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Friday, November 9, 2012


The last thing anyone would want to do is try to make light of a dangerous and heartbreaking hurricane, so I will not attempt to do that. In the northeast, we haven’t seen anything even closely resembling a hurricane since, well, last year.

I thought about leaving before the storm got here, in order to protect my home and family, since an emergency situation is when I would be most likely to do something stupid that would harm them. My wife suggested a few places I could go and promised to write to me. In the end, we stayed put, but our electricity evacuated to higher ground.

This was not the time to “ride it out.” Those who did actually rode it right out of town and ended up in another state. The weather system was downgraded to a “superstorm,” but it was long and scary. And still, it could have been worse: what if it had become a “super-duper storm??”

After last year’s weather drama we finally went out and purchased a generator, and we have been generating since Monday. We had the electrician wire it into the circuit-breaker panel, and each time we turn something on, the generator groans like, “Dude, did you just turn on the oil burner? Was that ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY? Ever hear of a SWEATER?”

Power was so haphazard in our town, with every other street lit up, that it seemed like it had been wired the same way as a string of Christmas lights.

The utility crews came from far and wide. We had been without power for days, and every time my wife saw a truck of any kind she started to exhibit signs of hysteria, and wanted to stop the car and promise them things if they would restore our power. Nice things, things I have been asking for for years.

The lack of electricity cast a pall upon normal activities. Peoples’ smiles just weren’t as bright, mostly because they could not charge their electric toothbrushes.

I always like to look at the bright side of things, since that is where the power is back on. For instance, after the storm we didn’t have to rake the leaves. They were still on the trees, which are across our back lawn. All we have to do is cut up the branches and haul them away.

Many people have been displaced by the storm. I hope they don't give them those FEMA trailers like they did after Katrina- the ones that they found all this mold in the walls? When they got rid of those they should have thrown away the mold- you hardly need me to tell you that.
Around Thursday or so things started getting a little dicey trying to find gasoline. By Friday it was like a Mad Max movie. I went out to the bar to smuggle some alcohol out to mix with my gas. I felt like a gasoholic- I’d hide a little here and there that my wife didn't know about.

On top of that, I drove around wasting precious petrol because no one had bothered to place a sign at the beginning of a road that you couldn't get through. A lot of people just plowed right through the yellow tape and tried to drive under the downed utility poles; in some cases it was a tight fit. I drove past a barrier once or twice myself but only after somebody else did it first. I didn't stop to read the yellow tape- It’s possible that I drove through a crime scene- I might have even left some DNA.

We have learned a lot from this storm. We learned NEVER to name a storm something that might prove to be prophetic. Hurricane Sandy dumped three feet of sand in the middle of every town in the Northeast. Thank god they didn’t call it Hurricane Dick.

We learned to keep things in perspective: for those of you whose mortgages are the only things underwater, it could be a whole lot worse....

I am a big fan of the Jersey Shore (the shore, not the show), and it was sad to see an entire amusement pier vanquished into the ocean. Maybe it will become a water park. For miles around all you can see is devastation, except for a few places where there is only havoc. But the shore is still there, and when the summer rolls around, I will be there too.

Our electricity came back we embarked upon an orgy of power consumption. We turned the dishwasher and the clothes dryer on at the same time in a defiant message to the gods: “WE STILL HAVE NOT LEARNED OUR LESSON!”

I wanted to perk things up so I bought some flowers on the way home from work today. My wife’s face lit up, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that they were for the tree guy.

And to those of you in neighboring unaffected states, our sediments are with you.

Incidentally, there have been more powerful storms in the Northeast throughout history. The “Long Island Express” of September in 1938 blew sustained winds of 120 miles per hour through Massachusetts, making a decent game of tennis virtually impossible. Hurricanes Carol and Edna struck within two weeks of each other in 1954. Hurricane Katrina of 2005 remains the most expensive in U.S. history, costing an estimated $75 billion. It seems to me that with a little haggling we could have gotten it for less, but it’s too late now.


  1. A power blackout is a time for heroic acts, but the image of you using a straw to blow air into your fish tank ... sorry, it just brings up too many painful memories.

  2. it's dick cheney's fault