- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Here we are again, coming out of another series of panic attacks at the grocery store and Home Depot.

Blue-haired grandmothers with ample padding in the rear are the worst.

They will knock you against the boards in the checkout line, which is more than you can say for our hockey-playing Caps, excluding the owner Ted Leonsis.

It seems Mr. Instant Message has considerably more fight in him than his players, judging by his mysterious altercation with a fan last Sunday.

Blame it all on the snowstorm that hit the area Sunday night.

Whew. That was a close one, by the way, touch-and-go for a while.

Some people clutch their favorite blanket during anxious times, while others cling to their duct tape, plastic sheeting and empty cartons of milk.

But now, thankfully, the awfulness is coming to a close, and we can put the nightmare of Storm Team Coverage behind us.

The phenomenon of team coverage is interesting, to say the least.

The local television outlets dispatch a team of intrepid investigators into the elements, along with rulers and public-service announcements, whereupon each sleuth dips a ruler into the snow to learn the inch count as a camera is trained on the process.

This undertaking almost passes for dramatic, especially if the enterprising person is standing in Damascus, where the snow accumulation is apt to be more impressive.

We were working on clearing the last remaining fallen trees from Hurricane Isabel until we received the one-two sucker punch from Old Man Winter this week.

Timeout. Why is he called an Old Man, anyway? Isn’t that sexist and ageist, an insult to Depends-wearing men across the nation?

It is certainly something to consider as we emerge from our cabins.

The bug-eyed motorists who plow into one another like bumper cars are speaking with their insurance agents as the rest of us return to our regularly scheduled activities.

So no one in the Washington region can drive in the white stuff, with the exception of the person who makes this telling observation.

We are confirmed wimps, the butt of jokes from the smug who hail from International Falls, Minn., and insist they are able to handle slick roadways like the best drivers from NASCAR.

There is an inevitable irritant to these proclamations, the bookend of sorts to being housebound with the funny-looking mug of John Kerry peeping out from the idiot box.

You know you have come down with the fever if you are reduced to evaluating the funny-looking mug of Mr. Kerry against the funny-looking mug of Steve Buscemi, two of the funniest-looking actors around, though it’s not clear which one deserves the top prize.

Ice, except in a glass, has been another problem this week.

It made the conditions absolutely, unequivocally, categorically treacherous.

Let there be no mistake: It was treacherous out there, treacherous to the zillionth power.

Forget driving in it. We do not even know how to walk on ice in these parts.

Being able to walk on ice is another one of those badges of honor that has arrived in this region with the transplants.

As fate would have it, the occasional new arrival is from Mr. Kerry’s state, though rarely as funny looking as Mr. Kerry or even Ted Kennedy, who, in fact, is starting to look like a blowfish.

Has anyone on Capitol Hill ever personified gasbag as well as Mr. Kennedy, who apparently leaves home each day only after inhaling vast quantities of helium?

You have caught the expanding nature of Mr. Kennedy during the Democratic primaries, and the threat implicit in his message is secondary to the threat of someone accidentally pricking him with a pen and sending him careening crazily into the air.

Washington, shivering under one of those cold-air fronts of January that inevitably surprise Metro train officials, probably could use a powerful measure of Mr. Kennedy’s hot air.

Well, it is just a thought to pass time until the spring thaw.

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