Peter Gelzinis, the stellar columnist at the Boston Herald and one of the more decent people in this sometimes less-than-decent business, hung it up last week, and I’ve got to admit Gelzo’s timing was exquisite.
His final column was a poignant coda to a long, distinguished career, about how he’d be spending time with his grandson instead of the ink-stained wretches he’d called colleagues for some 45 years.
Me? I’m stuck inside my house, writing what is most likely my final column, because we’re all gonna die, according to Storm Force 7.
Or was it Storm Watch 4? Or Storm Team 5? Or Storm Tracker 25?
I’m pretty sure it was all of them, because I kept flipping between them and the consensus was that it was only a matter of time before we all lost power and froze to death.
I’ve read various analyses of why the newest TV station in town, NBC Boston, is having trouble with ratings. There’s all this speculation about how it takes time to build an audience from scratch. But it’s pretty obvious to me that the main reason they’re struggling is because by the time they got around to branding their weather team, all the variations of “Storm [fill-in-the-blank]” were taken. So they call it Early Warning Weather.
Early Warning Weather? What good is that? To appropriately cover weather in Boston, you are expected to scare the hell out of people, if only subconsciously. At the very least, you need Storm in your title.
To its credit, NBC Boston calls its weather computer Storm Ranger.
I can forgive NBC Boston for having a lame name for a weather team. What I can’t forgive is their decision to preempt the Today Show so they could broadcast one of their do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do segments, showing one of their weather folks driving around in treacherous conditions in a souped-up SUV they call the Weather Warrior. In doing so, they deprived me, on the last day of my life, the incomparable joy of watching Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb get sloshed on live TV. If I somehow survive this, I will be sending a very tart letter to the suits at NBC Boston. The nerve of them.
Until I watched TV on Thursday, I was under the impression that this was merely a snowstorm, a blizzard, to be sure, but just a snowstorm. Something that, in my 58 years on earth, has occurred with some regularity during New England winters. But I was mistaken, naïve. Deluded, even. It’s bad. Really bad. It’s Bombogenesis, and anything with Bomb in it has got to be real bad. Worse than something with Storm in it.
The national networks were no better, hyping Bombogenesis with lurid headlines and apocalyptic language. Over on Fox News, they were calling it Obamagenesis, strongly implying that the blizzard originated somewhere in Kenya. Or was it Benghazi? I can never keep those two straight.
I noticed that the governor, Charlie Baker, has grown more comfortable in his role as chief reassurer. Three years ago, when he presided over his first blizzard, Charlie wore a business suit at the bunker in Framingham, which — while an improvement over the dorky fleece vest that Deval Patrick used to wear — was still a bit much. On Thursday, Charlie looked positively L.L. Beanish as he donned a very sensible half-zip sweater and said all the right things. He was lying, of course, suggesting that all would be well if we just stayed off the roads and hunkered down in our houses and rode out the storm.
Night was now falling, and so, on the South Shore, was a ton of snow. According to one of the Storm teams, if we somehow managed to avoid being suffocated by the snow, surely we’d die from the arctic cold front slouching in behind the Bomb Cyclone. It was all so utterly hopeless.
I turned off the TV and turned on the computer, put the finishing touches on the PDF version of my will, and e-mailed it to my lawyer, the great Kevin Burke. Then I powered down my laptop, cellphone and everything else, knowing that it was only a matter of time before the lights went off and my pipes and arteries froze.
I had been sitting in the dark for about 10 minutes, humming “Amazing Grace,” when the doorbell rang. My wife opened the door, then called out to me, saying that some guy was offering to shovel our driveway for 20 bucks. Even as I awaited Death, curiosity got the better of me. I got up from the couch, anxious to see what poor bastard was so desperate, more desperate than me, on this, the final day of the world.
It was Steve Bannon.Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org