Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

The tragic-comedy of weather



By G.D. Maxwell

The accepted formula for comedy is tragedy plus time: C = Tr + Tm.

Time, of course, is relative. I think it was Einstein who said that… shortly after he and Mrs. Einstein returned from a ski vacation where it rained the entire time they were slopeside. That’s a guess on my part so don’t hold me to it and, if you’re still attending high school, don’t use it on a test. Unless your teacher has a good sense of humour and appreciates the formula for comedy.

Some tragedies are so, well, tragic, the amount of time needed before they’re appropriately the butt of jokes is glacial. You probably haven’t, for example, heard any good tsunami jokes yet. Rumour has it you still won’t get much of a laugh south of the border over the Kennedy assassination. To be fair though, given the thin skin of 51 per cent of the population about Bush jokes – which seem to be a naturally occurring phenomena whenever he opens his mouth – inquiring minds have to wonder whether there might not be a first derivative of the formula yet to be discovered.

And it took the better part of one hundred and twenty years before anyone finally achieved enough closure to laugh about Lincoln’s death, e.g., "Other than that, how’d you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"

All this is by way of prelude to a very unfunny topic, one I’d be happy to spend the rest of this column not talking about but, like picking at a scab, feel strangely compelled to comment on: the weather.

Sam Clemens said the weather was something everyone talked about but nobody did anything about. He also said something about death and taxes. If he were here right now, I’d happily beat him about the head with a stick… if I could find one that wasn’t so waterlogged it wouldn’t break at the first good blow.

You are, unless you just arrived, and even then you’ve probably arrived in time to get in on the glory, visiting or living in Whistler during the single most foul stretch of weather in the single most foul ski season since before the "wise spirit rose from the life-giving cedar," to borrow a well known phrase from our First Nations friends. That alone is worth a T-shirt: "I swam Whistler-Blackcomb – January 2005!"

How bad is the weather, I hear you ask? The weather is so bad that even the mountain’s Snow Phone – Motto: Blowing sunshine into the darkest cloud. – that took Tuesday’s weather report (overnight we had 17 millimetres of rain and two centimetres of snow) and converted it into a cheery "Whistler Blackcomb got TWO CENTIMETRES OF SNOW OVERNIGHT, actually reported Wednesday that conditions were "challenging" on the mountains. Of course, it also announced the mountains were virtually closed so one may overlook its somber tone.