I have not listened to the weather channel or paid much attention to hurricanes since the passing of Ike. After all, I had prepared to evacuate with the threat of Hanna, but recently unpacked all my necessities. I just was avoiding the issue.
And then today's headline! "The Storm is headed for the Carolinas." My goodness, a story that should have been a Sunday feature on an inside page ends up on Page 1 of the Beaufort Gazette. I looked at the picture of the huge hurricane heading straight for us and quickly turned on the weather channel. It was after the hour, so there was no Atlantic weather news. Back to the story, and it turns out it is just a feature on "the Carolinas".
My heart did not stop racing for at least half an hour. I am 74 years old. How many elderly people did you cause to have heart palpitations this morning?
I wonder if it also got first page coverage on the Island Packet. Your next headline might read "12.000 people in Sun City head for the hills--or back to Ohio." Sounds like the radio program of "War of the Worlds."
Anyway, the article was a fine one, even though it was misplaced.
For reference, this is the story that's under discussion. And (brace your heart for it), below is the offending graphic that ran with it that made me responsible for this woman's near cardiac arrest:
So, instead of actually reading even the first paragraph of the article that sent this woman's heart into Speed Racer mode, she threw aside the newspaper and threw herself into a panicked frenzy befitting cable news coverage, presumably calling up the Weather Channel and awaiting Local on the 8s while haphazardly stuffing prescription medicine bottles, the deed to the house and various clothing into a duffel bag, yelling at her husband to don't even bother boarding up the windows, just go outside and start the damn Escalade already.
But, more amusingly, I can only imagine the thoughts that ran through her head when she noticed not only a large hurricane barreling straight for South Carolina, but also a gigantic pencil looking like a Stylus of God sticking out of the sky apparently erasing South Carolina from the map.
"Dear Lord, Joseph, get the sharpeners! This thing means business. Do we know if our storm shelter is eraser proof? GAH! THERE'S NO TIME MAN, THERE'S NO TIME!"
I haven't responded to her yet, but I'm betting my reply will be none too light on the sarcasm (in extraordinary circumstances such as these, you are allowed to bite back, I think) and contain the basic sentiment of: "sorry you didn't take the time to look at one sentence of the story before freaking out, and sorry for piquing your interest and getting you to read our newspaper."
But at least she liked the article, when she finally did read it. This is, however, the first time I've been compared to Orson Welles. But maybe not the last?