COLUMN: Weather – or not


“Hey Google! What’s the weather forecast for today?” Those are my waking words each and every morning. And during the course of the day, it’s a sure bet that one of us in our household will ask Google the same question again, just in case the forecast has changed. For example, I will not only check to see if it’s going to rain, but then I’ll turn on the Weather Channel to see when it’s going to rain, how long it’s expected to rain and where they expect the heaviest rain. Strangely, my activity as an unofficial weatherman drives my children nuts. It’s like pouring lemon juice on a paper cut. I have no idea why this bugs them so. 

But it does. It has even caused some fairly intense family disagreements. Their argument is always the same. “Why do y’all check the weather all the time? Why is it so important? You can’t control it. You can’t do one thing about it! You’re just obsessed!” Such a Gen Z statement. By the way, I can do something about it – like turn my windshield washers on. And maybe they should talk to the people who didn’t check the weather before Snowmageddon, and spent the night in their cars on the interstate.

What they don’t understand is that not only is being weather aware a good thing, our tendency to check it is probably inherited from our ancestors. In the past, people didn’t have iPhones with live Doppler radar (whatever that is). So, they had to use primitive methods to forecast, which meant constantly checking the environment around them. Ever heard, “Red sky at morning, sailor take warning?” Some folks used their arthritic bones to tell them of a change in the weather. Seeing cows lay down meant a bad storm was on the way. Even I used to get headaches 24 hours before a downpour. I always said, “When my brain’s in pain, we’re gonna get rain.” 

My mom was a champion weather checker. If the TV meteorologist predicted a low below 45 degrees, she would be sure to say, “Don’t go outside without a coat! You’ll catch your death of cold.” And depending on the anticipated temperature for Halloween night, she reserved the right to make me wear a jacket over my costume when I went trick or treating. I hated that. I never saw Batman wearing a parka. So, our obsession with weather has some logic and history behind it.

Why is it some Gen Z’ers don’t understand that weather requires us to make constant adjustments? Umbrellas, clothing, tee times on a golf course, when to cut the grass and even driving are affected by the environment around us. Don’t believe me? Try putting a on sweatshirt in August or a tank top in February. 

Those weather haters should also consider that they are in the minority. Weather is important enough that movies use it in their plots. Ever watch “White Christmas?” And hundreds of songs have been written about it. From “Here Comes the Sun” to “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” the titles flow. Others include:

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside

“Riders on the Storm”

“Against the Wind”

“Heat Wave”

“Rock You Like a Hurricane”

“Stormy Weather” 

“Kentucky Rain”

“Mr. Blue Sky”

The list is almost endless. Some of these songs go back a long time, and believe it or not, even Taylor Swift has a few songs about rain. Perhaps it’s always been normal for people to be aware of the weather.

So, the next time one of my kids beats me up about my meteorological fixation, I’ll counter with something like, “Why are we even arguing about this? If it bothers you so much, then you’re the one with the problem. And why do you constantly check your iPhone every waking minute?” Is it worth ignoring the person you’re with just to see if you got a “like” on the video you posted of a cat chasing a laser pointer? Maybe you should look at your screen time each day before you talk about anyone being obsessed.”

Then I’ll turn on the Weather Channel, or pick up my phone and check the Doppler radar – whatever that is.

Joe Hobby is a barbecue-loving comedian from Alabama who wrote for Jay Leno for many years. Find more of Joe’s stories on his blog: Follow him on Facebook at Joe Hobby Comedian-Writer.