The Lot

There was a time when weather forecasters were called weathermen. But, as women entered that industry’s workforce, the occupation’s title no longer worked, so a change was needed.

And that’s where I get curious…

Why are meteorologists called meteorologists? Why aren’t they called weatherologists? Biologists study biology. Physiologists study physiology. Psychologists study psychology. It would certainly seem logical that meteorologists would study meteors. But they don’t.

The weather forecasting industry snagged the meteorologist name first, leaving the real meteor scientists with “meteoriticist.” Takes me about four times to finally pronounce it correctly. And even then, I sound like I’m calling someone a “meteorite racist.” “HEY, YOU!!! YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A BIG FLYING SPACE ROCK HATER!!!”

I mean, if there was a choice to decide between weatherologist or meteorologist, how difficult could it have been? I can only imagine the weather forecasting powers-that-be, formulating the identity of their industry as they sat around a solid oak conference table in their think-tank room…

Genius #1: “These people who will study and forecast the weather…just what shall we call them?”

Genius #2: “Weather trolls?”

There are 18 geniuses in the room. (Yes, it’s a very big table.) None of them chuckle at weather trolls, as they discuss its possibilities. Except for genius #9. He gives it a big thumbs down, but is immediately swatted on the top of the head by genius #10 (who, by the way, is a much larger genius).

Genius #9: “What was that for!!?”

Genius #10: “You’re acting like a child.”

Genius #9: “I’m acting like a…we’re discussing ‘weather trolls’, and I’m acting like a child? Seriously…weather trolls!?”

Genius #1: “Alright #9, calm down. Any other suggestions?”

Genius #4: “Weather puppets.”

Genius #9 stands up and shouts, “THIS IS THEEEEEE MOST ASININE MEETING IN THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION!!!!” As genius #10 raises his hand, threatening to swat again, #9 cowers in silence.

Other geniuses give more ideas…
“Weather cops”
“Storm wolves”
“Masters of Prediction”
“Humidity hounds”
“Climate clowns”

Genius #9: “Who the hell suggested ‘climate clowns’? #4 was that you again?”

#4 proudly raises his hand and nods.

Genius #1: “Perhaps, #9, you have a better suggestion than those already proposed?”

Genius #9: “I do have a better one.”

Genius #1: “Which is…?”

Genius #9: “Weatherologist.”

Genius #10: “That does it!! Enough of your smart mouth!!”

#10 yanks #9 up out of his seat, then puts him in a headlock before delivering five stinging swats and a scalp-burrowing knuckle rub.

Genius #1: “Weatherologist!!? WEATHEROLOGIST!!!!? #9 this is preposterous!!! Out to The Lot!!!”

Genius #9: “Noooooo!!! Not The Lot!! Please, I beg of you!!”

It is all too late. #10 grabs him by the shirt collar and, with the assistance of four other geniuses, he is escorted down a long hallway to the front glass doors of the building. There, he looks out at the cold, snowy January day where a sharp wind cuts through some barren trees. Genius #1 walks up to his side and hands him a snow shovel.

Genius #1: “You know the rule: Act like a child, pay the price.”

Genius #9: “Seriously, sir…you guys were actually discussing weather troll as a possibility? Was weatherologist was really that bad of an idea? I mean, seems like the obvious choice to me.”

Genius #1: “Preposterous!”

Out the doors he went while they threw his coat and gloves at him. He and the seventeen others had been called to the emergency meeting on a Sunday morning. The building was normally closed on the weekends. But on this particular day, the geniuses had convened to make history by name-branding the weather specialists.

The Lot—the building’s parking lot was covered with ten inches of snow. It would take #9 the rest of the day to shovel it. If he declined the job, he would forever be stripped of his genius status. And that, he knew, was simply not worth it. After all, he’d been in this situation before, when, in the spring, he had to mow the perimeter lawns. Weather trolls. Climate clowns. Good lord, what will they ever think of next?

As #9 shoveled into the night, the geniuses settled into the trenches of their marathon meeting, deliberating over more identity suggestions. “Storm troopers” was at the top of the list, until genius #1 mentioned it might have a slight copyright conflict with Star Wars.

Genius #4: “Then what about Darth troopers?”

Genius #1: “Darth troopers? Are you serious? I mean that has nothing to do with anything. That doesn’t even make Star Wars sense. #4 you’re getting real close to a snow shovel.”

Genius #10: “Shall I swat him?”

Genius #1: “No, not yet. But what you can do is give me a winning suggestion. No one’s going home until we finish what we set out to do.”

As another hour rolled by, appetites grew hungry, and pizza was delivered. Crusts were tossed out to Genius #9, who was nearing completion of his back-breaking punishment. It was customary to be fed like a dog when working The Lot.

Gnawing on a crust with the hint of pepperoni, he saw a streak of light cut across the night sky. He knew shooting stars were more common in the summer months, so it was a bit of a surprise. Could this be a sign?

And then it hit him: Meteor!! He quickly finished his last few feet of shoveling, then ran inside the building to rejoin the meeting….

Genius #1: “Welcome back #9. Finish the job?”

Genius #9: “Yes, sir. And thank you so much for the table scraps. Delectable.”

Genius #1: “Do I detect a hint of unnecessary childish sarcasm?”

Genius #9: “My apologies. Sir, if I may…I have a revelation to share with the group. I believe I have a worthy identity suggestion.”

Genius #1: “Then proceed.”

Genius #9: “Let me ask all of you: What single force of nature has the ability to alter the Earth’s weather patterns? And I’m talking about a global scale.”

Genius #4: “Hurricanes?”

Genius #9: “Nope.”

Genius #10: “Such a stupid question. Blizzards.”

Genius #1: “Blizzards? Global blizzards? How might that be possible #10?”

Genius #10: “I dunno.”

Genius #1: “You know #10, sometimes I really wonder how you ever achieved genius status. I swear you’ve got a lot more brawn than brains.”

#9 couldn’t help but smile at this little beating #10 was finally getting.

Genius #1: “Ok, # 9…cut to the chase. Enlighten me.”

Genius #9: “Meteors, sir. A giant meteor could generate global climatic changes. And only one person could forecast it all. Get where I’m going with this?”

Genius #1: “Are you suggesting…meteorologist?”

Genius #9: “Yes I am, sir.”

Genius #10: “He’s an idiot!”

Genius #1: “He’s a GENIUS!!!”

Genius #10: “WHAT!!!?”

Genius #1: “Absolute genius!! And you #10, you big thug….to The Lot!! All that snow #9 shoveled—I want it back where it came from!”

It would take #10 well into the early morning hours in order to finish the unprecedented job of putting the snow back from where it had previously been shoveled. Not long after he was sent outside, the remaining geniuses had voted unanimously to go with “meteorologist” as the title to call anyone who studied or forecasted the weather. Of course, Genius #4 strongly suggested they vote for “meteorologist Darth trooper dude”—a suggestion that caused Genius #1 to lose his patience, sending #4 out to The Lot as well.

Genius #1: “It’s hard to find good geniuses anymore.”

Genius #9: “Well, I’m glad I could help”

Genius #1: “And to think that you actually considered weatherologist as a possibility.”

Genius #9: “Yeah, just what was I thinking?”

Copyright Ros Hill 2017

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