The Weatherman

by Clyde Lewis

"Oh the choiceless-choices we learned to embrace
in that other world in that other place,
where children burned while mankind stood by
and the universe has yet to learn why,
has yet to learn why."-Found in the Pocket of a dead Jewish Child

I must admit that at this moment in my life I am still obsessing over the experience that brought me back to my childhood home. After I spoke on my program about my bizarre hometown and my experiences there, many wondered if I had a horrible childhood. The e–mails poured in; there were many people who couldn’t believe what I was saying.

Surprisingly, there were others who were listening who had lived in Kearns before I did, and who concurred with me that there was something about it that seemed to be unreal or out of the ordinary.

Others told me that they did not envy the place where I had lived or the experiences that I had related. I must admit that there were times where I had wondered how I survived my childhood and I am sure there are many people out there who ask the same questions about theirs.

You learn to live with the area you were raised in, and, like it or not, it is your home. You make the best of it and keep on enduring until you can find that time to escape and find yourself elsewhere.

When I returned home from Portland I had to get back to business. It was an abrupt plunge back into doing my radio show and into preparing for the possibility of appearing in a national television show.

I was also looking into the possibility of writing a book and had discussed it briefly with Dr. Larry Johns. Larry, who has been a publisher of poetry, was working on his own book and wondered if I would be willing to put my thoughts together and write a book myself.

He thought that perhaps I should think about writing about my experiences as a talk show host. I told him that I have been writing a story a week for at least eight of the ten years that I have been on the air. The value of my writing, I told him, is that my past articles have somehow predicted the future, and that my accuracy seems to be better than that of most psychics.

He asked me how I felt about being called a psychic.

I said to him the same thing I had said to Sloan Bella.

I explained to him that I was not comfortable with the term, but if someone wanted to say that I was, I wouldn’t stop them. He then asked how I felt about being a prophet.

I cringed even more.

These terms seemed so over the top and so lofty that I couldn’t keep a straight face.

Larry said that it was time that I defined what it was that I did on the air. How would I define myself?

I said I was a talk show host.

Larry said that I was more than that.

I knew I was more than that but I didn’t know what.

Then I had an epiphany. It came from my childhood memories, one that I had abandoned and forgotten about. Fresh off of my sojourn to Utah and that bizarre journey to my hometown, I realized exactly what I was. After 10 years of doing my show I realized that I was a weatherman.

I smiled at Larry and said "By damn! I know what I am! I am a weatherman I predict the weather! "

Looking at me like a cow looks at an Encyclopedia Britannica, Larry wondered how I came to that conclusion.

I took a sip from my coffee and a big bite out of my sandwich, looked at Larry and told him that when I was a young boy I had a very keen interest in the weather.

I was particularly interested in huge storms.

When I was a boy I used to get a lawn chair out during a thunderstorm and watch the lightning strike. Back then I didn’t even think about getting struck by lightning, until one day I was out near my patio and the metal roof started to hum and I felt the small hairs of my arm begin to stand on end.

I knew that meant lightning was about to strike, and so I ran back into my house and sat with my dog, watching the rain come down.

I would see the strike and then count one–one thousand, two–one thousand, three– one thousand.

There was a sound of thunder.

So then I would take the seconds between the flash and the rumble divided them by five and then the answer would tell me how far away the lightning struck.

Three seconds indicated that the lightning was about .06 miles away.

I would keep a lightning diary and I would be able to see just how close the storm was and how violent the lightning was.

It was a hobby of mine.

While other kids would build models I would get a balloon and stretch it over a jar. I would then take a straw and glue it to the balloon. I would then mark the place where the straw would point either high or low and it was with this little balloon barometer I could predict the weather.

I even whittled myself a wind vane made of scrap wood. It had a tail and a propeller and I painted one of the sides of the propeller red so that I could calculate wind speed.

I got pretty accurate with my homemade weather station. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Burton, was so impressed with my weather calculations she took me on a special trip to meet Mark Eubank. Eubank was a television Meteorologist for KUTV Channel two. There I was, a ten–year–old at a television station seeing all of these people that lived in my television in person. I was nervous meeting Mark Eubank because he was like a high priest of weather.

He showed me weather maps, some of them very complicated maps that had lines and numbers. He then showed me a Doppler radar printout. Before the age of computer graphics, weathermen had to look at the map and color in the radar echoes of storm activity. He handed me a marker that was red and told me that if I wanted to be a weatherman I had to color in the "echoes." I was so nervous I almost colored in the Great Salt Lake.

He then took my colored blotches and put them on an easel. A cameraman then put the camera on the picture and used it for his forecast.

It was like I had taken a page out of a weather coloring book, colored it and then it was beamed into homes all over Utah.

I couldn’t even say anything to my friends at school.

No one would have cared about it as much as I did.

My Doppler radar picture on TV and no one would know how important it was to me.

From the fourth grade on, I focused on tornadoes and hurricanes. I bought books about them, collected pictures of them, and found out with great disappointment that tornadoes seldom show up in Utah.

I wanted to be a storm chaser and I seriously thought of moving to Texas.

When I was in high school I was failing biology. My teacher, Ms. Rudelich, told me that I needed a science credit or I wouldn’t graduate from high school. I went to the school counselor and asked if there was a meteorology class that I could take.

She told me that they discontinued the class because no one was interested. I told her I was interested and that maybe if I was interested, many other people would be.

I was the only one interested.

Mr. Edwards was the teacher and I told him that I wanted to study weather for credit and he agreed to allow me to do so. It was the only meteorology class offered at Kearns High School, and I was the only student in the class.

The requirement was simply to take weather readings and report the weather on our closed–circuit TV broadcast. I had to come in early every morning and mark my map with symbols and numbers. I knew what they meant, and I had to explain it all to the students, whom I assumed wanted to get on with their day.

I decided that in order to get through to anyone I had to call in reinforcements. So I would call in cheerleaders and the girls from dance club to come in and talk about their "warm fronts", and how they were cold and needed to warm up to someone.

One of these girls had the biggest breasts in the school. We called her Dixie D–cup and we invited her to talk about her warm and cold fronts as well. Rather than saying it was nippy outside, she would refer to her nipples as temperature indicators.

One day she knitted a weather sock (that looked like a penis) and said that she was going to sell them. She said that all you had to do was put it out your window and you could predict the weather.

She would say "If it is wet, it is raining, if it is dry and limp it is hot, if it is stiff it must be cold outside."

It was like I was the weather pimp. Needless to say, I was reprimanded for those ideas. But of course I was desperate in trying to make the weather more interesting than the stuff you got on the news. I also decided to ask the local news affiliate if I could use their satellite video. They let me and so I had to drive across town every morning at 5 AM to get the video to bring back to school.

I would also give my own weather. I would never copy the real weather from the television news, and part of my weather report was to explain how I came to my conclusions. I always had to write about why I made the predictions that I made. In order for it to be educational I had to even explain it to the student body.

That put me in the ultra nerd category pretty quick. I had to explain warm fronts, cold fronts, and occluded fronts.

The teachers loved my weather after that. The students were ambivalent. I longed for the days of Dixie D–cup.

Many times I would predict a rainstorm while the weathermen would predict sunny skies. I would mainly keep an eye on a cumulus cloud and if it began to boil up I would say that by afternoon we would see a little rain.

My teacher would tell me that I had a gift for predicting the weather. I got so obsessed with the weather I literally could smell a snowstorm that was on the way.

Many people can smell a rainstorm but I could smell the first snow.

The air would be crisp, and if I paid attention there would be a subtle smell of ozone. It is kind of like the smell of those air purifiers you can buy for your home.

After high school I lost interest in the weather and wanted to become a radio announcer or a television newsman. I wound up doing news and weather reports. I also did ski reports and gave my predictions for snow in the mountains.

After I worked for KCNR, a CNN affiliate, the news department was being reduced to make way for the talk radio people.

I began Ground Zero in 1995. It eventually became a show on which I would talk about future events that somehow would later happen. I would report the news before it was news.

People have been trying to figure out what I do. Even I wondered what I have been doing for the past ten years. Now I can safely say that I am a weatherman.

I make predictions. Many of them come true.

Many of my listeners have now cornered me and told me that I should start making note of all of the things that I have predicted over the years and see just how accurate my forecasts are.

I know that psychics get a bad rap, as do most prophets these days. But the weatherman only gets the heat if his forecasts are wrong, and for some reason we forgive him and still listen to him the next day.

Weathermen somehow avoid the ridicule of debunkers and so–called skeptics because somehow we take for granted that they are seers into the future. They merely make educated guesses about the movements and patterns and they work with probabilities.

They tell you that you have a 60 percent chance of getting rained on. Yet there is always that 40 per cent chance of having a sunny day. Even though people will swear by their weatherman, the truth is that our world is unpredictable and the climate is definitely changing.

The change is not limited to what we see in the sky. The political climate is changing, as is the financial climate. Our entire country is now experiencing a climate of division amongst its people.

Religious weather patterns are beginning to show that great storm clouds are gathering; the rumblings and the thunder we hear in the distance is the exploding of bombs and mortar as cultures clash and politics differ.

No longer is the weather limited to thunderheads and squall lines, but figureheads and battle lines.

Every single one of us is seeing that the weather is no longer limited to the sky.

The sky is not the limit anymore.

I look beyond the sky and I realize that many others can be weathermen. They must always look to the horizon, and when the storm clouds gather, it should be the responsibility of all of us to warn each other about what may be coming.

Even if you are bold and decide to make your own predictions and claim your own revelations, you need not worry if you are wrong. There are many people in the past and present of the world who have made their own predictions and have uttered the biggest gaffes in history, and yet they are revered as intellectuals and progressive thinkers.

Anyone care to know what Einstein said about Nuclear Power?

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will. –– Albert Einstein, 1932.

Popular Mechanics a magazine that as of late has attempted to destroy any thought of possible alien life on other planets claimed in 1949 that:

"Computers in the future may...perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons."

This is why I believe that debunkers and critics need to go back in history and realize that some of the most revered individuals in science, religion, and politics have been wrong.

Thomas Edison was known to have believed that alternating current was a waste of time. In 1633, Galileo was sentenced to house arrest by the Catholic Church for promoting his belief in Copernicus’ theory of heliocentrism.

It took the Catholic Church nearly 400 years to admit that the earth revolves around the sun. Pope John Paul II apologized and pardoned Galileo –– in 1992!

In 2005 it is important that you use forward thinking. It will protect you from the dangers that are lurking from weather and climate that seems to be out of control.

The cataclysms and the devastation are continuing their cycle. In the climate of religion and politics, the weather is as stormy and unpredictable as any tempest that may pound the Atlantic or any tornado that can now appear anywhere at any time.

This is our world now. We must admit that our safety lies in our ability to be weathermen.

We should not submit to fascist control and a police state of mind just because we feel that those in power are more capable of protecting us from ourselves.

There may come a time in the not too distant future where those leaders we have elected are wiped out. When it happens, will we allow for the power struggle to continue?

Will we succumb to a civil crisis and allow for mass panic to destroy the things for which we have fought for and suffered?

"Our government teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."–– Louis D. Brandeis, American Supreme Court Justice

Look around you and see that all that we do now contributes to the future. Like erosion to an ecosystem, the actions we take have consequences. In time the effects will appear and what was once pristine and beautiful will become blighted and destroyed.

It is time to resume control and limit our gambling nature. It is unwise to believe that the United States will always be the most powerful nation in the world. There are many out there who are harboring grudges and are plotting the destruction of our way of life.

It will not be limited to terrorist bogeyman used as tools to get the people to turn their rights and freedoms to a monolithic government.

It will all end in a flash of light. And as you struggle to lift yourself off of the ground, you can determine how far away the flash occurred.

From the time of the first strike you can count one– one thousand, two -one thousand, three–one thousand.

There is the sound of thunder.