5 Lies Hollywood Told Us About Snow

I grew up in Southern California and, even though I had seen snow in the mountains when I was a kid, most of what I learned about snow came from movies. When I moved to the Northeast 11 years ago, I was in for a rude awakening. Here are some of the lies spread by the movie-makers…and believed by at least one naïve Californian.

1. Snow is pretty and white. Sure, the first few hours after a snow storm are gorgeous. And if you’re lucky enough to see snow cover rolling hills or a group of pine trees, it’s especially majestic. But in the urban world in which most of us live, snow is dirty. The plows send loads of oil and grime mixed with chunks of white into piles that line the streets and parking lots. After just a day or two, the once white blanket is nothing more than grey mush.

2. Don’t eat the Yellow Snow….Oh no, wait. That one is true.

3. Snow Angels are fun. We have all seen the movie scenes of people smiling as they make snow angels, giggling as they flop around in the pure white puff. It’s totally bogus. My Freshman year of College, after the first snow storm, I was so excited to go outside and play. My team mates and friends all made fun of “the silly California girl” as I wrapped up for some fun. As soon as I found a fresh spot, I threw myself down on my back and started flapping my legs and wings. Within seconds I could feel the cold snow on my back where my jacket had been tugged up by my arms. I felt crystals on my neck, slipping between my hat and scarf. And since I didn’t have proper boots, my shoes were filled with snow by the time I stood up. Not only did my “Angel” look nothing like the one in the movies, but my playtime was cut short by the unexpected frost-bitten sensation coursing through my body.

4. Snow = Snowball Fight! I always thought a good, clean snowball fight was standard practice when it snowed. One thing they never share in movies is that it takes a special kind of snow to make a snowball. Sometimes, snow is too heavy and wet. Sometimes it’s too soft and powdery. Only rarely does one some across perfect snowball snow. Even then, throwing a ball of flakes packed into a make-shift baseball is quite difficult. In my experience, the snowball exploded over my own head mid-throw more often than it found its target.

5. It only Snows at night, when children dream of a White Christmas. I always imagined waking up on Christmas Day and racing to the window to share with the rest of my house, “It SNOWED!” I had this idea in my head that snow was made by magic. Unfortunately, it is much more common to utter the words, “Ugh, it snowed. Can I use your ice scraper?”

Advertisements

Scene Life, Take Two

An excerpt from Shallow Hal (2001), starring Jack Black and Jason Alexander:

Hal: You’re not serious! You actually think you’re more mature than me?!

Mauricio: You’re right…you’re probably more mature than me – but at least I have a biggerwilly!

[tick]

[tick]

[tick]

Hal: Yeah, bigger than a mouse’s.

Mauricio: What was that?

Hal: I said you’re willy’s bigger –

Mauricio: I know what you said – but, it took you like, 8 seconds. You can’t come back with a comeback after 8 seconds. You got 3 seconds…5tops! That’s why they call it a “QUIP“…not a “sloooow-p“.

Ever have those scenes in your life that didn’t quite play out the way you wanted them to? The kind where you wish you had all the time in the world to think of the perfect response? Or that you could just rewind time and do a scene all over again so you come out sounding like a champ? Well, let me tell you, that desire is HEARD on my end.

Scene 1 Take 1I consider myself a pretty well-spoken person. I am not the kind of arrogant jack-ass type that spits my views all over the place expecting everyone to just nod and agree. But I am also not the silent lamb breed that rolls over and takes it whenever faced with adversity. I pick my battles wisely, and when I feel something needs to be said, I say it.

But there are times, when the words I wanted to say just don’t come at the moment I needed them. I find myself replaying scenes of my life, rewriting my lines to make me the bad-ass champ they write in movies and shows. Olivia Pope meets Erin Brockovich, with a little Idgie Threadgoode thrown in there for good measure. Do I always regret the original words I chose (or didn’t say at all)? No way. But it sure is fun to play director and invent scenes that would have made my character pop on that screen.

Last Thursday was “Back-to-School Night” at my school. It’s when parents and/or guardians come in for a Meet & Greet with the teachers. They visit all the classes in their child’s schedule and learn the gist of what each class (and teacher) is about. As frustrating as it is to come back to work at night after a long day, I usually don’tmind Back-to-School night. I find it fun to explain what I do, why I do it, and the basic day-to-day of my class. I usually leave with a big smile on my face and a pep in my step because I just got to explain my cherished Personal Philosophy of Teaching 6 times to parents that clearly take an interest in the lives of their children (at least enough to show up!).

This year, however, I was not looking forward to the occasion because of one parent in particular. He is the kind of parent that is not at all satisfied with his son, the teachers, the administrators, the world – I mean he has some serious issues. But it seems he has taken a particular disliking in me over the course the last few weeks. He’s made it clear in recent emails and rants that I am “a terrible teacher.” The words hurt – oh how they hurt – but I try and focus on the kids (and his son really is a good kid) and on the positive feedback I get so regularly.

Needless to say, however, I was worried about Thursday night. During the time-slot designated to Period 3 when I have the above-mentioned student, sure enough Mr. MeanGuy shows up. I go through my spiel and end with the following: “Since tonight is not a conference night, I cannot take the time to answer individual questions about your child’s performance, but please feel free to e-mail me with questions, or you can schedule an appointment through our Guidance Department for an after-school conference.” I said this same thing to each class of parents that night, as well as to any parent asking specific questions. The administrators of our school insist that we do not treat Back-to-School night as a time for conferences, and I willingly oblige.

It was following my very clear final statement and dismissal to the next “Period” that Mr. MeanGuy approached me. He is taller than I and thick like a line-backer – altogether pretty intimidating even before opening his mouth. And then he opened his mouth. He began pointing his finger in my face and accusing me of being unfair to his son. His accusations were not only false but very disrespectful – all in front of many other parents in my classroom. I felt like crawling into a hole and disappearing.

In the interest of being respectful and professional, I answered with the same not-a-conference-night statement I had just made. He didn’t accept right away, continuing to berate me right there in the front of the room. I insisted again that he’d have to schedule a conference and he finally left.

I can’t stop replaying the whole scene over and over again, trying to rewrite my part. What would the bad-ass me have said? How might I have laid into him with the searing words of the strongest females on the big and small screens? I’ll never know.

Life isn’t a movie. Things happen and we either work to overcome them or we don’t. Sure, it would be great to be able to write it all out, plan it to the tee and cook up some awesome one-liners in the process. But that would mean we’d know the ending – and what’s the fun in that?