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Run for your Life
January 27, 2011 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Snow, and its diabolical cousin Thundersnow, once again has paralyzed the East Coast of the United States. This we know. What we don't know is the answer to the question: Why Is This Dude Running Through A Snowstorm Holding An Ice Cream Cone?

Some of the Buzzfeed commenters contribute their own theories.
posted by Potomac Avenue (73 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
What? You've never gone looking for ice cream on a snowy day in your shirtsleeves? (I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who does that!)
posted by LN at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2011


The ice cream called for backup.
posted by ryanrs at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Its cousin Thundersnow" made me hope it was a person.

Like this guy.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, I saw the lightning and heard the thunder last night and wondered just what in the hell had just happened. And now I know.

And obviously he is running with the ice cream because it's cold out, he's wet, and he's not wearing a coat. You want he should freeze?
posted by uncleozzy at 1:27 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


the Thundersnow woke me up at 4am with a huge jolt cause I heard the most AMAZING bang and I ran to the living room thinking a tree fell or the snow knocked off an A.C unit or something. There was nothing. I ran to the windows to check if the fire escape was still there when I was suddently lit up by the biggest, brightest, purplest lighting crash I had ever seen. The entire room was lit up for a full 2 seconds in the sharp light. Everything was orange after. Afterglow. My hair was standing on end.

I then went back to bed as not to anger Thundersnow again.
posted by The Whelk at 1:27 PM on January 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


I'm going to fall back on temporal anomaly this time. Been watching too much Dr. Who lately.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:28 PM on January 27, 2011


Obviously the Snowlympics.
posted by effluvia at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2011


The better question is why not run through a snowstorm holding an ice cream cone? What's wrong with those other people?
posted by fyrebelley at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2011


At least it wasn't a tattoo of an ice cream cone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2011


Listen all! This is the truth of it. Cold leads to ice, and ice gets to cream. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about the weather! But we've learned, by the dust of them all... Bartertown learned. Now, when men get to eating ice cream, it happens here! And it finishes here! In Thundersnow!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:30 PM on January 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


Those of us in Western NY, the former snow capital(s) of the state, find the snow in NYC to be hilarious. Perhaps even more so given that the storm missed us completely.
posted by tommasz at 1:31 PM on January 27, 2011


Hillarious. Four people made it in to the office today. Four people!
posted by Ad hominem at 1:32 PM on January 27, 2011


A: ice cream is tasty.
posted by boo_radley at 1:35 PM on January 27, 2011


Hillarious. Four people made it in to the office today. Four people!

The weird part is you're a sole-proprietor.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:36 PM on January 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thundersnow is a rarity, a wintertime thunderstorm with snow instead of rain. These storms spawn long, low rumbles of thunder, sometimes with lightning flashes. The lightning can stretch out in long creepy-crawly branches moving over tens of miles, similar to the lightning in squall line storms during Midwestern summers.

I once lived in a place where "thundersnow" was pretty common in the winter. We would get lake-effect-type storms (called the "Siberian Monsoon") that would just slam into town from off the coast. Tall mountain ranges bordered us on three sides, so there was no place for these air masses to go, and we got heavy dumps. I remember taking the dog out for a walk in a snow storm, and it seemed as though the lightening was discharging right over my head. There were amazing purple flashes and balls of plasma. Good times.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The question should be: why isn't he naked?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thunder... THUNDER... THUNDERCAT SNOW!
posted by steef at 1:38 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There may be some debate about running vrs walking through a rainstorm and how wet you will get (*), but I can assure you that running through a snowstorm is definitely warmer then walking. So he is just showing good sense.

(*) Ok, the only debate is by people who have looked it up, but still.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:39 PM on January 27, 2011


Is the question somehow implying that ice cream shouldn't be consumed in cold weather?

Because that offends me on a deep and personal level.
posted by utsutsu at 1:42 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kudos to that editor who said: "Yes! That's the picture we want on the front page of the Washington Post. Yes."
posted by montaigneisright at 1:43 PM on January 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


Also it's pretty clear what happened here is that Skippy from Family Ties was eating an ice cream cone sometime during the summer of 1987 and got sucked through a wormhole to winter of 2011. I mean, duh.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:44 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually maybe it was spring.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:44 PM on January 27, 2011


Thunder...

Thunder...

Thundersnow...

Hoooooooooooo~!
posted by vorfeed at 1:45 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess he got ice cream because he favoured something sweet instead of savoury. Me, I would have gone for one of those footlong sandwiches, variously called subs, hoagies, torpedoes, etc.

But that guy decided he didn't need another hero.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:45 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


guys can we just get beyond the thundersnow?
posted by The Whelk at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2011


Weather-Channel-hype term aside (I mean, "thundersnow"? sheesh) I first heard thunder during a snowstorm when I was in junior high, in upstate NY. That would have been the mid-70s. It's hardly a new thing, though of course it is much rarer than warmer weather thunder.

Also, I am sad that others beat me to the Thundercats jokes.
posted by aught at 1:50 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I take it I'm the only one who saw the big feature in the Styles section awhile back on how New York hipsters are all into ironic "equilibrium" snacking these days.

As I recall, it started with a hot chocolate stand on a Williamsburg street corner durning last summer's heat wave. Then some boite in Alphabet City started serving browned-greens salads as their November special, and now it's all about the ice-cream-in-a-blizzard wind sprints.

Kids these days, you know?
posted by gompa at 1:50 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thundersnow: Two flakes, one flake leaves.
posted by tommasz at 1:52 PM on January 27, 2011


At least there were no gun-happy cops at the snowball fight.
posted by rtha at 1:53 PM on January 27, 2011


That last comment should have read:

Thundersnow: Two flakes enter, one flake leaves.
posted by tommasz at 1:53 PM on January 27, 2011


He is doing it ironically.
posted by Iron Rat at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2011


I'm going to be honest. I don't really believe in Thunder snow. I've never seen it. There's no real proof of its existence other than the fact y'all really want to believe in Thunder snow. I'm a thunder snow atheist.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:04 PM on January 27, 2011


The Ballad Of Thunder Snow.
posted by The Whelk at 2:13 PM on January 27, 2011


what is this meme thing, this sad keanu/prancing leo/ice cream runner thing where you cut the guy out and stick him in other images? what's that called, aside from "everyone has a copy of photoshop"? It's hilarious, yes, but I'm just wondering if it has a name. And if people did it before there was a way to manipulate and then distribute an image cheaply. I mean, we used to cut people and backgrounds out from magazines and catalogs but that was mostly to tape them to binders or play with them. It would not have occurred to us to mash them up in a funny-by-contrast situation and caption it and pass it around the classroom. Makes me sort of feel sad for lost time, now that I think about it.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:13 PM on January 27, 2011


If there is such a thing as global warming, why is there thundersnow? And ice cream? IN YOUR FACE AL GORE.
posted by norm at 2:15 PM on January 27, 2011


Technically Keith Talent, I think you would only 'hear' thundersnow. So really, you should be a thundersnow agnostic. Just sayin'.
posted by bquarters at 2:16 PM on January 27, 2011


Makes me sort of feel sad for lost time, now that I think about it.

Pass the madeleines, Marcel.
posted by aught at 2:18 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am disappointed to have not heard any thundersnow. Or as I like to call it, Thündersnöw! \m/
posted by JoanArkham at 2:19 PM on January 27, 2011


peachfuzz: Photoshop meme or photoshop contest. See also image macro and Photoshop Phriday.
posted by jng at 2:21 PM on January 27, 2011


I had a thundersnow sighting while I was out shoveling when it was coming down. There was a huge flash and a bang of thunder. Then I heard someone a block away yell "HOLY SHIT!" Indeed.
posted by peeedro at 2:22 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The answer is that his wife is pregnant.
posted by annsunny at 2:25 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


T̪̮h͚̜̯̙̊͌ͩü̥ͨ̓̎ͯ̔͡n̻̦͕͛͐̏ͯ̊ͦ̇͟d̙̉͆ͣ̉ͦ̀͞ͅe͈̜̹ͮ̌͂̒̐̃͝ͅr̛̪̗̞̪͈̄ͪ͐ͯs̙͕̔ͦ́͗n͈͕͚ͦ̌̎̈̈́̀ö̡̫̩̲͈͔͚͐͊ͅwͭͭ
posted by Dumsnill at 2:26 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The answer is that his wife is pregnant.

Do you see a wedding ring on his finger? Does that place look like he's fucking married? The toilet seat's up, man!
posted by Copronymus at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whoa, slow down THUNDERSNOW.

Seriously though, my girlfriend was in the car for 9 and a half hours yesterday for what was supposedly a one hour drive and then her flight out of Dulles was cancelled, leaving her stuck on someone's couch in some pissy little suburb (Chantilly maybe?) for two days instead of Disney World. What the hell kind of country are you running over there?
posted by doublehappy at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2011


When you need ice cream, you need ice cream. Thundersnow be damned.

(Yes, I live in Boston. We love our ice cream here!)
posted by rosa at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2011


People get really angry about this kind of thing. I remember walking along the sidewalk eating ice cream with a friend one winter, and a man lowered his car window and yelled "WHY DON'T YOU JUST LOSE THE GLOVES?" This could presumably have been construed as helpful advice to keep us from getting our gloves dirty, except that he was evidently quite upset at the sight of us.
posted by invitapriore at 2:48 PM on January 27, 2011


Sorry, dude. No ice cream when there's an 'R' in the month.

I don't make the rules. I just know that if anyone breaks them, they'll have to answer to my mother.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:50 PM on January 27, 2011


Sorry, dude. No ice cream when there's an 'R' in the month.

That's four out of twelve months that you're allowed to eat ice cream. How do you feel about dancing, Rev. Parris?
posted by invitapriore at 3:02 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


No ice cream in April or September? Feh.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:06 PM on January 27, 2011


I was in traffic for 4 and a half hours yesterday. At some point I couldn't hold my bladder back any longer. I got out my car on the side of the road and took a long wiz screened from millions of headlights only by my sedan. It was interesting how once I broke the taboo, other men exited their vehicles and pissed as well. I'll never forget the chain reaction as I saw drivers ahead and behind suddenly decide, you know what, he's right traffic hasn't moved a foot in the last hour, I'm going for a piss break. A couple of guys got out and smoked, another stretched. Quite a few brushed their cars off before getting back into their cars to go nowhere, but now slightly more comfortable.
posted by humanfont at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, over here in Silicon Valley, it's oh my God, it's down to 68 degrees! I had to put on a sweater last night! A SWEATER!

I don't know HOW I'm going to survive this harsh weather.
posted by happyroach at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2011


uncleozzy: "You know, I saw the lightning and heard the thunder last night and wondered just what in the hell had just happened. And now I know."

Felt the lightning. And we waited on the thunder.

Waited on the thunder!

Ooooh, yeaaaaah, awwwwww!
posted by Splunge at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2011


You've been...








wait for it...








...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:53 PM on January 27, 2011


Looks more like a camouflaged mini-snowball attack to me. Cone to be dumped in the collar of his boss, that kind of thing. He shouldn't look so angry, though. No way he gets past security with a face like that.
posted by Namlit at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2011


That "ice cream cone" the guy is carrying just so happens to be the Thundersnow Torch. How the hell do you people think the Thundersnow knows where to go? The poor bastard ran all the way to Pennsylvania with that thing!
posted by orme at 5:50 PM on January 27, 2011


Lewis Black once had a bit about thundersnow. "They don;t even talk about that kind of weather in the bible!" he said. Anyway, I'm 99% sure that Ice Cream dude is a guy I knew in Law School.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:52 PM on January 27, 2011


Potomac Avenue: "What we don't know is the answer to the question: Why Is This Dude Running Through A Snowstorm Holding An Ice Cream Cone?"

Reddit: I feel that the world will be a better place if this picture gets the Photoshop treatment!

(Some highlights from the comments: Bubble Girl (previously), Birds, Switcheroo, Keanu)
posted by Rhaomi at 5:52 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


....













THUNDASTRUCK!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:31 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


oh and, th story behind the photo...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:35 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Damn. Not a guy I know after all.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:41 PM on January 27, 2011


Thundersnow is No Joke At All. Big, huge, =purple= blasts of light followed by a deafening explosion. I've lived in New Orleans and Florida, I know from thunderstorms - Thundersnow is on another level entire.

I've had to drive in it twice - once during the April Fools blizzard, and again in December of 2006 (it was God's way of telling us, "Don't buy the old Dodge Intrepid with dodgy steering you drove an hour to go look at. Now stop at the Dunkin Donuts and drink coffee, because baby, you know the highway ain't good right now.")

Also, when it's cold, I like cool things. When shoveling snow, cold chocolate milk is the best for warming up. When it's hot, I like lukewarm things - green tea and sushi! Like him, I, too, eschew my jacket for brief jaunts down the street in even the coldest weather. I can understand where the ice-cream guy is coming from. His only crime is that he hasn't seen the Mythbusters where they proved walking in the rain gets you less wet than running.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:21 PM on January 27, 2011


Oh god, thank you for posting this, Potomac Avenue. I am sitting in a room lit by candle, tucked in a thicket of blankets, giggling like mad.

I am witness to thundersnow. When I went outside the night of the storm, everything was lit with an eerie electric pink glow, reflecting the color of the DC night sky. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed against a background of intermittently yowling transformers. Wind caused the trees to groan loudly under the weight of wet snow. A tree limb fell in front of me as I was on my way to help a neighbor who was struggling to get to her house. The whole thing felt rather apocalyptic.

Snow is usually so peaceful here. I do not like you, Thundersnow.

Heading into day two without electricity, in company of 123,000 other Pepco customers. We had power restored for about 10 minutes the first night. Then a tree crashed down. I'm guessing we're not at the top of the repair list.
posted by zennie at 9:13 PM on January 27, 2011


Why Is This Dude Running Through A Snowstorm Holding An Ice Cream Cone?

Its obvious none of you have a clue - the guy is a Finn and that's his regular morning treat. In summer.
posted by infini at 9:47 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, I thought thundersnow was going to be a reference to this kind of alarming phenomena at my department: I'm not sure whether the roof is tilted or if it's just that we're in a newish glass building, but as soon as it warms up after a snowy night (around 10-11am), person-sized hunks of snow start to occasionally fall off the edge of the roof and *THUMP* onto the ground 6 stories below. It's muffled but audible from inside the building and pretty cool to watch.
posted by heyforfour at 10:02 PM on January 27, 2011


The best Reddit photoshop: Phan Thị Kim Phúc
posted by metaplectic at 12:41 AM on January 28, 2011


If there is such a thing as global warming, why is there thundersnow? And ice cream? IN YOUR FACE AL GORE.

Enjoy.
posted by rory at 2:59 AM on January 28, 2011


I was in NYC with a friend a year or so ago, delivering some insanely expensive piece of furniture to a bespoke client and then tagging along with my friend at that giant design place where you have to know the secret knock to get in, annoying him as he went through swatches of upholstery fabrics by continually reporting back.

"I just found a bolt of velvet that's $1400 a yard!"

"Probably velours coupé," he said, trying to avoid distraction. "Why don't you see what's in the other room?"

I took that as a "why don't you go outside and play?" order, so I wandered elsewhere.

It was snowing like crazy and, with the key work of ordering three thousand dollars worth of tassels out of the way, we went to walk the streets of the city. We had tickets for the Ontological-Hysteric Theater and hours to kill, so there was no agenda.

"Look!" I said, pointing out a glossy little island of Not-New-York that punctuated my constant narrative about how the city wasn't like I remembered it being in my day. "Pinkberry!"

My friend had never heard of the place, which I only knew about from my sojourns in LA. It's terrible, of course, a weird culinary hipness attached to the thinnest of excuses and wrapped in glitzy plasticky Japanesy girl design, and I knew it would annoy my friend to drag him there, so I dragged him there.

The surly guy at the counter was extra surly.

"Bet y'all don't have a lot of business today!" I said. Sometimes my artificial sunshine is unbearable, but I can't help it when I'm caffeinated and having an adventure.

"You're the first people in here all day."

"Yes, Joe," my friend said. "I don't think the locals take a raging snowstorm as an inspiration to eat whatever this is."

We ordered up strangely flavored frozen yogurt covered with curious adornments and perched on see-through plastic chairs in the front window. Everyone who passed broke their city glare to look in, each giving us the what the fuck are you doing? look before going on their way. It made my dignified, tweed-clad friend feel foolish, so I felt like I'd accomplished my usual mission.

"Well, that was...umm," he said, as we threw out our cups and tightened our scarves.

"It's horrible!" I said with a grin and an excess of glee. "Isn't it great?"

"I suppose so."

"In L.A., everyone in Pinkberry dresses like they're fourteen and the men wear flip-flops in public," I opined, painting with my usual broad brush. "Seriously—flip-flops on men in their fifties."

My friend rolled his eyes, we stepped out of the single dumbest place you could sit in during a New York snowstorm, and went on our way, killing more time before we would sit and watch a play scored with an hour of John Zorn's very best screeeeaaaaarrrraacchjjkkkrrratchhh! The days just get better and better.
posted by sonascope at 3:17 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wednesday night I had a flip camera pointed at the cars struggling up the hill out front and caught one snowbolt.
posted by ChuqD at 4:36 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Things like this make me wish I could somehow hug the internet.
posted by orme at 5:56 AM on January 28, 2011


Wow, ChuqD, that's kind of a neat little clip. Very atmospheric. Needs a soundtrack.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:59 AM on January 28, 2011


Funny enough, the only place I've ever seen thundersnow was in NYC. I found it blue, and the sound muffled. But I happened to see it in a rather perfect setting. I was in the lobby of the Williamsburg Savings Bank building, there in Brooklin, where Flatbush hits Atlantic. Huge high window over the door, and it lit up all blue, with that muffled BOOM. I was with a friend who had an office there, and he joked about the "End of the World!". This was around 1982.
posted by Goofyy at 8:31 AM on January 28, 2011


Heading home from work on Wednesday night, I was loving the thundersnow. I'd stayed late, in fact, because the one kind of driving that doesn't make me stressed and misanthropic is the kind where I'm chugging along in a heavy snowstorm like the guy who drives the snowplow gets to the snowplow in his trusty VW. The clock tower had been shaking and rattling for a while before I packed up to leave, the windows lighting up blue-white like the light from arc welding.

I took the road less traveled, because people do dumber things on the highways, thinking that their 2WD SUV is some kind of magical talisman even as they're in full sideways panic, and clog the roads in the resultant chain reaction. A coworker spent nine hours on the city's main NW escape route, as it turned out. The old Route 1 isn't well-plowed, but I know my way.

My mighty mighty Metro, well into its ninth life at this point, trooped along, and most drivers had fled the city in a panic at four, once the alarming weather reports started piling up, so it was mostly quiet. I rumbled along on top of three inches of lumpy compacted snow, keeping a steady pace and belting out a wicked phonetic Zarah Leander because it somehow seemed like the thing to do. Businesses were all closing down in South Baltimore, all but the liquor stores, which had packed parking lots.

South Baltimore also seems to have the weakest power grid imaginable, so there'd be a blue flash and the landscape around me would go dark before the thunder even interrupted my fake German singing. It was one of those times when you wish you had a camera, an instant before you realized that a camera would never quite catch the real feeling of the moment, which was just electric in all senses of the world.

One second, it's you and a four door economy sedan and the city, and the next, it's just you, plunging down the dark streets like a pioneer, with shadowy buildings like a mouthful of jagged teeth set against a muzzy sky. Lights on, lights off, I kept on.

Just where the city stops looking so much like a city, I came up behind a guy on a classic liquorcycle. He was all over the road on a Chinese 50cc scooter, the kind you get to get around on after your latest DUI, riding with no helmet, a cigarette, and his legs splayed out wide on either side like a tightrope walker's pole. He'd slip, skid, and a foot would come down, and he bounce back a bit, but he was making only about a mile an hour that way. There was room to pass, but as a fellow scootician, albeit one on a slightly more serious level, I followed along, lighting the way.

I bet he stops at a liquor store.

There was a blinding, but oddly dulled, flash of blue and the city went dead again.

A fool on a scooter kept on, followed by the last of the great snow sedans. There was no light, no streetlights or traffic lights, and just the sickly jaundice of light pollution from neighborhoods with better utility service to keep the dark snow from closing in entirely. We ambled southward, ever more slowly, lit by the occasional strike, until one pool of light beckoned.

He waved an arm to signal, and pulled into the parking lot of the little liquor store there.

I just smiled, dialed up some Skynyrd on the mp3 player in celebration of what I'd just seen, and went on my way, chasing my headlights home under a flickering sky.
posted by sonascope at 8:40 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, ChuqD, that's kind of a neat little clip. Very atmospheric. Needs a soundtrack.

Has one. Turn the sound up all the way.
posted by zennie at 10:35 AM on January 28, 2011


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