January 17, 2013 by Doug Coutts
We’ve been going through a tough time in Wellington this afternoon. Wild winds, driving rain, freezing temperatures – just another summer’s day in the Capital? Not quite.
According to the gushy little number who does the weather on the state broadcaster’s evening news, we were also having a Thunderstorm Alert. This makes things much more serious. Because, as everyone knows, when you’re having thunderstorms, things are … things are … I don’t know – louder?
Exactly what a Thunderstorm Alert is she didn’t explain. Maybe everyone else knows and I didn’t get the pamphlet. That’ll teach me for not checking before I throw the junk mail out… I wonder what else I missed. Perhaps the retirement age has been lowered to 47 and I had until last Monday to apply for back-pay. Damn.
I hope there was indeed a pamphlet; otherwise we have to assume a Thunderstorm Alert is merely a crock of shit, another attempt to market weather, to make the ordinary into something you can sell commercials around.
Because there’s not a lot you can do when there’s a thunderstorm that you’re not already doing. You’ll be taking cover, regretting not packing your brolly or pleased that you’ve finally got the chance to try out the fold-out wet-weather cover you got in the Kathmandu sale. The weather is already inclement, you see – the thunderstorm part is just adding decibels.
In which case, a Thunderstorm Alert would only be useful if you were carrying ear protection. You’d know that now would be a good time to put it on, as opposed to when you’re about to jaywalk across the Willis St bus lane.
No one has ever been killed by thunder. Precious few have been killed by lightning – in fact death by lightning doesn’t make the Top 100 Causes of Death in the US. You’re more likely to die by contact with a wasp or hornet, especially if the wasp or hornet has been gaffer-taped to a bullet. And in terms of death by electricity, the State is just as likely to get you as God.
That’s in the US. They do things differently there I know. But in terms of over-hyping the mundane and everyday occurrences, our media is starting to catch up. Tin-foil hat, anyone?