Saturday, January 29, 2011


Peter Parker has been much in the news of late. Well, to be fair, the stories are less about Peter, and more about his alter ego, Spiderman. Spidy is having issues vanquishing his demons, not just the Green Goblin, but those that seem to inhabit the Foxwoods theatre. It's hardly surprising: Superman, Mr. Fantastic, Storm... all have to come to terms with their powers. Used properly, they can be a force for good. But it can just as easily go the other way. After all, we all know what happened to Luke Skywalker's dad, Mr. Vader.

For me, this has taken on new relevance as I grapple a similar issue: I too have powers I can't control. No, I haven't been sent here from another planet (Superman), been on a spaceship that traveled through the Van Allen belt (The Human Torch), or drank a bottle of super-plastic fluid by mistake (Bouncing Boy). But through some weird quirk of physics, I seem to be able to control the weather.

Unlike Red Tornado's talent with the wind, or Sarah Rainmaker's skills with water vapor, I seem to have a more general ability to conjure up atmospheric disturbances. True, I have yet to figure any conscious way of summoning, controlling or harnessing this power. But there seems to be no doubt, given recent events, I must be the one responsible what's happening with the skies.

I first became aware of this "talent" nearly 20 years ago. We had moved to a new house and had 2 small children. It was springtime, and a job came up requiring my presence out of town. All well and good. I made sure my family was comfortably ensconced in our new abode, and caught a plane to Iowa. And that's when the first storm hit.

When I landed and called home, I learned that a major Nor'easter had roared up the coast and we... or more correctly, my wife and family... were without power. I could only sympathize via phone as the outage went from one day to two to three. Eventually the lights came back on, and all was restored, though not without some spoiled food and frayed nerves. I returned home to war stories, making sure to offer up suitable sympathy for a hardship I had missed.

Fast forward to later that same year, and another project took me to another locale. Wonder of wonders, another major storm rolled in, and power was once again interrupted. I returned home shortly thereafter, trying to be empathetic, but this time being met by dirty looks for not having been there to be of help.

A pattern started to emerge. If I got a call to go out of town, there was a better than even chance that something would happen with the weather. Might be rain, might be snow, might be wind, but it was as often as not bigger than usual. Schools were closed and roads were blocked. And it would miraculously be sorted out by the time I got home.

Those among you with a scientific bent would call up the old correlation vs. causality argument, and point out that just because two seemingly unrelated events happen in lockstep doesn't imply control. After all, "The Today Show" doesn't make the sun rise, though one always precedes the other. And that might indeed be the case here. But then again...

In fact, to try and prove my powers, I recently accepted a gig in Florida. No sooner did I make travel arrangements than the weather forecast was modified to include not one, but two major snow events in my absence. Now, if you are the doubting type, you can say it was mere coincidence. On the other hand, I should note that according to the Farmer's Almanac, "For early 2011, winter will be milder than normal across the north....with precipitation below normal." And then I was called to Miami, and... well, look out the window.

It's not just me who thinks so. Like the Vatican's Congregation for Cause of Saints, there is an independent body that has examined the evidence and concurs.  Our neighbors have weighed in, and their opinion is unanimous. Perhaps best stated in an email my wife received when I was in Florida, "TELL MARC,COME HOME NOW!!!! Cannot take another foot of snow!!!!"

So apologies to all. I'm working on it. The good news is that I have nothing on my calendar that takes me out of town till May. But according to Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project, 17 named storms are predicted for 2011. So be smart: you might want to check my schedule before you book your summer vacation.


Marc Wollin of Bedford is working on his super costume. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, the Scarsdale Inquirer and online at

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