By this time tomorrow, Enthusiasts, I shall surely be dead, or at least damp. Probably dead: a Category 4 hurricane named Matthew is on its way to Fillmore South, having already rampaged through Haiti like the Clinton Foundation in one of your uncle’s Facebook posts. In the Dominican Republic, numerous statues of Sammy Sosa were knocked over. Cubans fled for reasons other than Communism. Puerto Rico was fine, as it turns out to not be anywhere near those other islands I mentioned.
Matthew barrels down, unstoppable and sopping: the winds attract all the attention, but the storm surge is the real weapon of a hurricane. The reason the eye of a storm is the eye is pressure. The calm, circular center of a hurricane has way lower air pressure than the roiling carousel of death surrounding it. This wouldn’t mean anything over land, but over water the eye’s low pressure causes it to raise the sea level like a 100-mile wide drinking straw. Exact same principle. So, when it hits land, the storm surge comes with it, an enormous, slow-moving wave that could be 20 or 30 feet high. If the thunder don’t get you, then the lightning will.
TotD does not have a beach place, Enthusiasts, but like I said: probably dead. For others, I share these facts about hurricanes:
- Hurricanes were invented in 1632 by an Italian inventor named Erasmus Umbrelladella.
- The tradition of naming storms started in 1971; the first one was “Francine, that bitch ex-wife of mine” and then Gary wasn’t allowed to name hurricanes any more.
- The word “hurricane” is derived from the Taino word huaricano, which means “why won’t you go back to Europe and leave us alone?”
- Why not a himmicane, you misogynist?
- Milk and bread are to a hurricanes what cookies are to Santa: offerings to the gods.
Finally, a hurricane is graded from 1-5, which is storm-shaming, but we’ll overlook that for now. What can you expect from each category?
- Pussy shit right here. You know that TotD prefers not to use gendered insults, but I don’t know of another word in the language that fits here: Category 1 hurricanes are pussies. I’ve been through three or four of them, and if you hadn’t told me it was a hurricane, then I wouldn’t have known. If you die in a Cat. 1, then it was your fault.
- A Cat. 2 is a hurricane like Brown is an Ivy League school: technically. With a storm surge of between five and ten feet, and winds of under 100 mph, a Cat. 2 is a disappointment to its parents and the community as a whole. Everyone expected so much, and all that happens is a couple deck chairs get knocked over and maybe some sewers back up.
- This one’s your dangerous one: a Category 3 storm is ambitious. It can see the top, and will step on anyone who gets in its way, just like Elizabeth Berkeley in Showgirls. Also, some Cat. 3 hurricanes are were-hurricanes, so if you get hit on a full moon, then you’re going to die.
- What you think when you think “hurricane.” Big chunks of seafront land washed away, cars hurled across highways, mobile homes floating away: the whole shmear. Boats on people’s lawns, and buses in rivers: lots of stuff where it’s not supposed to be. Tremendously entertaining television to watch, especially when they make poor Al Roker go outside in a slicker while the storm weaponizes palm trees directly behind him. (I love watching weathermen suffer during catastrophic storms as much as the next guy, but one of those toothy fuckers is going to die one of these days.)
- Hell, if Hell were wet and fast. Ever since Dante and Milton, we’ve pictured Hell as a location with fire and poking, but what if Hell were a thing that was very wet and fast? Because that’s what a Category Five is. I don’t even want to joke about one, actually: like I said, I don’t have a beach place, but I’m not eight miles from the ocean. Category Five comes and I leave or die.
That ended cheerfully.
I want the Enthusiasts to miss me, for tomorrow I shall be dead.