Friday, March 29, 2019

Readers Reply – and They’re Angry!

I knew I would get some angry feedback after a recent column. But the vitriol turned out to be in response to a completely different topic.

Two weeks ago, I discussed people who bring so-called Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) onto airplanes. I opined that I did not think it was such a good idea to be forced to share a cramped row of seats with someone else’s pet alligator or Shetland pony. If a person needs a pet to feel comfortable, fine, but what about me, who now has become rather UNcomfortable as a Pit Bull sitting in the middle seat next to me is staring at my jugular vein and licking its chops?

So, I figured my rather flippant way of describing pets would cause many animal lovers to send me angry email notes. Well, I did get a lot of reader replies, but they were overwhelmingly in support of my point of view. One person said, “The only ESA I need to make me comfortable on a plane is some Emotional Support Alcohol.” Hmm, OK.

The only note I received in favor of animals on planes came from a gentleman who pointed out, “I’d rather fly on a plane full of 4-legged animals than the 2-legged [jerks] that are usually on the flight.”

That’s a good point. Comfort pets on planes rarely get drunk, argue with the flight attendants, smoke in the restroom, or spend 10 minutes trying to cram a duffle bag the size of a Ford Fiesta into the overhead compartment.  

It turns out the column that did produce angry feedback was printed in the newspaper three weeks ago. In it, I discussed my fear of driving in snow and I made a few snarky comments about TV weatherpersons who excitedly hype every snow flurry as if it were a life-threatening blizzard.

Speaking of blizzard, I received a blizzard of email notes, each and every one angrily denouncing the way local TV stations go into BREAKING NEWS EMERGENCY CRISIS MODE every time there might be a little snow. The reader responses castigated local TV stations in general, and one weather forecaster in particular, whose name may or may not rhyme with Zott Zaney.

People complained about schools being cancelled frequently based on faulty forecasts; about the way every molecule of bread and milk disappears from store shelves the day before a predicted storm; and the TV stations’ annoying habit of interrupting regular programming at a really crucial moment of “General Hospital” to give another breathless update that it might snow in 18 hours.

The most interesting note I received was from a fellow who used to own restaurants in Connecticut and cited TV weatherpeople as a major factor in his decision to shut down his business. He said there were countless Saturday nights when the majority of his customers called to cancel their dinner reservations because the weather forecast was so dire. And then it turned out to be some scattered flurries that didn’t even coat the roads.

This former restaurant owner mentioned one particular “Zaney” TV personality as the prime “weather terrorist,” and insisted that weather forecasters cause more damage to the economy than Al-Qaeda terrorists. I took his comments with a grain of salt, since he seemed especially agitated while typing his email note. I’m sure if he had a chance to calmly and rationally ponder this issue, he would back off a bit and agree that weather forecasters aren’t that bad, and they only impact the economy like a ten-day power outage.

Overall, there was a lot of anger filling my email inbox. I wish people would be more polite and less impulsive, you know, like our Commander in Chief.

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