Lets face it: In a crisis most people are like jack-asses
OK, let's review what we all learned from the crazy natural happenings on the East Coast last month.
First and foremost, they didn't do enough to warn the people of New England about Hurricane Irene, so pretty much all of Vermont washed away in the 75 inches of rain that fell in one day.
Secondly, the residents of New York and New Jersey were totally pissed because their hurricane forecast was too sensational, and all they got was a little wind and rain - not even enough to keep all the goofballs from pressing their noses up against the window outside 'Good Morning America' the next morning.
I don't exactly recall what the reaction was from the Carolinas, where residents of the Outer Banks live every day of their lives about 3 inches above sea level.
But there was considerable irritation that nobody said word one (in the way of predicting, that is) about the medium-size earthquake that shook most of the East Coast a few days earlier.
'Why weren't we told about this?' was the message that came in such unison all I could think was, 'Put it to music, Bub!'
Naturally, similar second-guessing followed when Hurricane Lee came out of the Gulf of Mexico, when 117-degree heat melted major parts of the Midwest and East, when those Texas forest fires consumed thousands of acres of trees, grass and fancy houses (Texas has forests? Who knew, right?) - and, of course, the same is likely if and when hurricanes Katya, Maria and Nate reach land, if that ever happens.
What's next, you may be wondering: Meteor showers? Flaming frogs? Scalding hot burning spears from the bowels of hell?
I'm no Matt Zaffino, but I can assure you that it will be something.
And when it comes, a huge percentage of mankind will want to know, 'Why weren't we told about this?'
Unless it isn't completely horrendous, of course. Then the cry will be, 'Why all the fuss? That was nothing!'
I'm surprised it's not meteorologists, rather than postal employees, who flip out, go berserk and shoot entire buildings full of people. Those poor people have been pushed to the brink - they can do nothing right, and we're never satisfied with their forecasts - while Postal Service workers seem to be driven crazy by the fact that they have to, you know, go to work every day.
For a glimpse into the minds of people who decide, after the fact, that warnings were either too hysterical or not hysterical enough, I often refer to a sports writer I knew years ago at the Klamath Falls Herald and News. On those occasions when the computer would crash, this guy (let's call him, oh, I don't know, Barry?) would come to me and ask, 'How long is the computer going to be down?'
When I would say, 'Nobody knows that, and I'm amazed that a grownup person would even ask such a stupid question,' his reply was usually something idiotic like 'But I've got to get my work done, and soon!'
What this taught me is, there's a large majority of people who are not capable of thinking of the world anywhere even remotely outside their own head.
All they really know is what they want to do, what they're afraid to do, or what they would have been doing if they hadn't been warned unnecessarily not to do something.
There have been documented cases, of course, where these kinds of jack-asses rush to the seashore to hold hurricane-watching parties. Sometimes they get away with it and laugh contemptuously about how nothing bad happened. Sometimes they are killed in great numbers when giant waves come in off the ocean and wipe out everything in their path.
As a species, we really don't learn these things that well.
And I believe these are also the very same people who, if they were stuck in a fort in the Old West with John Wayne, and a thousand Indians were riding down the mountain whooping and hollering, they would want to start freaking out, but the Duke would not let them.
Big John would slap them and say, 'Dammit, man! Shut up your snivelin' and load the rifles!'
If he were still around today, I'm pretty sure John Wayne would wear himself out slapping people.
And that's just the ones who need slapping.
If only John Wayne would have been a weather man. Now that would have been something to see.
Former editor of the Lake Oswego Review and former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly handles special sections for Community Newspapers and contributes a regular column.