Chase Your Dreams, Unless You Dream About Tornadoes

Death and taxes.  Those are the certainties we face.  Certainties, but most of us try to avoid them whenever possible.  Have you ever heard of someone running after the IRS at high speeds?  Or volunteering to pay a cashier twice the tax, just for adrenaline kicks?  Not even the Pelosi family acts like that.  Yet some people do that with the other of life's definites.  They taunt death by chasing tornadoes, a game even sillier than playing Fantasy WNBA. 

I was recently in Norfolk, Nebraska (jealous?) for the Great American Comedy Festival this past June.  When I got there, I was warned that June is "tornado season".  It has a season!  I wanted to believe that "in season" only meant that at that time of year, the twisters were more delicious, but I knew what it really meant…that I was going to ask the hotel for a room in the cellar. 

Sure enough, during one of the shows, we heard a loud siren.  Like a car alarm, only people actually reacted to it.  Nobody pays attention to car alarms anymore…most likely because there's no "car stereo season" to keep them on their toes.  So the Nebraska locals hear the alarm and immediately head to the hallway of the high school auditorium.  The sight of people actually employing the school hallway "duck n cover" technique brought me back to the days of watching grainy public service announcements about storm safety.  I remember vividly how much fun it was.  Classmates would ignore the video and pelt me with spitballs as I politely took notes and told the teacher my vitals, like how I'm O-positive and allergic to bee stings…you know, just in case a tornado comes by shooting knife-wielding bees at us. 

The quick thinking from the locals was immediately offset by the fact that there were also 20 comics present.  Those from New York think tornadoes are like UFOs and wanted to spot one, like this was an audition for History Channel's "Monster Quest".  They were eager to get outside and take it all in.  I, being from the great state of Tennessee home of the mighty Vanderbilt Commodores, know how powerful these things can be.  Besides, it was windy outside and this hair doesn't just comb itself over, people.  I was staying indoors.

Thankfully nobody was hurt, but people who search out destructive twisters are just damn out of their minds.  The only time I got excited about seeing a funnel up close, it was of the plastic variety in Fort Lauderdale during spring break and involved a case of Natty Light.  The only thing spinning out of control was my poor, innocent, untrained liver (may she rest in peace).  

Storm chasers say it's cool to play with Mother Nature.  Is it?  After all, she is a Mother and when she's in tornado form, she's apparently really, really pissed off at something.  Maybe it's something you did, but whatever it is, go to your room until she calms down after a couple of drinky poos.  In fact, I bet if we could see a tornado in slow motion, we would see a giant funnel-shaped mom in a bathrobe clutching a bottle of wine yelling, "What do you mean there's no school tomorrow?  I got things to do, dammit!"  Let that storm run its course, is all I'm saying.  

Nature has ways of communicating to us.  And when a big dark cloud twists it's way down a field ominously throwing to the side anything in its path, it's safe to say that the message is, "Get the hell out of the way, you morons!"  It's not, "Catch me if you can, suckers!"  Nebraska knows that all too well.  Tis the season, after all.  

Thanks to Norfolk for putting on such a fantastic festival!!  Lots of laughs, lots and lots of corn, and not one single knife bee.  God's country indeed.

Categories: Columns