Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

The Dark Side Of Gary England


photo from flickr user *CA*

You might have figured out by now that we are fans of Gary England. He uses his folksy charm to bring us the weather in an unparalleled manner, and when angered, his justice — in the form of severe weather — is carried out swiftly, fairly and precisely. We are great admirers of his work.

Which is why it was with great horror that the following story was related to us by one of our loyal readers. She describes it as “a sad story about the heartbreak of an 8 year old girl and a pompous weather man.”

Jump back! Yes, folks, there may be a dark side to Gary England. A side that probably only rears it’s head when provoked by little girls that deserve it, but a dark side nonetheless. We present it in the interest of being fair and balanced.

After the jump, the story of one girl, one weather man, and a relationship that could never be repaired.

When I was in second grade, we had an art contest because “Those Terrible Twisters” was coming to Ada. The prize of winning said contest was to get to meet Gary England and shake his hand, take pictures, etc., which was a nice publicity stunt because he was doing “Those Terrible Twisters” in Ada that night very same night at East Central University.

Now, Gary was a God in my eyes at the time. Seriously, I had read two of his books on meteorology and was set on being just like him when I grew up. So, as you can guess, I worked my ass off on my submission and blew everyone out of the water. Even the 5th graders (big deal for a 2nd grader, seriously) were no match for my pastel masterpiece of a red barn with a ‘nader drawing near. I even hair-sprayed the final product so the colors wouldn’t be compromised whilst being handled.

So the day comes, I’m ready, wearing my best multi-colored jumper, with my hair all puffed and teased up, pulled back in a big, rockin’ twistie. We had the photo op, where the newspaper (that I would ironically work for later in life) came to take pictures of me, posing with my magnum opus. I waited for Gary to show. And waited”¦and waited…and waited.

So it goes, this was mid March. March 27, 1991, if my memory serves me correctly…and severe weather was brewing across this great state and Gary had to get back to what he did best. Saving lives. I was told that Gary wouldn’t get to come down and shake my hand, but he would make up for it. I was very sad, but for an 8-year-old, very realistic and grounded. I knew that the man was a God and had a duty to perform.

As luck would have it, guess whose lives he saved? Yep. The humble citizens of Greater Ader. We had two tornados touch down, one of which knocked a big chunk out of the brand new Physical and Environmental Sciences Hall at ECU.

Flash forward, two or three weeks later (a lifetime to a kid), I still hear nothing from Gary and I am anxious to get my damn handshake and meet my idol. My parents come up with the idea that I should write Gary a nice letter at Channel 9 and explain that I won the contest, fate, tornado, etc., etc., and that I would still like to meet him. So, I wrote to him, in my best penmanship”¦asking if perhaps I could come up to the studio, that I thought he was really cool…and told him that I had learned from him that “if a tornado was coming toward you…it was black, if it’s moving away, it’s white” (that sentence has stuck with me for a while *sad face*).

So I mailed it, excited for a response. Would I *actually* be going to CHANNEL 9??! Expectations were high and this kid was ready to go. I waited to hear from him. And waited…and waited”¦and waited some more. Nothing.

My God had abandoned me. He never even cared about me. All that hype, all my effort, and he couldn’t even write me back and tell me, “maybe later, kid” or “screw off, kid.” It’s been 16 years. And I still haven’t gotten my handshake.

The journey has been long and hard for me. I don’t watch Channel 9″¦I haven’t since the early 90s. And I make it a point to stay away from tornado coverage. It’s just too hard.

THE END.

We would hope that someday there could be a happy ending to this story; maybe Gary England could get the spurned little girl on the Gentner and let her pretend to be a storm chaser. But perhaps the wounds are too deep to ever heal. Perhaps this is one dustnado that cannot be tamed.

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Comments

  1. Wow…

    This, also, dead legs a sore spot for me.

    Ever since I was a young lad, growing up in Moore Oklahoma I was absolutely enthralled with tornadoes and the weather. I had my card board weather station in my back yard, and the pickle jar barometer next to my bed. I always watched Gary England, and couldn’t flaw the man for anything he’s ever done. On easter, 1990 the man, the myth, the legend…Gary England came out to red oak elementary to talk to all of us, and set up a booth to be seen. Being the weather guru, everyone in my 3rd grade class knew I was, (rumors around the oak where that Gary was going to offer me a job) I was sure I’d get him to autograph my pickle jar barometer and maybe ever gab about some meteorology jargon for an hour or two. Easter sunday I grab my jar and mom and dad take me out to meet my idol (I swear to you this is the truth). We arrive just before this helicopter dropped like a million nasty sugar eggs (that we kept in a candy jar for maybe….5 year) on my dads head.

    The time had finely come, there he was siting at his throne (fold out chair) and I walked up to have him sign my barometer. My 7 year old hands where shaking and I couldn’t believe we would finely get to meet. I sat there for maybe 10 minuets in front of the table. He just kept looking at me awkwardly and then turning back to some guy he knew and talking about…I swear to you, his effing lawn. My mother asked if he would sign my barometer, and alas he had no marker and told my mom I could go and grab one as he went back to sod conversation. When we got back, Gary was gone. He left, and I cried like a…well….7 year old, for a day.

    Oh no…the story doesn’t end there. I’m a forgiving guy, so when I got to high school (now in Edmond) I was in student government and still planning on being the next Gary England. I got to go to this educational rally for school funding or something at the (domeless) capital building. Mr. England happend to be there…as I thought to myself, this is my chance. This is my chance to finally make peace with the last 7 years of hatred, torment and anguish. When he was done with his speech I kindly walked up to the man, and asked him what I could do to be the next Gary England. I swear to you, he just laughed, signed a picket and walked away. I still to this day avoid talk of Gary England…unless it’s Mike Hosty at the Deli on sunday night, while I’m drinking a red cup and laughing/holding back the tears.

    I ended up meeting Rick Mitchell (the coolest man in the world) about a year later at Studio 5, and he watched an entire episode of the simpsons with me in the weather lab, and told me he didn’t like Mike Morgan because he looks like dracula, and that Gary England was a pompous ass. So the story goes, after being a meteorology student at OU for two years and a paid storm chaser under the biggest douche bag on the planet (Brady Brus) I left the weather biz to work in business and politics…

    …..

    I feel better….

  2. The Dark Side of “The Lost Ogle, How I was so distraught, I waited for and read the Gary England with much anticipation, and this is the crap I get.
    Don’t give up your day job, what a bunch of crap.

    I feel better………

  3. Wow, Bosley. That’s heartbreaking.

    Honestly, I know a lot of people who have had terrible run-ins with Gary England. He did “Those Terrible Twisters” at my school during junior high and I remember the students that were involved in prepping the “green room” for him having to meet all kinds of demands about what kind of food had to be in the room and other random little things. He *was* rude to the people who wanted to chat with him or just get a picture. I don’t know. It tarnished what had originally been a glowing opinion of him.

  4. These stories are the polar opposite of what my wife tells about her experiences with Gary England at the “Weather Classroom” where she swears he remembered her as a third grader from a question she asked him as a second grader. Personally, I’ve never met the man, either, but that’s just because I’m afraid that getting that close to awesomeness would make me spontaneously combust.

  5. Bosley, When you see the clouds going up and the “cap ” bust, do you get your weather weenie all up and bothered like the three horseman of OKC weather do?

  6. Guys, maybe it’s just me, but I’m getting where I can’t tell the truth from fiction on this website. I’m still wondering if either of the two previous interviews were pure fabrication. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or wind my watch.

  7. Gary England was supposed to speak at O-Triple-C a couple of weeks ago, around noon time. He canceled out at mid-morning due to the threat of significant severe weather in the state. There was NO severe weather in the entire state until quite late in the afternoon; the National Weather Service web site said that bad weather wouldn’t happen until then. One would think that Chopper 9 could have flown him back to the studio after his speech at lunchtime, since apparently Gary is the only one who knows how to turn on the radar. There were a lot of disappointed people who arrived on campus, not knowing that he was not showing up. This was prima donna behavior, in my opinion. So now I watch Rick Mitchell on Channel 5. (I would rather not know anything about the weather than watch Mike Morgan and his band of drama queens on Channel 4.)

  8. mitchell kicks ass. have you ever seen his hardcore weather blog – it is big time, and he does it in the middle of the nite from his home office (without pay, i’m sure). he seems to get a little too freaked out though, especially with ice storms.
    gary is really only worth watching b/c of the drinking game and his senility. he’s a pretty big douche in real life.
    and i also agree that Mike Morgan is probably Dracula. I used to think it was just me that never watched that channel, but it seems that they really are the little stepbrother in oklahoma media (the little stepbrother with the club foot who smacks when he eats and doesn’t wear deoderant)

  9. “Bosley, When you see the clouds going up and the “cap “ bust, do you get your weather weenie all up and bothered like the three horseman of OKC weather do?”

    Um….duh.

    I nicknamed the hook echo, the “reach around”

  10. This story could only be better if it had a plot about drunken table dancing midgets . . .

    I’m just sayin’

  11. “I nicknamed the hook echo, the “reach around” ”

    So wrong and yet so funny!

  12. Well, I can say that Gary can be very nice. Quite a few years ago he was grand marshal in the Walleye rodeo parade in Canton, Oklahoma. The parade passed in front of my grandma’s house and someone had told him that she was a very big fan. He stopped the parade, jumped out of his car and ran up to my grandma and gave her a big old hug. She was on cloud nine for a long time.

  13. Yeah, I think most people have had positive experiences with Gary England. In fact, this post is the first I’ve heard otherwise. One can only surmise that they deserved it. Meteorologist-slandering bastages.

  14. I am a storm lover, yet I despise of Gary England. After May 3rd, cussing and terrifying children home alone, I refer to him as a “Mad Scientist”. I’ve noticed if there is a possibility of major storm outbreaks, he puts on his Sundays best (Clothes), I boycott Gary England and channel 9 all together because of Gary England.

  15. Is it possible that anyone has the official rules to the Gary England drinking game? I Just want to know if i was following the rules correctly. I wouldn’t want to be sober if the big one comes my way again.

    also: reach around = classic comment

  16. The reason NOT to watch channel 9…Gary England or Dean “The Stream” Blevins? I would say Dean by a pain pill.

  17. What will a degree in Meteorology get you?

    1) Week-end anchor in Pierre, SD.

    2) Loan Service Agent at Wells-Fargo.

    3) Pizza delivery driving a 1997 Saturn.

    4) What else ya got?

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