I love a good “weather event,” and not for the reasons you’d think. I have a certain view of much of the newsmongering profession, and the coverage of weather events thoroughly reinforces it.
Weather journalists have no shame. They will do anything, believe anything. They will scour the Outer Banks for the one old codger who will not leave. They will finally uncover one, way back in the sweet bay bushes somewhere near Buxton Woods. As they pull up in his driveway, they will notice with some trepidation that the house seems to be three feet above sea level and balanced on a collection of rusted truck chassis. The old codger himself will be sitting on his porch with his dog, drinking a beer. That is, the dog will be drinking a beer. It will also have a pleading look in its eyes.
The Weather Channel, for it is none other than those intrepid storm-visitors themselves, will interview the codger for the cameras. He will squint into the middle distance and proclaim that he “ain’t skeert of no hurricane.” He will tell them that he’s been through all of them, and that he and his dog survived Isabel by clinging to the top branches of pin oaks, eating feral chickens raw, and licking the gum off of stamps.
The Weather Channel will eat this up. They will interview the crap out of this guy, and then high five each other when they turn off the lights. Just as they do this, a Ford F-150 will screech into the driveway, throwing gravel and scattering a camera crew. It will contain the codger’s daughter and her husband. They will whack him over the head with an oar and throw him in the back of the truck. They also open the truck’s door for the dog, who will jump in with a leap of gratitude and high-five them on the way by, the rest of the six-pack clenched in his jaws.
The couple will tell the Weather Channel mavens, who are watching this with their own jaws dropped, that the codger will spend this storm the way he has spent every storm – in their basement in Plymouth, drinking longneck Buds and believing he’s weathering the weather on Hatteras. Then they will give the Weather Channel folks pitying looks and peel out into the northbound traffic on NC 12.
Hours later, terrified and battered by winds and waves, the Weather Channel reporters will be frantically searching for stamps and feral chickens. The storm will wipe out NC 12 just above Buxton, again, and the camera crew will be forced to eat its socks before it can be rescued by helicopter.
When the next big storm comes, the crew will stay in Atlanta and interview itself, squinting into the middle distance and saying “I ain’t skeert of no hurricane.”