As if they didn’t have enough problems already, those people over at CNN announced this morning that the 2010 Hurricane Season starts tomorrow, June 1. At the same time, they also said that this year’s hurricane season is likely to be much worse than last year, which by all accounts was relatively mild. Given their well documented problems with plummeting ratings these days, I don’t know why CNN just didn’t leave it to Fox News to make the announcement. CNN never learns. They still refuse to accept the fact that we Americans have a decided tendency to blame (and sometimes “shoot”) the messenger for not only conveying bad news but also for being the root cause of the problem itself.[1] But I digress…

Anyway, the CNN guy looked right at me through the TV screen and said that we all needed to ‘be prepared’ for a bad hurricane season, especially those of us who lived in states affected the most by hurricanes (i.e.Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina). He said that we all needed to develop a personal evacuation plan “just in case”.

Seems to me that the people best prepared for a hurricane are the people who are the farthest away from the action—the eye of the storm as it were. I figure that these individuals are most likely to be anybody who happens to be in Kansas. Not much goes on in Kansas. You almost never hear about it on the nightly news. In fact about the only things that Kansas is really known for include  “flatness” and the fact that there are no beachfront properties for hurricanes to run into if they ever crossed the state line. (It’s been rumored that there are not even any McDonald’s in Kansas, although  I am pretty sure that that is an exaggeration. You know how people “do go on”.) As it also turns out, the exact geographic center of the lower 48 states is in Lebanon, Kansas. So it  follows that  during a hurricane, Kansas is the best place from which to view  the proceedings.

Of course, the real problem is getting people to go to Kansas and other places of refuge just before a hurricane washes ashore. The people who study these kinds of things (many of whom seem to hang around Harvard and who obviously have too much time on their hands) indicate that typically 31% of all potential storm victims abjectly refuse to evacuate the area during the ‘run up” to a severe storm. The “resistors” don’t think that the storm is serious and they tend to laugh at everybody or they don’t know how to get to Kansas.

Personally, I think this whole evacuation problem starts with the National Hurricane Center who insists upon naming hurricanes after people. The names that will be used for the 2010 hurricanes are “Alex”, “Bonnie”, “Colin”, “Danielle”, “Earl”, “Fionna”, “Gaston”, “Hermine”, “Igor”, “Julia”, “Karl”, “Lisa”, “Matthew”, “Nicole”, “Otto”, “Paula”, “Richard”, “Shary”, “Tomas”, “Virginie” and “Walter”.

“Bonnie”? “Julia”? “Lisa”? You’re kiddin’ me. Right?

In past years, the NHS has actually selected names such as “Chantal”, “Melissa”, “Noel”, “Nana”, “Rene”, “Sally”, “Teddy”, and “Mindy”. (“Nana” is what I called my saintly grandmother and weren’t “the Chantals” one of those girl groups from Motown?)  These are all nice names for people and maybe even for your garden variety pet, but not for a storm—especially when you are trying to tell people to ‘Get the Hell out of Dodge’—–or Miami or Pensacola or Dothan.  A name such as “Mindy” does not say “Leave Immediately” or even “skedaddle. Rather “Mindy”  says “…why don’t you good people stick around for a party. I’ll make us some quiche and we’ll have a fine ol’ time”.

Anyway, I figure that the traditional names that the Hurricane Center regularly comes up with is a definite sign that they already must have too much to do (or possibly their brains have become addled from all of that time that they spend flying around  in those Hurricane Hunter C-130 airplanes and actually looking for hurricanes[2])  Anyway, in order to give the NHC the idea of how to scare the bejesus out of people —or to at least get their attention and point them towards Kansas, I’ve come up with some names—many of them adjectives by the way— that might be considered instead:  “Awful”, “Bonkers”, “Crazy”, “Dizzy”, “Evil”, “Ferocious”, “Goofy”, “Heinous”, “Insane”, “Jackass”, “Kooky”, “Loco”, “Malicious”, “Nut-so”, “Onerous”, “Psycho”, “Quinetta”[3], “Reprehensible”, “Satan”, “Treacherous”, “Ugly”, “Vicious”, “Wrong”, “eXtreme”, “Yelp”, and  “Zany”.

Hopefully, my list will light the way for the National Hurricane Center to  come up with scarier names, assuming that  they really want us to be prepared for the worst. In the meantime, I suggest that you take all of the proper precautions for the upcoming season.  It’s supposed to be a doozy. Please don’t shoot me by the way for delivering any of the bad news  regarding the  new hurricane season. I’m just the messenger.

By the way, my next post may be from Kansas.

© Copyright 2010 Will Cantrell


[1] I’m sure that when Fox makes their announcement about the upcoming storm season, they will undoubtedly blame it all on the Obama Administration.

[2] I’ve always wondered about Hurricane Hunters and what motivated them to actually fly into the teeth of a hurricane as it were. I figure that first guy that flew into a hurricane did it by accident and had been momentarily lost in the nearby Bermuda Triangle. It was really the second Hurricane Hunter that I wonder about. What must he have been thinking? What motivated him?  Money? Hot women? Obviously liquor played a role.

[3] Okay, I could not come up with a scary, onerous “non-people” name for the letter “Q”.   If you think it’s so easy to do, you try it!. In any event, Quinetta is a fourth cousin of mine. Anybody who has ever encountered her even once knows to stay the hell out of her way.

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Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell (a pseudonym) is a writer, storyteller, and explorer of the milieu of everyday life. An aging Baby Boomer, a Georgia Tech grad, and a retired banker, Cantrell regularly chronicles what he swears are 'mostly true'  'everyman' adventures. Of late, he's written about haircuts, computer viruses, Polar Vortexes, identity theft, ketchup, doppelgangers, bifocals, ‘Streetification’, cursive handwriting, planning his own funeral and other gnarly things that caused him to scratch his head in an increasingly more and more crazy-ass world.   As for Will himself, the legend is at an early age he wandered South, got lost, and like most other self-respecting males, was loathe to ask for directions. The best solution, young Will mused, “was just to stay put”. All these years later, he still hasn't found his way but remains  a son of the New South. He was recently sighted somewhere close to I-285, lost, bumfuzzled and mumbling something about “...writing' his way home.” Of course, there are a lot of folks who think that “Cantrell ain't wrapped too tight” but hope that he keeps writing about his adventures as he finds his way back to the main highway.