Some years back, I wrote a column on the subject of how otherwise rational people can turn into blithering, panicky nitwits at the slightest hint that winter weather might be forthcoming.

I referred to that particular phenomenon as “snow ninnyism.”

As I recall, (it was a long time ago, after all), the column was inspired by a trip to the grocery store one winter night on which I found the bread shelves stripped completely bare by the rampaging hordes laying in supplies for the snowstorm we were supposed to get hit with, which, again, to the best of my recollection, never even materialized.

Another inspiration, I believe, was a headline I saw in an area newspaper (not this one, thank goodness.)

“Flurries threaten Tri-State,” it read.

That’s still one of my all-time favorites.

“Flurry threat.” That belongs in the Oxymoron Hall of Fame right alongside “alone together” and “rap music.”

I theorized in the column that perhaps the reason that snow ninnyism was so prominent in our area was that folks were so used to mild winters that it only took a minor blast of snow and /or ice (or even the mere threat of such meteorological activity) to send them into a tizzy.

Or, I opinined, maybe it had something to do with the tendency of TV weather forecasters to make every pending winter weather occurrence sound like the coming of the apocalypse (which they still do, in my most humble opinion.)

Anyway, a lot has happened in the years that have passed since I wrote that particular piece.

We’ve been through one eight-year presidential administration and (thankfully) almost all of another.

We’ve witnessed the meteoric rise and thunderous crash of one Britney Jean Spears.

We’ve seen the replacement of actual human contact with technology continue unabated.

And, for awhile there, my general feeling, wholly unsupported by any scientific evidence, was that snow ninnyism was on the wane.

It appeared to me that folks ‘round these parts had gotten better at dealing with winter weather.

Maybe we were hardened by that horrific ice storm we endured a few years back. Or, maybe we finally came to the realization that we’re going to be pelted with snow and/or sleet and/or freezing rain at some point every year, so best to learn how to cope.

That was what I had thought, anyway.

But, the reality of the situation is, there’s still nothing like a winter storm warning to turn people into a ravenous flock of fire-breathing, card-carrying, grocery-buying snow ninnies.

I was reminded of this just the other afternoon, when word came down from the National Weather Service that Lexington was getting hammered and that the bad weather was moving in our general direction. (To be completely fair, the storm did, indeed, arrive just a short time later.)

I was off work that day after working the previous weekend. As circumstances would dictate, I had to make a trip to the grocery store.

I never saw such a mob in my life. Not even during what I consider the halcyon days of snow ninnyism.

Old habits die hard, I guess. Or, maybe snow ninnyism is something that’s hard-wired into our DNA, a trait we inherited from our forebears, who perhaps weren’t among the heartiest of the pioneer types.

Or, maybe it’s just that we suddenly remember all the things we’re out of as soon we hear that it’s going to snow.

So, what was yours truly doing out grocery-shopping in the face of a snowstorm, you might ask. Doesn’t that make me a snow ninny, too?

Well, yeah, maybe a little.

You didn’t really think really I wanted to have to go back out in that crap, either, did you?

KENNETH HART can be reached at or (606) 326-2654.

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