I was watching The Weather Channel the other day – because my life really is that exciting – and I was astounded. That’s right – astounded, and not simply due to the fact that I just realized that I had spent the better part of my Saturday watching the storm clouds potentially gather over Boston! It was actually during a brief intermission of the weather forecast that I got caught up on an advertisement for an upcoming episode of their hit series It Could Happen Tomorrow! The show offered the devastating insight that if the metropolitan area of Dallas, Texas were hit with an F5 tornado, buildings would crash to the ground, roadways would be torn to shreds, and cows would be hurled through the skies at incredible velocities, all the while later landing safely on the ground miles from their previous homes*.
* Please note: everything I know about tornados, I learned from the Twister ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. While this doesn’t make me an expert in tornado-ology, seriously, what were you expecting here?
Also, it would reason to believe that the five-gallon hat industry around the world would be crippled in a matter of days, but I think they were holding that nugget of detail back for the show itself.
You see, I kind of have a problem with these sorts of stories because A) most people are stupid and will buy into them like Internet stock; and B) for all tends and purposes, these guys are just making all of this stuff up anyways. And I’ve gotten into this one before when I wrote a column several years ago about how weathermen are lazy, and don’t really do anything but wear slick ties on TV, and how if the lady who regularly does the lotto drawings can fill in for you on your days off, then really how difficult can your job be anyways, and I’ll be the first to announce that more than a handful of wives and daughters of weathermen were sure to write in to tell me that I was a big jerk and how their husbands and fathers were certain that a devastating plague of locusts would be settling down over my house any day now.
Two years later, my house is still locust free and those guys are still collecting paychecks?! You know what would happen to me as a writer if I just started making stuff up to put here in my columns every week? Uhhh, nevermind…
But my point is that shows like this do nothing other than catch people’s attention, cause unnecessary panic, and ultimately pave the way for even more crappy summer blockbusters and their subsequent, mediocre-at-best rides at Universal Studios. I know they think they’re trying to do a public service by showing us complex computer simulations of what Ohio might look like after a Mach 9 Earthquake, but haven’t the good people of Ohio already gone through enough? They don’t need the chaos and the rest of us certainly don’t need another hour-long disruption in the classic ticker-display that we’ve come to know and love from The Weather Channel!
Of course, my pull at The Weather Channel is located somewhere firmly between zip and zilch, primarily because I just called all of their employees (with the exception of Skip, the Janitor – he’s cool with me) a bunch of talent-less buffoons, but I say if you want to create an intriguing, fictional what-if program to help spice up the network, why stop with natural disasters?
It Could Happen Tomorrow – a Massive Herd of Crazed Wildebeests Terrorizes New Mexico…and we don’t actually notice for about three months because there’s nothing but desert in New Mexico anyways…
It Could Happen Tomorrow – Kathy Lee Gifford Challenges President Bush to a Winner-Take-All Spelling Bee Championship for the Presidency…and ties in sudden death overtime
It Could Happen Tomorrow – Space Aliens from…well, Space…Invade New Jersey and Proceed to Miraculously Raise Property Values by 25% in Their First Year
I’ve got a million of ‘em, so let me know if you need me to come in and help churn up some fresh ideas in your next brainstorming session! I’m also available to fill in for Chester in front of that big map thingy if he happens to come down with a plague of locusts or something – I hear those are going around pretty bad this time of year…