Friday, February 16, 2007

Creepy Weather Alert

Here is another reason to be glad you live in Maine, especially if you have regained any of the feeling in your fingers and toes after going out to get the mail.

A 66-year-old man in Brazil had to beat a 16-foot anaconda snake with rocks a couple of weeks ago in order to save his eight-year-old grandson. Anacondas don't normally attack humans, according to an Associated Press report, but it does happen once in a while.

In case you're not sure, a 16-foot snake is considered “heavy-duty.” The anaconda kills its prey like a boa constrictor, gradually squeezing until you can’t breathe.

As you know, we don't have such creatures in Maine. The closest thing we have matching this description is Wal-Mart, which has proven immune to all wildlife management efforts and can adapt itself to any environment.

But the fierce anaconda could not survive our winter, at least not without one of those remote car starters. To live in Maine, you have to take the weather in stride.

That’s why it perplexed me last week to see Governor Baldacci declare a “State of Emergency” before it even started snowing.

Does that inspire a lot of confidence in your state leadership? That the Governor himself would roll out of bed and start screeching spasms of panic before he even looks out the window? Maybe he just can’t get that creepy “StormCenter” music out of his head.

Anyway, it turns out that “State of Emergency” is a legal term that allows the government and certain businesses to ignore some laws (like behind-the-wheel time limits for truck drivers, or 55 percent state funding for education) for a specific period of time (years on end, apparently).

So a “State of Emergency” may or may not reflect what a non-government person would consider an “emergency.” We need some extra terms to let the public know the governor’s approximate armpit humidity level.

Here's what I propose:

State of Paxil-Induced Relaxation: Default setting.

State of Mild Nervous Twitches: Some troublesome weather which might cause inconvenience for tourists and other people who have no idea how to drive.

State of Genuine Concern: A storm of some kind that might require certain people to work for 154 hours straight and later require therapy. Maybe a few power outages.

State of Severe Anxiety: We might need the National Guard for a while, but things should return to normal before the next election.

State of Underwear-Staining Alarm: Extreme loss of life and property. Good luck finding anything from your previous life among the piles of rubble But things will still return to normal by the next election, at least as far as the national media are concerned.

State of Massachusetts: Complete apocalyptic chaos.

My system sure beats the terms we have now. Does anyone know the difference between a “winter storm watch” and a “winter storm warning?” We also have the “winter weather advisory,” “wintry wonderland watch,” “advisory on watchful weather warning,” and “wicked-high-wind wariness of doom.”

I’m just waiting for there to be a “snake advisory.” I want to see how the governor reacts to that one.


Sam said...

Brilliant! I'm still giggling over your Wal-Mart comment, but as I'm hailing from Toronto, Canada, where we've been known to call in the army to help people shovel the snow from their driveways, I couldn't agree with you more! :)

Woman with kids said...

It's the Storm Center music, makes me hyperventilate and stay in my pj's all day. Poor Gov didn't know what to do, with that music in his head.