Unsolicited Beta For Snow Shoveling

drawing of a snow shoveler receiving unwanted advice

Hey, how’s it going? Some storm we got last night, huh?

You know, I used to shovel the sidewalk and driveway here for the lady who lived in your house before you moved in. I must have done it four or five dozen times over the years. Yep, I know every crack in that sidewalk.

I realize I’m a bit taller than you, but you should be able to do it just like I do. Haha, I mean, “used to do.”

You don’t have a snowblower? Interesting. I mean, you can certainly try to shovel that whole driveway, but if I were going to give you one piece of advice, it would be: Head down to Ace Hardware this weekend and get yourself a snowblower before the next blizzard. It’ll pay for itself by the end of this winter.

Actually, you know what, I have more than one piece of advice.

You look like you’re doing pretty well, but you need to get your hips under everything more. This is a heavy snow, and it’ll tear your back up if you go at it with just upper body.

I used to have that same shovel. It’s a good one, but that handle? If you can wrap your thumb around it, closer to your index finger, you’ll have a lot more power when you swing your hips under.

And your other hand—and this is easy to miss, but if you get it just right, it’s way easier—about 14 inches from the top of the shovel blade. How’s that feel? Yeah, pull hard with that left hand. Watch out about halfway down the sidewalk there, there’s a little lip. You don’t want to be pushing the shovel too hard and hit it, it’ll knock the wind out of you. Be careful.

Also, there’s a couple landscaping pavers on the right side of the sidewalk that you can get a good foothold on and push up. They don’t get slick like the sidewalk does. Four, total, equally spaced along the length of it there. The first one is right there. No, right there. Up a little. Right there. Feel it?

You know what, how about you just hand me the shovel and I’ll show you? Seriously, I could do this whole thing with my eyes closed, I’ve done it so many times. Not that I want to, mind you—got my own shoveling project over here. See? Like this. Get under it, use the legs as much as you can.

Are you a climber, by the way? I am. I’m at the gym Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays after work. We should climb together sometime. I’m full of good pointers.

—Brendan

More goofy stuff like this in my new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems, out now.

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