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Bernhardt column: Ice panic

Itís winter, and thereís no escaping the possibility of frozen precipitation.
In spite of our best efforts to prevent it, the moisture that plagues ball games and picnics in the summer will start to freeze this time of year, bringing life as we know it to a standstill.
Take comfort in knowing that there is a state agency designed just for this purpose, and on behalf of the North Carolina Department of Frozen Precipitation, or NCDFP as we in the biz call it, we humbly post the following cold weather recommendations:
1. At the earliest mention of frozen precipitation, it is your duty as a North Carolina citizen to panic.
Panic is a perfectly normal emotion, and we should not be ashamed of its benefits. In its mildest form, say when men experience panic when asked by their wives if ěthis dress makes my butt look big,î it is that momentary panic that steers us clear of certain disaster and causes us to mutter a safe ěof course not, dear,î when in reality, we are imagining a ěWide Loadî sign on her keester.
During inclement weather, the more panic we have out there, the better. It drives our economy. After all, when people panic, they buy things theyíd never think to buy otherwise.
They buy backup generators, generators to back up the backup generators, lumber to board up virtually everything, and marshmallows for hot cocoa. North Carolina marshmallow farmers report double digit increases in demand for their product during times of panic-driven inclement weather.
2. Also at the earliest mention of snow, sleet, or freezing rain, your presence at the grocery store is mandatory. A few of you out there are starting to shirk your responsibility in this area, and this can no longer be tolerated.
It is your duty as a North Carolina citizen to support the grocery industry by arriving at the store at the crack of dawn the day before the precipitation arrives and buy enough food and supplies to last you the next three winters. You must also have the necessary panic-stricken look on your face while doing it, demonstrating to all around you that the world is ending, and you ó only you ń will be prepared.
You of course will never use the thirty gallons of milk and fifty loaves of bread you bought, but when the world does end during the soon to arrive three-inch blizzard and thousands around you are starving, youíll be secure in the knowledge that youíll have plenty of milk sandwiches.
As an addendum to item two, you are asked by the NCDFP to strictly observe the ě12 items or lessî limit in grocery store checkout lines. Many of you remain convinced that the rest of us canít count, but times of weather induced stress bring out the worst in us all. So please, donít force us to revert to the days of grocery store turret gunners.
For reference, the NCDFP offers a free brochure, ěIn North Carolina, Twelve Means Twelve, Bucko.î Pick up a copy in your local grocery store.
3. Finally, those of you with four-wheel drive vehicles are asked to continue demonstrating to the rest of us that ěa little bit of ice ainít gonna slow me downî.
We realize that showing off is one of the main reasons you bought that monster truck, and your assistance in raising automobile insurance rates is greatly appreciated. So when you whiz around us in traffic on icy roads, we take pride in raising our fingers to let you know that ěyouíre number oneî. Plus, we genuinely love the big ěcrunchî sound your oversized vehicle makes when it finally slides off the road into the ditch just like the rest of us.
These are but a few suggestions on behalf of the North Carolina Department of Frozen Precipitation during these sensitive winter months. Please note that, due to recent budget cuts within our agency, sixty percent of our sleet division has been let go, and most of the freezing rain division was recently told to go to hail.
However, we intend to continue to serve the good people of the state with timely weather advice. Travel safely, and remember our slogan: ěHere in North Carolina, thereís no such thing as the calm before the storm.î
Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

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