El Nino Made Me Do It!

By: Tim-Knox

For years, I've been trying to convince my friends and family that outside forces caused me to do most of the stupid things I've done in my life. Though they would never come right out and say it, I'm pretty sure the only thing they are convinced of is that I'm really just a highly functioning idiot savant, kind of a high octane Rain Man, if you will. Maybe that's why my wife never lets me drive.

Granted, I have done some pretty idiotic things over the years, not a lot of idiotic things, mind you, but there are several skid marks along my psychological interstate that I'd like to blame on something other than my own fallibility.

For example, I've always said that it was teenage peer pressure that made me wear bellbottoms, stacked-heel shoes and loud polyester shirts in the seventies. Truth is, peer pressure had nothing to do with it. I was a disco duck by choice.

Skid mark number one.

I still believe it was a rare brain disorder that caused me to scoff when a financial planner showed me the prospectus of a little software company that was about to go public, a minor firm by the of Microsoft. "Computers are a fad," I remember saying. "Betamax videotapes, that's where my money's going!"

Hear those brakes? Skid mark number two.

And to this day no one believes me when I say that it must have been something I ate that caused me to vote for Fob James - twice.

Skid marks three, four and five (I give myself bonus points for this one).

But now, my loved ones are going to have to eat a little crow because I have discovered the perfect excuse. This excuse is so good I think it may even cover future stupidity! Blanket coverage, that's what I've got.

Pay close attention because soon, very soon, you'll be using this excuse, too. Ready? Here it is.

El Niño made me do it. Ah, redemption...

Now I'm not Catholic, nor am I a weatherman, but I'm pretty sure this is the meteorological equivalent of a whole bunch of "Hail Mary's." Say it with me now and experience your own absolution from idiocy and guilt.

"El Niño made me do it! El Niño! El Niño! El Niño!"

There, didn't that feel good, like a great weight being lifted off your shoulders. Your slate has been wiped clean, my friend. You may now pass Go and demand your $200 with a sparkling conscience because El Niño has just taken the wrap for all your personal bleeps and bloopers. Go home, Dick Clark, there's nothing to see here.

I wish I could take credit for hatching this most excellent plan to blame a weather phenomenon for my woes, but I can't. Turn on any television, pick up any newspaper, and you'll find someone - everyone - pointing the finger at my foul weather friend.

Hurricanes, floods, droughts, blizzards, famine, Marv Albert's penchant for women's underwear - all are being blamed on El Niño.

When I decided to make El Niño my personal scapegoat, I knew that I would need a little BACKGROUND info just in case someone questioned my reasoning. I decided an expert was called for, so I dropped in on a friend who works as a TV weatherman. Now, I'm not talking about one of those "give me a loud tie and a Doppler radar to go" kind of weatherman. No sir, I'm talking about a bonafide, card-carrying, "I've got your meteorological seal of approval RIGHT HERE!" kind of weatherman. To protect his good name, I'll just call him Dan.

Here's how Dan explained it: "El Niño is the name given to the mysterious warming of the Pacific waters off the coast of South America every year. The trade winds blow across this large mass of warm water. The water evaporates and is carried off by the warm air, which means above average precipitation levels along the western Pacific seaboard and possible drought conditions along the east."

Wow, I told you this guy was good. If only he spoke English.

Here's a loose translation: El Niño is this big blob of warm water in the Pacific ocean and it's probably gonna screw up the weather somewhere, sometime, somehow.

I told Dan about my plan to pin blame on El Niño and asked if he thought it would work. He was certain that it would since people have been blaming El Niño for their troubles for hundreds of years. So it's not an original plan, but it's still a great plan.

Turns out, it was a Peruvian anchovy fisherman by the of Long Juan Silverado who first blamed El Niño for his troubles, all the way back in 1649. Long Juan noticed that the anchovies quit biting when the waters off the coast of Peru grew warm every year around Christmas time. Anchovies are a particularly finicky school of fish, preferring cool water in which to mate. I guess warm water must give female anchovies headaches because all Juan could catch were grumpy males, which tasted awful. This was probably when he coined that popular Peruvian phrase, "A warm anchovy is an unhappy anchovy!" That Juan, what a card.

The resulting lack of happy anchovies was devastating to the 17th century pizza franchise industry, thereby making them the second victims of El Niño. It must have been a sad day indeed for El Domino's and Papa Juan's.

Speaking of Juan, since the warming of the water usually occurred in late December, he dubbed it El Niño (English: The Child) for the Christ Child.

I'm just glad Juan didn't notice the warm water in November.

I'd feel really stupid blaming all my troubles on El Gobbler.

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From "Small Business Q&A" With Tim Knox Tim Knox is a nationally-known entrepreneur, author, speaker, and radio show host. Tim has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs realize their business dreams. To learn more please visit www.timknox.com

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