ignore us. We’ll survive.
Greg is online at GregDobbs.net.
Category: Boomer Lifestyle