As children, we reveled in snow days. Two feet of snow in a night? Time to break out the sleds. There was no Facebook back then. No Instagram. No Twitter. There was no way we could constantly update the world on the weather outside our doors.
That familiarity and coziness of snow days past still exists. We say things like, “Man, it took me an hour to dig my car out!” Our coworkers commiserate, sharing similar experiences.
But outside of our close social networks, something changes. We see friends, family, and strangers posting from other places. Talking about how bad their weather is. It’s worse where I live, we think. Exaggerations ensue.
“An inch of snow in Tallahassee? Please,” wrote Karen Partridge of Minneapolis. “I literally come from Hoth. We see a foot of snow in July. You think you have it bad? Try taking your kids to school by Tauntaun.”
“Hoth?” replied Richard Williams, a resident of Tallahassee, who was spending the day huddled in the North Face coat he bought three years ago for a two day trip to Boston. “I’m from Florida, which, as everyone knows, is a literal volcano. Come here in August and watch the skin melt from your lame-ass northern skin.”
“The owner of this lame-ass northern skin had lost six toes to frostbite by the time she was five,” was her retort, despite having posted a picture of her toes in the sands of Lake Michigan last summer. To our knowledge, they are all intact.
Will Fellows, a psychiatrist who helps people deal with their social media anxiety disorders, said that this “inclement weather one-upping” is hardly a new phenomenon, but the scale at which we see it certainly is.
“Pre-Facebook, you had to one-up somebody in person or on the phone. But today you have millions of people engaging in this. You’ve got people taking pictures and posting them instantaneously. You’ve got a photo of your dad standing by a four-foot pile of snow? Well, here’s a picture of my dad standing by a seven-foot pile of snow!”
As to why people are so obsessed this winter weather one-upmanship, Fellows says it’s likely to do with a mixture of people’s natural competitiveness and having fewer activities to engage in because the weather has been bad. “When you have temperatures plunging into the negatives Fahrenheit, and when you have foot upon foot of snow falling with no sign of relief, there’s not much to do besides shoveling your walk and posting pictures about it.”
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.