Mad Dogs and Weathermen

Hunting man, they say, is the most dangerous game.

For about two years, I had a dicey hobby. It was stalking Fox 13 weatherman Damon Yauney. It started innocently enough. He’d come by the Tavernacle when I was bartending and order Captain Morgan and Cokes. Some would say he was just having a drink and watching a dueling piano show but I knew better. He was challenging me. Baiting me. Before I knew it, the hunter became the prey.

Do you understand what I am talking about? I don’t.

Damon used to come to the Tavernacle all the time and suck back a responsible amount of cocktails. He was quiet, polite and always greeted me with a big smile. With the exception of always calling me Todd, I never had a problem with him. I never understand why people mess up my name when I am behind the bar. It’s not because I am an egomaniac I think people should know who I am. It’s because I wear a nametag. Besides, I think I look more like a Ralph or Huey.

I bring up my manhunt of Damon for two reasons. One, I used to like putting him on the spot when I ran into at the supermarket and watch his eyeballs do a slot machine trying to remember how he knows me. Not so easy to remember that tab now, Pal. Two, is there a bigger bullshit job than reading the weather?

This is my impersonation of a weatherman, “Blah, blah, blah low pressure moving the clouds in. Blah, blah, blah probably don’t need to bring an umbrella. Blah, blah, blah, snowfall on the benches. Blah, blah, blah, I’ll be judging a chili cook-off at the state fair.” Providing you have good teeth, fill out a suit okay and don’t using any racial slurs, you’re probably a shoe-in to stand in front of a green screen and guess what the seven day forecast is going to be.

I know what you’re probably thinking right now, “But Benny, I love Kevin Eubank. Why are you being so mean? They’re just trying to help me decide whether or not I need to bring a scarf when I go to my kid’s soccer game.” Or you’re probably thinking, “Oh boy, here he goes again with a bunch of bullshit because he has a pretty good case of writer’s block but he doesn’t want to go clean up the yard or write about DABC stuff.” To the two people who continue reading after that, I want to say hello to my mother and Aunt Dee.

Talking about the weather is an old Raskin tradition. We love rambling on about low barometer readings, cloud coverage and the temperature. We horse-trade stories about who has the worst conditions outside of our front door and why did we ever move to where we are now. I got out of Las Vegas for a lot of reasons: gambling debts, ex-girlfriends, baby mommas, warrants, gun charges, drug trafficking, plagiarism and of course, violating 2/3rds of the Mann Act. Even with all of that pending, I didn’t think I could go through another Las Vegas summer.

Imagine getting into your car and immediately start to suffocate. Now, imagine burning your back fat on an exposed seat belt. Finally, imagine watching your CDs melt like a Dali painting, ball point pens exploding and living in Las Vegas and I think you know why I high-tailed it out of there. Living in Vegas during the summer prepares you for only two things: working at an iron foundry or wrangling dragons. It is hotter than a demon in Las Vegas during the summer and made life absolutely miserable.

Plus, there is a flipside to the Vegas weather coin—the winters aren’t much better. The Nevada desert is frigid during the winter with winds that cut right through you. The only thing colder than a Las Vegas winter was any slot machine I played or woman that I talked to.

Salt Lake City, on the other hand, is wonderful. You get four seasons, leaves change and your back fat is usually pretty safe getting in and out one’s truck. The seasons bring change and anticipation of better times. Fall is for college football and Halloween. Winter is for the holidays and getting up to the mountains. Spring means baseball and starting the garden. And summer is for Red Butte concerts and vacations. Las Vegas is a light switch: hot & cold. SLC is a dimmer with a gentle hand moving it up and down.

With that said, it still has some downsides. February and March destroy me with the inversion. I honestly get seasonal depression that isn’t cured with tumblers of bourbon. The sick, soupy air that hovers over the valley is disgusting and makes London fog look like a smoke screen. Escaping to Park City isn’t just a retreat during these months, it becomes mandatory.

I guess I owe everyone in Utah an apology for making a deal with the devil for a mild winter. After last year constant dig out, I wanted a winter that didn’t mean snowdrifts and scarves for six months. I’ll take a brutal summer because I enjoy being outside and I have central air conditioning. The problem is that with this Faustian bargain we’ll probably get snow in June.

You can’t win.

There is a weird bar corollary that the worst the weather the better the business. It’s counter-intuitive that people would risk leaving their house to go drink at a bar and drive home half-sloshed on fully-sloshed roads instead of pounding brews at home. In this regard, I wish the weather was worst. Every year it is a series of brave souls besting the elements to wait in line at the club to get the Hell out of their house. I guess it is better to watch dueling pianos on the weekend than reenact the third half of The Shining.

So, to Damon Yauney and the rest of his ilk: bring on the snow. Let’s get it out of the way. The water table could use a top off, the skiers need powder days and I don’t want to look at all of the dog poop I need to pick up in the backyard. I know your trade is tantamount to reading tea leaves but gives us a bit of hope and let’s get this winter started and over with quickly. If you could do that, I would quickly reassess your profession and get you out of the chiropractor rating.

Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main Wednesday through Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Check out the podcast at Salt Lake City PubCast. For the record, he actually likes Damon.

3 thoughts on “Mad Dogs and Weathermen

  1. My roommate in Denver always called blizzards “bar crawl weather.” Everyone on the road is going ten miles an hour all over their lane, so you don’t stand out getting home.

  2. I just had a chance to read this, and it proved to be prophetic – it actually snowed in June. Nice work!

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