December 9, 2009
Back then, I was a senior in college and working at WFRV-TV, Channel 5 (which at this time was the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, WI - it's now a CBS owned-operated). Coincidentally, I lived right across the street from the station on East Mason Street, which is now a parking lot for Bellin Hospital, sadly. So of course I was expected to make it into work - I had no excuse!
This was fine with me - I love all of the hubbub involved in weather-related events, especially as they're occuring. Right now, I'm sitting at the computer, blogging about this mother-of-all-blizzards, all snug and cozy in my fluffy pink robe and quilted slippers. It's exactly where I want to be, but I'll have no war stories to share with my co-workers tomorrow about how I nearly died trying to get to work. But back in '90, especially at a TV station, where emotions are already amped up a notch by the very nature of the job, we had a total blast during the storm. We were definitely on a skeleton crew, but we managed to eke out a broadcast. Keep in mind I was also 19 years younger. It's much easier to brave the elements when you're a fit and feisty twenty-two!
These days, I work at our newspaper, The Reporter. I had had today scheduled off since last March, which either makes me one lucky so-and-so or cosmically psychic. So perhaps I'm not in the most fair position when I say we should ALL have a snow day today.
I mean it! Why can't we just relegate control to the elements for ONE day every 20 or so years? Will society collapse if we don't show up to work? Will our already soggy economy really suffer that badly if the good people of the Midwest choose to do the smart thing and stay home, rather than risking life and limb for the assuredly hour-long commute? Sure, we managed to pull off a broadcast on that December day back in '90, and no one even had a cell phone (HORRORS!). But why? We could've thrown on some old Beatles cartoons and 99% of the viewing public would've been fine with that.
Back in the summer of '08, Fond du Lac suffered from the worst flooding in over 90 years. That storm was truly tragic - many people lost their homes or the damage was so severe, they had to live elsewhere while FEMA or family helped with the rebuilding. That was a completely different scenario than this storm - we had no choice but to let Mother Nature do her thing, however horrible it was. But today, if our jobs aren't essential to the well-being of the public, we should choose to not brave the elements and force ourselves to just stay inside and weather the storm, drinking hot chocolate and watching the Weather Channel. Let's make that our holiday gift to ourselves. It'll be a hoot!