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How Not To React To Natural Disasters

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In every section of the world, there is some sort of natural malfeasance that is behind that tree in the distance, waiting for you to turn your back before it strikes. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, blizzards, floods, spray-tanned mobs and giant man-eating moths can all appear with varied amounts of warning. It is how you react which determines your position on the evolutionary chain.

disaster2First off, let’s start with the big one – evacuation. Not every natural disaster will be courteous enough to provide a warning that it is approaching. Even with those that do, an evacuation comes from the government and these are the same people that tried to count ketchup as a vegetable. Fortunately for you, most of these powerful natural occurrences do not warrant an evacuation order, so the choice to stay or go remains with you. Moving far away is always the safe bet, but if you ran at each sign of a possible problem, you’d probably end up having a second home in Midland, Texas, a third home in Fargo, North Dakota and being very lonely.

So, let’s assume you’ve stayed. When the natural disaster comes your way, the first thing that should pass through your head is to avoid running outside. Sure, we all want to see what is going on and gaze at it while holding our jaw slackly, but this is not the smart course of action. (Unless the natural disaster goes by the name of Michael Myers and is hiding in your closet, then for the love of all that is holy, try not to trip over the doorsill.) If you’re outside, you could get hit by lightning, flying cows, flying signs or even flying giant man-eating lizard birds. When defining basic human needs, there’s a reason that it isn’t food, clothing and a great outdoor spot to watch “Armageddon.” Though truthfully, I miss drive-ins.

Let’s just assume that you can’t contain your impulsive curiosity. (You’re curious. I like that.) The next thing you should do is to avoid standing alone in the middle of the street. (If you’re a journalist, avoid standing with a producer and a cameraman in the middle of the street.) Yes, you would have a front row seat to watch all of nature’s might. Yes, you could break out your popcorn and stare in amazement at all of the chaos around you as you entertain all of your neighbors staring at you from the comfort of their homes. The danger of this is that after all of the flying debris misses you for a couple of minutes, you might think, this isn’t so bad. In fact, this is just like that one time my best girl and I went walking through the park, picking tulips and singing a duet by Beyonce and Jay-Z.

This is a dangerous path to take. At this point you must avoid thinking you could surf this natural disaster. Don’t. Just don’t. Sure, you could finally do your Jeff Spicoli impression that you’ve worked on for all of these years and which everyone said was not that good with a chance to finally prove all of them wrong. At this point, let’s just assume you could grab a large hunk of cardboard that you’ve kept from your break-dancing days and reinforced with a couple of rolls of duct tape for just this occasion and head to the nearest wave or hill or dead brontosaurus that has appeared as all time and space from the past and future have merged. You might as well take the chance to surf for the first time. It’s not like things can get worse.

Until you think that car bouncing by would be great to provide a tow-in to this wave thundering down Main Street. At this point, I don’t think a piece of advice like you should avoid holding onto a car bouncing down Main Street as a one-hundred foot wave from a tsunami approaches while riding on a piece of reinforced cardboard is going to help. At that point, I just have to say good luck.

About Jason McClain

Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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