Guest post from my dad: “Outlawing the seasons”

Please enjoy this guest post from my dad, who, like many of us, has a lot to say on the topic of weather. When he’s not guest blogging here, Jonathan Lehrer can be found blogging at, working as the president of Jonathan Lehrer Communications, Inc., writing Purim Schpiels, and just being generally funny.


Another thousand or so inches of snow are expected in Chicago today.

This, of course, is a violation of the Seasonal Contract, an agreement we all have implicitly signed with the Weather Gods of the Windy City. I agreed to endure snow and freezing cold for parts of November, December, January and February. The Weather Gods agreed to make it all stop by early March.

The Weather Gods have failed me and I’m none too happy about it.

For me (and you, probably) the “polar vortex” has inexorably led to “municipal depression,” a kind of citywide sadness that is not alleviated by the 15 minutes of sun we catch every once in a while.

Working in my near-freezing basement office yesterday, and trying to get my core temperature somewhere close to normal, I daydreamed that Rahm Emanuel devised a solution.

Fresh from the polar plunge he recently shared with “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon the mayor got an idea.

“We are outlawing the seasons,” said Emanuel in my daydream. “Words like ‘spring,’ and ‘summer’ have no consistent meaning here, so I will be asking the City Council to make them illegal in Chicago.” Emanuel explained that his ice-induced brainstorm would be beneficial to the Chicago Office of Tourism, which until now has had a tough time extolling the virtues of our city for a good part of the year.

After a three-minute discussion, the City Council voted 50-0 to adopt the mayor’s proposal.

The ordinance requires that each day have a weather designation, but we are no longer allowed to say things like “This winter really sucks.”

In the old system, I would look at the calendar and start getting my hopes up for good weather around this time…in mid March. Too often I have been bitterly (i.e., bone-chillingly) disappointed.

Keeping in mind that the Hebrew translation of Emanuel’s name is “God is with us” the mayor’s new system simply prevents me from actually hoping for good weather. Instead, every tomorrow is a new surprise.

For example, in a week that might include extremes such as Arctic Hell, Blistering Sun and Unbelievable Winds, a day described simply as Tolerable would be a pleasant surprise. And its memories would sustain me for the next two days of, perhaps, Gray Slush and Puddle Splashing.

In mid-August, when I am sweating and watching my front lawn wither away, I may try to cool off by fondly remembering the last day designated as Arctic Hell.

Wait, who am I kidding? At the rate we’re going, my front lawn will still be under two feet of snow in August.

But at least I won’t be allowed to say “This summer really sucks.”


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