Monday, May 23

As a former teacher, I love snow days, but none as much as this year | Life and Style

WWhen I started doing open mic nights, I had about five minutes of material. At the grassroots level, those gigs are horrendous, often in pubs where people didn’t come for the comedy, the mike goes on and everyone looks resentful at rookie comedians stumbling over their sets. The shows seemed hellish to me then; but locked up, the memory of them feels like an impossible paradise. Now, I would kill to have someone come up to me after a concert and tell me that they enjoyed every act except me, just like the old days.

One of the first jokes on that five-minute set was about snow: “One of my favorite things to do when it snows is go out and pretend to passers-by that I’m seeing it for the first time.” It’s not the best, but it was one of the few jokes in those early days that always elicited a laugh, sometimes very quiet, but still infinitely better than silence. However, there were some desperately infrequent days in England when the joke was elevated to legend, and that was when it was actually snowing. In those days, I opened my set with him: “Does everyone enjoy the snow? One of my favorite things… ”, and the audience would think that I had made that joke specifically for today and would laugh more, not knowing that I had deceived them. On snowy days, I would get out of bed knowing that I was going to have a concert that was more nonchalant than horrible.

Likewise, when my wife and I were teachers, if there was a possibility of a snow day, we would go to bed excited. We woke up early, looked out the window, and hugged each other with pure joy before heading back to bed. We loved our work, but no workday, as rewarding as it was, could compare to a surprise day off. The joy of this was only overcome by the desperation of seeing the snow and then checking the school’s website, only to see that the school was still open and that we were about to take a dangerous two-hour journey.

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However, none of those joys compared to the euphoria the Ranganathan family experienced when it snowed during Lockdown 3: The Lockening. We had fallen into the depths of boredom, talking about our least favorite toothpaste flavors, when our youngest son pointed out the window as the flakes were falling. We gathered excitedly at the window to see what the snow could bring. Would it be something new to talk about or, better yet, would it settle and give us something new to do? We jumped, high-fives, wondering if this would mean we could love each other again.

Sure enough, the snow settled and we got out. The truth was, it hadn’t been resolved in any meaningful way that you could enjoy, but that didn’t matter, it was something new! We walked around and talked about how snowy it was, and how tricky it was to make such a thin snowman on the ground, and then my wife and I talked about the days in our past when it had snowed, and we all enjoyed the fact that there was a new topic of conversation.

When we came in from the snow, preparing to talk about toothpaste again, my wife pointed out that it was the first time our youngest son had seen snow properly. It was the circle of life.

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