As we all know by now, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the Eastern seaboard and ready to wreak havoc from South Carolina all the way up into New York. For anybody that lives near the Atlantic coast between these regions, this is a pretty tense time.
We here at The Smoking Jacket can’t afford to send them any food, batteries, fresh water or extra blankets, so we’re going to lend a hand the only way we know how — an advice column. Attempting to save millions of lives is a neat little first for us, and after this we might try tackling that whole global warming thing, but for now we have a series of simple tips for surviving Hurricane Irene in three stages: the before, during, and after.
This hurricane is not just coming for your property, it’s coming for your information (pornhub) superhighway, too. If you decide to man up, board up your house, and wait it out like the Swiss Family Robinsons, you need to be ready for the technology withdrawal that comes with it. This storm’s going to knock out your TV and internet connection for a spell—which means some preparation is in order so you don’t try to kill Shelley Duvall with an axe five minutes after the wind starts shrieking.
Start by using your internet only for weather updates. Ditto for TV, and in between that try watching PBS, or CSPAN, or the first season of AMC’s The Killing to build up your tolerance for skull-smashing boredom. Then think of stuff you did as a kid that passed the time—stuff that defined fun before you grew up, like spin the bottle, or Ouija board or some combination if you maybe want to invoke dead grandma and cop a feel on whoever you’re sharing the house with at the same time.
If Forrest Gump taught us anything, it’s that God tends to smile upon those he thinks got a raw deal in life. He smiles upon them so much that he sometimes gives them a get-out-of-death-free card as a consolation prize. Would dumbass Private Gump have been the only fishing boat to survive that tropical storm if he hadn’t had legless Lieutenant Dan on board? In our educated opinion…no.
As far as we know, no other boats had any hard luck cripples under their employment. Coincidence? We think not. If there is such a thing as karma, you can’t do much better for yourself in a life-or-death hurricane situation than saddling up with a cripple. God may not owe you a solid, but he damn sure owes one to your new buddy. Let his cosmic invincibility rub off on you.
If worse comes to worse and you have to ride the ravenous, all-rising, all-consuming tide to safer ground like Snake Plissken in Escape From L.A., just remember that there’s a lot of things that float. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Looters in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina floated from store to store using mattresses as rafts, and garbage cans as suitcases to store their new stuff in
It’s not as bad if you just think of it as an adventure, like Huck Finn going down the Mississippi. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make friends with a person from a different race, and people will write songs about the triumph of the human spirit starring you and that other guy burying the hatchet on that whole colonialism/slavery/centuries of mistrust thing by sharing a piece of driftwood.
Ouch…too soon? Whenever one of these pre-doomsday natural disasters rolls around, a rational person tends to reexamine what’s really important in their lives and revert back to a certain caveman constitution of survival our prehistoric forefathers used to outwit wooly mammoths and velociraptors and stuff. Your brain gets rewired from “I think it’s time my neighbor and I had a polite conversation about his tree branch hanging over my lawn” to “I’m cutting my neighbor’s throat for that last MRE.”
You put a lot of people like this into one place, and bad things can happen. Any old shelter with a roof and four walls can turn into the Roman Coliseum. When Katrina was busy ass-raping New Orleans, about 20,000 people who used the Louisiana Superdome as an emergency shelter witnessed the place turn into a minor hellhole in just a couple days, with reports of gang assaults, rapes, robberies, drug-dealing, vandalism and the total collapse of the arena’s toilet system. So unless you’re ready to deal with all that shit—literally—stay away.
FEMA officially stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency, not Federal Save Us From The Hurricanes Foundation. It’s easy for us to sit back and crack jokes about how gravely they effed up post-Katrina relief efforts, but the truth is they have more on their plate to worry about than just hurricanes. They exist for all disasters, not just natural ones. If there’s another 9/11 or zombie outbreak, or foreign war out there, that’s also their responsibility to plan & prepare for.
Knocking on their door with your hands out after a hurricane levels yours and about a hundred thousand other houses is like standing in line with the whole city of Reno waiting to see a doctor you’ve never seen before and expecting him to cure you in about ten minutes.
Living within a stone’s throw of the ocean and complaining about a hurricane, or a tsunami for that matter, coming every once in a while to lay waste to everything you own is a little like being a part of the Brody family and complaining about a giant shark eating up all of your relatives. If it sucks so bad, just relocate to a place where nature doesn’t hate you so much.
The Midwest, for instance. No hurricanes there, right? It’s not such a bad place. On the contrary—it’s peaceful, and unassuming. Celebrities go there when they want to clear their heads. Aliens use it when they need somebody to anally probe. The only thing you have to worry about is the occasional tornado, and if Bill Paxton can outrun one, so can you.
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