January 31, 2011

Do you have snow rage?

You just finished clearing your driveway after getting up at 5:00 am to be able to start your day on time when the blasted plow rumbles by, blocking your exit with a thick, heavy berm. It is the fifth time this has happened this week. What do you do?

a) chase the snow plow down the street to take it out on plow and driver
b) yell a stream of expletives, shake yr fist at the sky, then grab the shovel and dig
c) shrug, grab the shovel and dig
d) go back to bed
e) other unspecified nonviolent activity
Snow rage can be added to the growing list of rages, including road rage, air rage, office rage, work rage and rejection rage. The term was coined in 2008 when police in Quebec blamed snow piles for inspiring “a rash of snowblower thefts and incited at least two armed clashes." In 2009, there were two incidents of armed residents threatening snowplow operators in Spokane, WA. And now, we've got people attacking plow drivers on the east coast.

Wisconsin is not immune from snow rage, especially when a snowplow takes out our mailbox. But I like to think that we are a bit crustier and more pragmatic about blizzards here despite all the tv storm team build-up.

Anger management is important in any case of violent behavior. But, do we really need a special name for rage in various settings and circumstances? If so, maybe angry people acting out of a belief that global warming is causing blizzards should get a rage all their own: global-warming-caused-snow rage.

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