Dancin’ in the Hurricane Rains

By Brian Figurski

Come on, Irene. I swear what I mean. In this moment, you mean everything.

I can’t help but hum this happy tune each time I’ve turned on the TV to hear about the latest natural disaster, named aptly after one of my favorite 80’s tunes.

Wait, wasn’t it ‘Eileen’? That earthquake a few weeks back must’ve rattled my brain. Damn you, Dexys Midnight Runners.

Why is it I can’t turn on the TV without hearing about this national ‘tragedy’? My nightly sessions of ice cream and Chopped reruns are being interrupted with breaking news of gale force winds knocking over some patio furniture.

There was a lightning storm that passed through Rochester two weeks ago that hit a transformer and rendered me powerless. I had to go a whole 15 hours without power. Where the Hell is my CNN feature? At least give it a lower third crawl mention.

Hurricane Irene set some records, I guess. Irene is the first major hurricane of 2011, and the first hurricane to touch New Jersey since a drunk Snooki, er, 1903.

Soon after that landfall, Irene shouted, ‘fooled you!’ at the shivering Eastern coastline and downgraded into a terrifying tropical storm, flinging fruity flavored Starbursts everywhere.

It did tear the roof off a convenience store, so that’s not entirely false.

Irene did do some damage, like greatly flooding the streets of Vermont, ruining the day for tens of syrup cooks, and, uh, that looks like that’s about it.

The hurricane averted majority of the populous U.S. cities on the east coast. Washington D.C. was spared. Boston wasn’t hit hard. New York City’s curmudgeons looking forward to buckets of rain ended up cursing at the skies, “‘Ey! What the ‘ell!”

So why did CNN have to run a constant news feed on preparation for the oncoming assault rather than focus on some pressing matters, perhaps problems in Libya, or gossip from Kim Kardashian’s wedding?

This is the point where I throw my hands up in the air, saying ‘hey-oh,’ because I really don’t have the slightest clue.

The real journalists must have fled westward from the flying Starbursts.

There have been a handful of people who died due to the storm, via falling trees or rising flood waters, but nothing in excess to the everyday amount. I’m not undermining anyone’s death, but statistically there are tens of thousands of deaths each day from causes natural, automobile disasters, or any wacky rectal experiments described on 1,000 Ways to Die.

It feels like a good week was put forth warning everyone in America about Hurricane Irene’s path and promise of demise, and once the April showers drizzled onto the ground, another week was spent declaring the situation was over-exaggerated and way past its allotted amount of coverage.

I feel like I’ve written about this well-oiled hype machine before. Hmm, well at least no three-year-olds died.

Maybe it’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ experiences to feel the fear of the situation. I’m living high, dry and mighty in Oakland County, Michigan, far from any glimpse of offbeat weather experience.

The news was trying to get the United States to nervously nibble on their fingernails in empathy for the potential victims in this normal, nearly yearly tropical event. They did their job, and now I have bleeding cuticles and I frighten children at work.

So thanks again, CNN, for all the pointless points of view you provide, only to claim err in the ways mere days later, pointing the finger at anyone else but yourselves for the deception on viewers. You are becoming well known for your glorification of standard occurrences.

I’m sure we’ll run in to this problem again. Next time all I’ll have to say is facepalm, and eat my stress away in delicious tropical Starbursts.