Life happens: Me, myself and Irene
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By Aprill Brandon
All right, everyone. Enough is enough. It's time we all come together as a nation and finally fix the biggest problem currently plaguing the United States.
Our meteorologists are out of control.
But before I go any further, let me first address your probable shock at even seeing my name in print. Yes ... yes, I am still alive. Somehow, I managed to survive the cataclysmic Hurricane Irene, in all it's barely Category 1 glory, as it swept across the eastern seaboard. Granted, some of my patio furniture did get knocked over. But don't worry.
We will rebuild.
And although I was one of the lucky few whose power did not go out, my heartfelt prayers go out to the thousands of others who had to suffer for hours in the 70 degree temperatures with no TV or Internet connection (and especially to the ones who got so desperate, they actually read a book).
Barbaric, I tell you.
But at least I survived and will now be able to tell my children all about the storm of the century, where I spent the day watching Anderson Cooper on CNN pretend that the wind was strong enough to knock him over (or, as my born-and-raised Mid-western husband referred to the 70 mph wind gusts, "In Kansas, we call that Tuesday").
Of course, for all my mocking, there's no denying that Irene was massive and that in the aftermath of the storm, there was some pretty severe property damage, major flooding and several deaths attributed to it. That is definitely not something to take lightly.
But what IS to be taken lightly is the hype with which this storm was built up, before, during and after it made landfall, especially in light of the actual devastating natural disasters that have happened this century, from the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to tornadoes that have leveled entire towns. We need to view this storm with some perspective in mind. Considering the sheer scope of it, things could have been much, much worse.
It's one thing to be prepared and for meteorologists and city officials to preach caution. Prepared is good. Caution is good. But it's another to blow up a Category 2 hurricane to "God is going to smite the East Coast with his bare hands" proportions.
And if the hysteria was just surrounding this particular hurricane, I could probably let this one slide. But I also managed to survive the "massive" eastern earthquake that was felt from Virginia to Canada a few weeks ago. Which, quite frankly, is amazing, considering it was so big I was unable to actually feel it. No wonder those dirty hippies on the West Coast were practically peeing their pants with laughter at our over-reaction. They eat earthquakes that small for breakfast (and then smoke some medical marijuana for dessert).
There are only so many times you can call "wolf," or in this case, "worst storm you have ever seen ever in your ever-loving lifetime" before you condition people to become complacent about storm warnings. There is already enough sensationalizing in the media. Let's at least leave it out of the weather reports.
Otherwise, I fear the next "sunny and breezy" forecast will become "skin cancer and wind burn," and the next thunderstorm will be accompanied by a news segment on how you too can build an ark like Noah's.
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column appears every two weeks. Comment on this story at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.