A change in the weather...

In those olden day newsreels, do you remember those gargantuan weather balloons they used to send ascending into unknown whereverspheres to tell us here back on earth what was going to happen meteorologically for the next few days hence. Well who cares about the weather anyway, forecasting is just as lousy today as it was back then, if not worse. I was just wondering where all those dang balloons ended up. Have any of you ever found one? Did any of them ever land in a major downtown New York intersection say at the height of rush hour? Were deer ever in any danger of coming across them in the woods and accidentally ingesting some part or all of them and becoming ecological tragedies just so we could get forecasts that weren't usually anywhere close to being right anyway? Did they have a chase vehicle that would go and recover them? How did they get the information from the balloon back to earth...I suppose I could get the whole skinny on the internet or the old fashioned way, at the library, but really why spoil my wonderment. The answer will come to me one day soon no doubt...out of the blue.

When a weather person predicts rain for your area and it doesn't happen, where did it go? What are all those weather satellites banging around in space for? Why send up more of them when it don't seem the ones already up there are doing their job? I think the best attribute for a weather person to possess is a good personality so that pleasantness and decorum can be maintained when your so wrong all the time. I looked at a five day weather prediction earlier this morning and it's wrong already. Am I supposed to swallow the rest of it or just check in later to get another inaccurate forecast? It is usually at about this juncture in my piece that I make some sort of transitional moral comparison to an issue that closely parallels my introductory section...usually something that speaks to earthlings attempt at attainment of a higher spiritual plane.

The following bit of information comes to me from a friend of mine, Peter Gunther of Galesburg, Illinois, who has informed me that he came across this petite bit of important information that folks might find interesting: On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year. If it were one person a year, perhaps a young child . ..that, I could swallow...but one hundred? No way! What are these negligent ball point users thinking? ''Oh, I guess I'll just put my whole pen into my mouth and down my throat a little bit lengthwise and let it dargle (contraction of dangle and gargle) for a few seconds...it won't hurt anyone''. It could be a simple case of a nerdy type not paying attention while walking down a flight of stairs, briefly faux pas'ing and jostling one of these dangerous weapons loose from its' pocket protector and having it jump into the hole in his face... Maybe some people are smoking them and inhaling to strongly.

Who knows? I'm sure that at some point there will be congressional investigation and a safety action committee formed to make sure these lethal projectiles are affixed with an appropriate warning labels and kept out of the hands of those not adept in their proper handling. How about going after the manufacturers...the distribution system...the wholesalers and retailers with law suits? Ball point pens...who'd have ever thought? I can see it now, that magician who makes tall buildings and elephants disappear performing a new and far far more advanced trick with a ball point pen, clicking it open and closed, open and closed, admonishing viewers at home not to try this.

Finally ...I've come of late to abhor these commercials that depict this sad little cartoonish ball like something or other that's depressed and needs to take a pill to cheer itself up and make its life right. It occurred to me during one of these commercials that science and medical corporations are conspiring to make us live longer so that they can get our money through high priced medications and care facilities and Joseph and Josephine Q. Average can die broke and leave naught for their progeny. Talk about your basic quality of life. As so oft I have repeated...this all happens because we allow it. Many of these corporations, it seems are heartless.

We have been hypnotized, I think. We are weather balloons ...somebody fills us with hot air and up we go...never to be seen again, unless of course, we are punctured by some mad ball point pen.

J. Jules Vitali is a sculptor and columnist from Freeport, Maine, who has spent most of his professional life as a graphic designer. Contact him at styrogami@suscom-maine.net.

Uploaded to The Zephyr website September 25, 2002

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