Naming this blizzard

The Chesapeake Bay watershed has been hit by a large snowstorm; indeed, two outsize storms since December, and a supplemental snowfall is due this week.

The sidewalks are a patchwork of the clear and dry — a crown in heaven for those responsible persons who shoveled them — or, when, left uncleared like a wet and rocky beach, with uneven mounds of shifting snow for shifting sand. The main roads are said to be plowed, but compacted and smoothed would be a more accurate description. Ice unseen makes walking and driving a hazard. The side streets are impassible.

Restless workaholics are clamoring to return to their cubicles. Staples foods are running out of the open stores. The fun is wearing off the spectacle.

But certain dangers and inconveniences come with a storm. Having spent much of my childhood in hurricane-targeted New Orleans, you learn how to prepare for wind and flood, but you cannot prepare for the smells or the boredom that follow. Nor, indeed, can you prepare yourself for the hapless mess of oh-so-clever names this winter storm has been given. Let’s review.

  • Snowpocalypse. My favorite, if worn. A good use of hyperbole and the construction is little changed from the original word. Tricky to spell. That is, if you’re not cutting-and-pasting it.
  • Snowmageddon. Not as good, because it doesn’t map from Armageddon unless you say it with an intrusive R in the first syllable. Of course, native “Warshingtonians” might.
  • SnOMG. Unacceptable. When spoken “Snow my God!” it’s dated and twee. To those unfamiliar, it looks like the word smog spoken by someone eating peanut butter.
  • Snogasm. Evokes nasty thoughts. And laughable, since we’re now in the fourth day of this event.

Any other constructions (“snono”) means you’re trying too hard. Take that energy and apply it, say, to a shovel and a sidewalk.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


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