Southern Storms

“You’ve got a weird brain, Cantrell. You really do. ”

I’ve heard the above quote long enough so that I am beginning to think that my accusers may have a point. Well, at least some of the time. Nevertheless —and maybe it’s just me — but now that Hurricane Irene has come and gone, my brain is (still) left with three ongoing mysteries:

When will the National Hurricane Center learn to properly name monster storms in the Atlantic Ocean? In the three day run-up prior to Hurricane Irene (later Tropical Storm Irene) hitting the East coast, various and sundry authorities spent a lot of time urging the 65 million or so Americans in the storm’s predicted swath to “…get the hell out, Irene is coming.”

I have an Aunt Irene and I suspect that you do too (or you have an Aunt Sophie or Aunt Betty –you get my drift.) ‘My’ Irene is a veritable angel on Earth and just hearing her name makes me instantly think of “…come on over, I’ve got some milk and cookies waiting for you” not “get the hell out of Dodge.” It seems that the NHC, rather than use nice, calm-inspiring names such as Irene or Celeste or Jimmy or Malcolm, etc., would, instead use labels that would inspire urgency or downright fear: Badass or Beelzebub or Satan or Belligerent or some such. And besides, what self- respecting violent hurricane really wants to be named ‘Jimmy’? None that I’ve talked to recently.

I’ve been ruminating and complaining about the Hurricane Center’s naming practices for awhile now, but nobody over there is getting the message. I’m sure that Aunt Irenes everywhere would like a new and different storm naming system. (My friend Katrina is still afraid to come out of her house.)

Irene: "Yeah, I did it. I'd warned him. The guy had it comin!"

Why do TV reporters not affected by the weather, insist upon weathering the storm? As the crow flies, Atlanta, Georgia is located roughly 610 miles inland from Irene’s nearest U.S. point of entry. Even when Irene was just a mild breeze around Cape Verde, it was predicted that the ATL would get nary a drop of rain as a result of the storm. Yet, one of the local intrepid weather-guys (our Channel 11’s new chief meteorologist) felt the need to report on the storm to the Atlanta viewing audience live from Kill Devil Hills, N.C. For three days no less! One only concludes that all unnecessary and profligate spending is not done by the government, Kim Kardashian, or first wives, but also by local TV stations looking for some kind of an edge.

Going outside, in the elements to take part in hurricane festivities is ‘just askin for it’ in my book –just like Siegfried and Roy, the guys who make/made their living taunting Siberian tigers and other wild animals. Every time I see someone do this, I confess that part of me wishes for a flying stop sign or a wayward, uprooted tree trunk to come whizzing by at 175 miles per hour to take the offending weather guy with it off into oblivion. One of these times, say during Hurricane Tyrone, some weatherman (women usually have better sense) will be sloshing along the beach (i.e. showing off) and will be suddenly carried out to sea by a rogue 30-foot wave. ‘Course, I’m sure that he will be the posthumous recipient of the ‘He had it Coming to Him’ Award when they do that year’s local Emmys.

When is mandatory really mandatory? Several big city mayors as well as more than a few state governors issued mandatory evacuation orders for citizens of their designated bailiwick just prior to Irene’s landfall. “Mandatory”, one said. “Get the hell out”, said another (Chris Christie, Republican governor of New Jersey.) “Saving lives is our first priority.”

While there is no doubt that not every one of the 65 million denizens in Irene’s path left the premises, the authorities deemed mandatory flight necessary in the name of saving life, limb and the overall health of the populace. Funny, I didn’t hear one politician say one thing about Constitutional rights being violated because of the governmental mandate. I wonder why some of the same pols so concerned about everyone’s life, good health and well-being during Irene, were (and still are) so adamant against mandatory national health insurance, whose objective is to do the same thing?

Just sayin’. Just askin’.

‘Course, maybe it’s just me.

© Copyright 2011 Will Cantrell

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.