Tuesday, March 29, 2005, Chatter • Working on being a weather shaman

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, March 29, 2005, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Everybody knows that old rhyme about how April showers bring May flowers. It’s one of my earliest memories. That and the silly little ditty about “Three Little Fishes.” (Actually, I think it’s really “Three Little  Fishies,” right? But that looks kinda weird in print, huh? “That shark almost ate us for seafood, mama.”)

These cliches have a nasty habit of cropping up now and then because they usually express a little bit of truth. OK, maybe April just came early this year. Check your calendar and see — Mel Gibson and Easter did, that’s for sure.

Here in Lassenville, our teams have had to struggle with the weather this season. They’ve not only had to face cold showers, but snow on the base paths and slippery, soggy grass, forcing the teams to reschedule games and practice indoors. I guess the hitters and the pitchers can sort of work out inside, although I bet they find it pretty unsatisfactory. There’s no way infielders can do much with the bad hops coming off hardwood floors or some variety of evil green carpet even if they wanted to. And outfielders — well, there certainly isn’t much for them to do indoors, either. The gym’s fine for volleyball, basketball and wrestling, but it’s not a proper place for baseball. No, sir.

Actually, the only vision of indoor baseball I’ve ever really enjoyed was in the movie, “A League of Their Own.” I’m sure you remember the scene in which Marla Hooch, the hard-swinging, not-so-feminine daughter of a high school baseball coach, has members of the baseball team diving and ducking for cover as she hammers a string of line drives that ricochet around the bleachers or smash through the windows into the middle of a driving rain storm. As much as I loved Megan Cavanagh’s portrayal of the homely Hooch, somehow, I don’t think that’s the kind experience our kids have had. (Boy, I sure would like to take aim at some of those big ol’ winders, though!)

The question is, can we do something about this horrible, four-bagged curse? Where are the gods of baseball when you need some sun to shine down upon you? Verily I say, can we control the weather?

I guess it depends on who’s talking. Why I’ve heard all kinds of discussions on our late-night Kook Radio (at least that’s what my mother-in-law calls it) about chem trails as a form of weather manipulation. And then there’s HARP.

A pony-tailed friend of mine always likes to say, “Thoughts are things,” and I’ve heard Native American elders declare we can change the shape of clouds with our minds — and if you don’t believe it, just give it a try! Of course, there’s always prayer and other not-so-religious forms of mass consciousness and/or our-intentions-always-lead-us-straight-back-to-our-reality scenarios.

Think snow! It’s one of those mantras the skinny, gor-tex-clad, be-goggled ski bunnies swear by every fall when Indian Summer lingers painfully like an aching yellow tooth. It seems to work for them. And sure enough, if they wait long enough — and think snow hard enough — eventually the white stuff will fall. Can’t we do that, too?

Hey, if pumping water into the earth (or sucking the oil out of it) can cause any number of natural disasters — earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions — shouldn’t we be able to do something about a little sunshine when we need it out at the old ball yard? (And just when should we start calling these deadly events unnatural disasters?)

Maybe we should just bring a motley bus load of long-haired, bat-hugging, bean-balling freaks to town to beat on their old Ray-Bans and dance in center field just like they did at Woodstock? (Nah, I don’t think Yo would go for that.)

So you see, it’s all up to me. Don’t be surprised when you see me jumping up and down on my balcony clad only in my holey Red Sox jersey screaming “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” repeatedly at the top of my lungs.

I’m OK. I’m fine. Really. I mean, somebody’s got to take that big, dangerous lead and make it happen. And when the hardball weather finally arrives, and the local teams get so hot they’re smokin’, I hope you’ll remember who’s responsible. Don’t forget it was me all along. I want all the credit.

Of course, by then I’ll probably be gnawing on my ice axes and crampons —  but that’s a whole other column!