Friday, February 27, 2009

Not About Movies

Have you ever sat down to take a good hard mental look at why we name hurricanes? I mean, here are these destructive storms that have the capability of wreaking millions of dollars worth of property damage and leaving death tolls in the thousands, and we give them names like “Andrew,” “Katrina,” and “Bobbi-Sue” (maybe not that last one). Why anthropomorphize a force of nature? And if so, then why don’t we do the same to earthquakes, blizzards and tornadoes? What is it about hurricanes that gets the news all hot and bothered so they can say stuff like “the devastation left by Andrew was devastating for the devastated survivors.” Is that supposed to make the carnage “better” somehow? This is not a six year old who threw a tantrum and his Thomas the Tank Engine set across the room. These are real trains being thrown through houses, citywide evacuations, mass destruction swirling around. How does giving them the commonplace, mundane names of the W.A.S.P. neighbors down the street help anything? At least give them suitable names like Hurricane “Sonofabitch” of “Fuckshitup.”

Hypothetical situation: A hurricane blows down my house, turning it into a patch of kindling, brick and asbestos. That would make 2009 a bad year for me. It would suck royally. Then to add insult to injury, the scientists who watched the onslaught of wind approach named it “Stevie.” So “Stevie” knocked my house down. Why “Stevie?” Well, there’s a complex naming system for hurricanes, since more than one can occur in a season, so they have to enter a secret bunker in Colorado and offer a blood sacrifice to Dagon before spinning around a list of acceptable names in a hopper, then having a thalidomide baby reach in with their foot to pull out the winner. Meanwhile, hypothetical me has still had his house knocked down by hypothetical Stevie and is hypothetically cheesed off something fierce. Hurricanes are not cute and there is no purpose in giving them an anthropomorphizing name. The world has had hurricanes that f’ed S up for centuries. Ships have been sunk, cities like Port Royal were submerged. They did not have, nor need boring names for tempests that could shake the very foundations of the world.

You know what? Eff it. I’m going to start anthropomorphizing all sorts of weather systems. Hey look, here comes Summer Storm Joel to be followed by Heat Wave Tatiana. Last week we had Alberta Clipper Ishmael come through. See, I named them to make the weather seem less imposing. Next time, I’ll start giving them home addresses too so I can send them Christmas cards, because I’ll miss them and want to keep in touch.

No comments: