Friday, August 13, 2004

The HURRICANE is coming!

“Bob, you know that tropical storm 1000 miles east of Florida? It just got upgraded to a HURRICANE!” Thus begins the most rabid two days in local news coverage. Even though the storm could hit land anywhere from Brazil to the Hamptons, panic must be incited, streets must be emptied, insurers must cancel policies. And Channel 6 is just the station to get it done…if the HURRICANE doesn’t blow the roof off your house, their hyperbole will.

“Hello everyone, this is Dr. Dave with your 2 day forecast. We have some bad news. A HURRICANE is on its way and this is all we'll be talking about for at least the next 2 days. For those of you tracking the storm, here’s the single point that we use to locate a storm that is several hundred miles in diameter. That’s how accurate our radars are! This point identifies the eye of the storm—of course, the eye is defined as where there is no storm, but moving on.. let’s cut to Sandy down at the Walmart where our intensive coverage has caused a run on water, food, and batteries.”

“Hi, this is Sandy down at the Walmart on the corner of Andrew Street and, as you can see, there are two old ladies whomping each other with canes over the last gallon jug of water. We’ll be monitoring this situation closely. Now back to Dave in the studio.”

“Thanks Sandy. Speaking of water, we expect 100% humidity tomorrow. Now let’s go live to Ryan who has taken up residence on the site of the HURRICANE’S first landfall, give or take 500 miles.”

“Hi Dave. As you can see, we have sunny skys and there is not even a breeze at the moment, but within 48 hours, give or take 24 hours, I will have a rope tied around my waste and my feet will leave the ground as the HURRICANE force winds try to blow me away. Despite the danger of being cut in half by flying road signs, I will stay strapped to this pier throughout the storm in the hope that someone at the network affiliate will notice me. Now back to you.”

“Thanks Ryan. Folks, that’s just one example of how we needlessly endanger our reporters in order to improve our ratings. Now let’s go to Tamantha who’s live at the Mayor’s office where the Director of Emergency Services is holding a press conference.”

“Thanks Dave. Let’s listen in...”

“We are instructing all people to stay off the roads after 2pm. There will be high winds and it’s just really scary. We have the most advanced equipment available to deal with downed powerlines, fallen trees, and stopped up toilets. However, since I just declared that no cars can travel after 2pm, we will be unavailable to help you until Monday between 10am and 5pm. So remember, don’t be a victim. And if you live in a mobile home, rest in peace.”

“Well, there you have it, good advice from the Director of Emergency Services—don’t be a victim. Now let’s go back to Sandy at the Walmart to check on the water riot.”

“Thanks Tamantha. The cane-whomping has stopped for the moment…I think the old bags are exhausted. However, they both have a grip on the last gallon of water available in the entire state. I think this could be a fight to the death if the HURRICANE doesn’t get them first. Now back to Dave in the studio.”

“Thanks Sandy. Speaking of water, we expect to get 6 inches of rain within 2 hours which will cause massive flooding in low-lying areas. And since Florida is a glorified sand bar, that means pretty much everywhere. Now lets go to Dr. Bill at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.”

“Hi there. We’ve just upgraded the HURRICANE from a category 3 to a category 4. In practical terms this means a mobile home will now be carried 50 yards further before it explodes into a hail of sawdust and tin. But we’re here in a waterproof bunker with 4 foot thick walls, so don’t worry about us. The latest location of the HURRICANE is directly over Cuba, an island we know little about but believe is either uninhabited or inhabited by people that don’t matter very much. Now back to our local stations.”

“Hello folks, this is Dr. Dave. We have a startling development concerning this HURRICANE. For more news that’s too serious for us to report on locally, lets go to our national affiliate.”

“Good morning. This is Tom Brokecow with…the news. We have just learned that Michael Moore has hastily put together a new home video he is calling The HURRICANE?? This docu-drama clearly implies that this HURRICANE is no HURRICANE. It is, in fact, an evil plot by President Bush, using Chinese cloud manipulation technology, to wipe out Cuba and all the trailer-trash Democrats in Central Florida in one fell swoop. This devious strategy has put the state of Florida firmly in the hands of the Republicans and, once again, Bush has stolen an election. Senator Kerry, devastated by this end-around, has run off to his rich wife’s house in the Hamptons with close ‘friend’ New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey. A spokesman says they are just holing up and preparing for a long HURRICANE party.”