Snow Day Decorum

In January of 2011, during my first foray into blogging, I wrote a guide on how to avoid being a jerk on a snow day. In the years following, I would share this article on social media much to the chagrin of my friends who had grown tired of reading it. Yesterday, we had our first snowfall of winter, and within hours of the first flakes falling, I saw every rule in that article broken. It would appear that folks still need a regular reminder of how to behave when the fluffy white stuff comes down, and thus I share a slightly edited version of the original article here:

Many times in life circumstances arise in which upon taking the easy way out, you come off as a jerk. I would like to help you avoid the stigma of jerkdom (see also: assholiness, douchebaggery, dicktion) by offering you guidance on how to properly behave in certain situations. A prime example of one such circumstance is the snow day. Even now, years removed from school, the words snow day elicit a certain amount of excitement. That excitement lasts until you realize you have to get up, shovel a path, walk the dog, clear the car, and drive in this mess to get to work. Sometimes adulthood sucks. Yet, seeing as we are all adults here, we suck it up and do what we need to do. I believe it is called building character. Let's take our snow day, step-by-step, and examine how to properly go through the day versus how to jerkily go through the day.

SHOVELING If there is one thing about snow days that the majority of people would have a complaint about, it would be shoveling. I for one love shoveling because it is a decent workout that burns a fair amount of calories. Regardless of whether you do or do not enjoy shoveling, it has to be done. So let's take a look at the two options. THE JERK WAY: A jerk is likely to go outside with a shovel and do a quick hack job. He does not care if he is tossing snow into a freshly plowed street, his neighbor's already pristine sidewalk, in front of or onto someone else's vehicle, or onto the nearest fire hydrant. There is also a good chance that the jerk will forgo shoveling and instead use a snow blower and send high-powered plumes of the white stuff onto the aforementioned locales. THE RIGHT WAY: Shoveling the right way is done early. Chances are you had some inkling before you went to bed that it was going to snow. Therefore, you get up a bit early to give yourself the time to do the job right. You clear your sidewalk and/or driveway, and while you're at it, you take care of your elderly neighbor's walk too. Furthermore, to make life easier for others, you clear a path to the mailbox and fire hydrant.

WALKING THE DOG No euphemisms here, there are many people with pets and as a rule we generally prefer that they do their business outdoors. On a normal day, one would walk a dog, let it do its business in a patch of grass somewhere and clean up the mess. THE JERK WAY: Jerks everywhere believe in magic. As we all know, the world has extra special bonus magic when it snows. This extra special bonus snowy magic makes dog crap disappear so jerks do not have to bend over and pick it up with a plastic bag. THE RIGHT WAY: PICK UP THE FREAKING POOP! Seriously, all the snow does is hide it from passerby who are more likely to step in it now than they would on a normal day. You have a dog and part of your job as a dog owner is cleaning up properly.

CLEARING THE CAR

This is quite possibly my biggest pet peeve. Because you are now an adult the likelihood of getting a day off because of snow has somewhat diminished. Therefore you are expected to clear the snow that has accumulated on your vehicle and make the sometimes treacherous trek into work. THE JERK WAY: Clear about eight square inches of snow from your windshield, just enough so you can see directly in front of you. Get in the car, and speed off. Drive extra fast to make up for the time you lost that morning shoveling (at least you didn't have to pick up after Spike, thanks magic snow!) and do not put your lights on, it is morning after all. Cut people off that are driving too slow and flip them off when they honk at you. When you get to work, pat yourself on the back for using the winds on the highway to clear the snow off of your car.

THE RIGHT WAY: Clearing the snow off of your car effects more people than just you. Surely you have been driving on a snow day and had the misfortune of the SUV in front of you sending snow cascading down from its roof to your windshield, obstructing your view. Or maybe you have been cut off by the guy who neglected to clear his windows and did not see you next to him when he decided to change lanes. If everyone cleared all the snow from their vehicles, including all windows, the hood, roof, and trunk, I would be willing to bet that there would be much less traffic accidents on snow days.

In short, the idea is that in order to avoid being a complete jerk on a snow day, you just have to be considerate of others. Imagine for a moment, in this garbage fire of a year, if everyone was considerate and how much better the world would be. With that in mind, the next time you wake up to a winter wonderland outside, take your time to do things the right way.

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Verb. 1) Pertaining to the behavior of being a Wittwer. 2) Doing odd things that only Wittwers would do. 3) Catchall phrase for the thoughts and actions of Patrick Wittwer.