Because I am a flake, and have been perpetrating snow jobs my whole life, I appreciate the wonders of winter.
The two things I wonder most about winter are: Why do some people throw away their snow shovels every year and have to buy new ones? And why do these same people go to the supermarket when a snowstorm is forecast to buy bread and milk when they never eat and drink those things when it doesn't snow?
I got some insight before a recent snowstorm from Chris, who works at a nearby home improvement store.
"Do you have a snow blower?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied, "but it doesn't work. It did work until we had a blizzard a few years ago, then it conked out. When I had it tuned up the following year, we didn't have any snow. Last year it worked fine. Now it's on the fritz again."
"Do you have gas?" Chris asked.
"You're getting a little personal, don't you think?" I said.
"I mean, did you put fresh gas in your snow blower?" Chris clarified. "Stale gas left over from last year can cause it to stall. You have to mix the new gas with oil."
"Do you have a snow blower?" I inquired.
"No," Chris admitted. "I have a 2-year-old, and it was either buy a snow blower or pay for day care. So I bought a manual snow blower."
"What's that?" I asked.
"A shovel," Chris responded.
"How come, whenever it snows, people rush to a store like this to buy shovels?" I wondered. "Do they throw their snow shovels away at the end of winter and have to get new ones the following year?"
"I think they keep their shovels, but they put them in the shed and can't find them the next time it snows," Chris theorized. "The shovels move to the back of the shed and hide. Sometimes it happens in the garage. I think they have a union, and they have meetings where they decide how to outwit their owners and drive them crazy. The humans can't find the snow shovels, so they come here to buy new ones. It is," Chris added with a smile, "good for business."
At this moment, my wife, Sue, came by.
"There you are," she said to me. "I couldn't find him," Sue said to Chris. "He's always getting lost."
"I can't help you there," said Chris. "But husbands are often told to get lost, so we're just following orders."
"We should buy a snow shovel," said Sue.
"We already have one," I noted.
"Do you know where it is?" Chris asked me.
"Yes," I said. "It's in the garage. I wedged it against the door so it couldn't hide."
Sue said we should get a second shovel. Then she said we should hurry up because she had to go to the supermarket to pick up some groceries before the snow started to fall.
"I hope you don't mean bread and milk," I said.
"No," Sue said. "We already have them."
"Why," I asked Chris, "do some people always rush out to buy bread and milk before it snows? If you go to their houses on a nice summer day, you'll never find them sitting at the kitchen table, eating bread and drinking milk."
"I don't know," said Chris. "I would think that before it snows, you'd want to buy beer. Or at least hot chocolate."
"Thanks for your help," I said to Chris before we headed for the checkout counter.
"You're welcome," he replied. "Make sure you put your new shovel in a place where it can't get away. And don't get lost yourself. After all, you're the one who'll have to get rid of the snow."