Oops–No Blizzard

It’s both fascinating and unsettling to see how little people are able to learn from experience.

Time and time again the noozies and the Weather Service trumpet forth warnings of impending snow, big-time, great suffocating masses of it. Time and again the people stampede to the supermarket and empty the shelves of milk, bread, toilet paper and batteries. Again and again this happens.

And then we get a few inches of snow, or even no snow at all, and the whole big scare turns out to be for nothing. It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that this is what always happens. The forecasts almost never come true.

Please bear in mind that I am writing from a part of the country characterized by cities and highly developed suburbs, and we have no mountains, no deserts, no forests, and no vast uninhabited spaces to cross before you can find a grocery store, hardware store, or hospital. Once in a generation, or so, we have a really bad hurricane; and that’s it.

So it really is not possible that anyone around here in Panic Land will ever be snowed in, cut off from civilization, starved, etc. At the very worst, emergency services will continue to function. If you need an ambulance, you’ll get one.

Why can’t they learn? Why, every time they hear a big snow forecast, do they repeat the same behavior? It truly never turns out to be necessary, it’s a lot of wasted effort and anxiety–and they never learn to react otherwise. It’s as if they are actually incapable of learning from experience.

Now I’ll bet, if you put your mind to it, you can think of other examples of sane people, not nuts, doing the same thing over and over again even though it always turns out badly for them.

Sobering thought, isn’t it?

3 comments on “Oops–No Blizzard

  1. I have often pondered this situation; whether it is bad weather predictions or any other disaster. It just occurred to me that it could be a hold-ever from childhood days when kids love the scary, thriller movies and even the old radio shows. Being scared and loving it is a strange phenomenon that
    I have wondered about often. I think we all are prone to this mindset to one degree or another. Most of us outgrow it for the most part as we live through a few decades that have proven most scares to be false. Then, along comes a 9/11 and we are all (or most of us) off to the races all over again. Of course there are disasters; almost enough to make us become jaded. On the other hand, threats still seem to produce the same old knee-jerk reactions in many of us. Another peculiarity of the human mentality, I guess.

    1. It’s one thing to enjoy a scary story, but it’s another to rush off to the supermarket and fight the crowds (if you can get into the building at all) for the last roll of toilet paper on the shelf. And they do it again and again and again! Even a starfish can learn from experience–and it doesn’t have a brain.

  2. Two reasons. First-butt saving. Second, like puppies, fun to chase the chickens around the chicken pen. Dave

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