Friday, July 29, 2011

The Hurricane Files: Confessions of a Tropical Depression

I just feel like a total failure, okay?

I had so much potential, that’s what everyone was saying, how much potential I had. I envy old people, no tells them about their potential, they don’t have to disappoint anyone. I started out great, I was so strong I felt I could really do something, make a difference. I mean, I was a category, four, man! They were taking pictures of me from these little planes, a couple of them almost crashed, and doing all these computer models trying to figure out where I was headed, what towns I was going to destroy how many billions I was going to cost in property damage and flooding and downed power lines and projectile lawn furniture and – I don’t know, all of that stuff. I could have even killed some people, I could have, are you kidding me? Those crazy birdbrains who try to wait out the storm. Oh yeah, I was looking forward to blowing in their windows, blasting them with shards, pulling their roofs off, knocking a tree down on them. Bugt there weren’t many, Everyone was evacuating. I love the sound of that word. Evacuating – those long lines of cars, packed with precious belongings and screaming kids and antsy dogs, running away -- from me!

Those were good times. But nothing lasts. I was just kidding myself. Mr. Big Storm. I don't mean to sound sexist but how am I going to face Katrina and Dora and Carla and Helene and all the other girls now? “How did you do? How was your storm surge? I bet you had a huge storm surge.”

Well, I didn’t have any storm surge, okay? I unraveled like an old slinky toy. I lost it, I couldn’t keep a tight spiral. Then I got into the cold water and I hate cold water and I just saw the whole thing falling apart. No guts, no stamina. I could hear the news stories in my head: “Leaves are down all over Nantucket island!” Not power lines and hundred year old elms. Not even twigs. Just leaves! What a loser. I don’t even know why I bothered. There’s always stronger better storms coming up behind you. If you’re not in the record books you’re no one. You’re a joke. The ‘no name’ storm was better than me – they called it the perfect storm and no one even bothered to name it. What does that make me? The piddly storm? The puny storm? Windy drizzle, that’s the best I could come up with.And this was my one shot. Okay? It’s not like you get a second chance to make a first impression. You charge up in the gulf stream and make your run up the coast and that’s it. No do-overs, no excuses. Earl. I should have known something was up when they named me after some idiotic TV show, both of us cancelled. We can be neighbors in the trivia dictionary. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about. “Did you totally suck? Me too.” Except Earl made through five seasons, and when people laughed it was in the good way. With, not at. You know the difference, People laughed with Buster Keaton. They laughed at Charlie Chaplin. But I'm not even in that class. I’m the crap comedian doing the midnight show that no one laughs at at all. I get the shrug. The big shrug. Fine, I deserve it.

I feel so guilty. I let everyone down. I kicked up a little surf, a few measly riptides, but that was all gone the next day. You’d never even know I was there. Just blue sky and people making jokes and taking down all the plywood they didn’t need, feeling stupid and blaming me. Well they’re right to blame me. They counted on me. All those weather girls and boys with their perfect hair look like worse idiots than ever now, hyping me the way they did. But you could see the real meteorologists, the ones with the bad suits and cheap glasses, the ones they didn’t let on camera very much, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. They knew the real story. They saw right through me, right from the start. They knew I was a big fat nothing and getting less every second. They knew I was no Hurricane Bob. He made it all the way up the coast. People still talk about him. He meant something to people. Not like me. Not like good old Mr. Fizzle. That’s what they should call me. Mr, Fizzle. There’s just one thing in the world I’m supposed to do and I can’t even do that. What a waste.

I was thinking of getting my spin up, really hitting Maine and the Maritimes, but really, what’s the point? I just don’t care any more. I’m just going to take a couple of my tropical anti-depressives and go to sleep. So don’t bother putting away your lawn furniture, Canadians. I may never wake up at all.

That would show them, that would teach them a lesson.

They’ll miss me when I’m gone.

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