Get Into Snowmen with Grammar Punk

Is the word Snowman Sexist?

No, that’s not really a serious question, but it’s an interesting one. There are too many ubiquitous words like it, usually titular in nature: mailman, milkman, deliveryman…you get the idea.

This blog is really about snowmen—or snowpeople—or the decided lack thereof.

As a kid there were few things more worth looking for than a good snowstorm, lots of white fluffy, not too wet, not too dry, not that styrofoam stuff snow that is absolutely perfect for creating stuff. Namely snowpeople.

Ideally the snow fell on a non-school day and we’d rush to throw on layer after layer of socks, long johns, jeans, good snow boots, wrap a scarf around your neck, tug on a stocking cap, squeze into a pair of waterproof gloves and out the door we’d tumble, waddling like penguins since we could barely move.

Then it was scoop up a good firm handful of snow, pack it with more handfuls until you could begin the process of rolling it on the ground till the small ball got bigger and bigger and bigger, big enough to form the bottom section of our snowman. Then repeat for the middle, and repeat for the head. After that the particulars vary greatly, sticks for arms, an actual carrot pruloined from dinner preparations for the nose.

And voila, one of the most treasured rites of childhood decorating the lawn until the sun come out and ruins it all. And we trundle back into the house, soaked to the skin, chilled through and happily tired to await the next snowfall. This also meant that there were few front yards that were not inhabited by a Snowman, a Snowlady, or best of all, an entire Snow Famiy.

What happened?!

Don’t answer that because I already know it: video games, computer games, Tivo. All responsible for the death of Snow People! Or at the very least the serious depopulation thereof. No one builds snowmen anymore! At least not very many of them.

We recently had a few truly awe-inspiring snowstorms in a row. Lots and lots of snow on the ground. Mounds of it, all lovely and white and sparkling and…enticing, darn it! At least it should be. And if I wasn’t well past the age when freezing my…fingers off building a snowman was the be all end all, my front yard would be occupied by a whole neighborhood of snowpeople.

You people seriously need to get out there and build with the white stuff, Spring is after all, just around the corner.

Teachers of English, grammar, and writing, here’s a writing challenge for you. Ask your students to write their favorite snow-day story. Then challenge them to get out there and build a freaking snowman!