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WEATHER WIT

Storms of any kind excite him, but such is the life of a weatherman. Don Paul, the meteorologist at Channel 2, watches the weather for a living. And for 3 1/2 minutes two times a day he tells us about it, quite affably.

That's your real name?

Yeah, Donald Jay Paul. I still hear that: two first names. Would you prefer two last names? Osmanski Fogelmeyer? It sounds kind of broadcasty.

I hate dopey jokes.

They go with the territory, the typical weather jokes. I made one up once, a paper I was to present on the effect of wind chill on northern latitude flashers. It got a big laugh.

Where is your talent?

I found I was pretty good on the air. Not my voice, my delivery. I had some dramatic ability, just a little acting flair.

I never heard of a kid who wanted to be a weatherman.

That was me, and there was a whole circle of kids in the New York area that were turned on by a weathercaster. He would get New Yorkers excited about snowstorms and thunderstorms. I've been a weather nut since the age of 7.

You never wanted to be a football player or anything?

Nah. I knew I was going to be 5-feet-8. Medicine was a close second.

You have this "good guy" aura.

I guess so. I never had a city that I worked in where I thought I failed with the audience.

Show me an edge.

I love David Letterman. I like "The Simpsons." That's the most cynical show I've ever seen. I can be very pompous about science. I have very little tolerance for scientific illiteracy.

OK, so tell me you're not boring.

Sometimes I can be boring for short periods of time. If all else fails I can always turn to humor. I'm a pretty bashful person, but I've always had this ability to be glib. I'm boring in terms of hobbies. I'm not a boater or a skier.

Do you think you have to be entertaining?

I do, until I know someone very well. Unless I'm feeling sinusy or something, I sometimes feel compelled to be entertaining if there's too much of a lapse in the conversation.

What kind of magazines do you subscribe to?

I read a lot in the newsroom for free. I get car magazines at home. I'm a car nut. I get my monthly journal from the American Meteorologic Society.

What do you do when you're under the weather?

Mope. I've had almost no sick days, which is kind of boring. It's not because I'm a workaholic. I think it's just fear. If I'm gone too long, someone else will be there. If I'm not really sick I try to get energized with some music, put on some Big Band jazz.

What haven't you done yet?

I'm so introverted; that's a big bug in my life. I almost will never dance unless I've had a lot to drink. When I was a teen-ager I did, but I lack confidence. I haven't traveled overseas.

Surely you must have given thought to life after weather.

It bothers me sometimes in the middle of the night. Very few people get to last as long as Irv and Tom. I haven't given much thought to what would happen if someone said I was done at the age of 50. I tend to live for today.

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