Near-armageddon caused by Georgia storm is a bit over the top.
The first image that popped into my head was one of the climactic scenes in the 1998 film, "Deep Impact." A freeway has been reduced to practically armageddon, with full societal-level breakdown as people in log-jammed vehicles run, scream, fight, crash into each other and generally freak out.
Why all the fuss? Everyone is trying in vain to escape a massive comet that, while it might not wipe out the entire human race when it makes impact with Earth, is going to kill millions of people and leave nothing but a wasteland in its wake. Even if it were smooth-sailing on the freeway, no one would be able to drive fast enough or far enough away to escape a death that's going to come almost in an instant, courtesy of an epic, speeding wall of fire and/or water.
It's kind of a cheesy flick – the first of 17 big-budget blockbusters, I believe, that features actor Morgan Freeman as President of the United States. Still, any film with an end-of-the-world plot angle is going to pique the curiosity of certain types of people, like me.
That scene crossed my mind when I read an Associated Press story last week out of Atlanta, Georgia. Here's the opening words from the lead sentence:
"Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal took responsibility Thursday for the poor storm preparations that led to an epic traffic jam in Atlanta and forced drivers to abandon their cars or sleep in them overnight when a storm..."
When a storm what? Spawned dozens of tornadoes? Brought in a storm surge from the ocean that swamped the city? Ushered in 200 mile per hour wind gusts? Dumped softball-size hail? Made the seas flow blood red?
Nope, when a storm..."dumped a couple inches of snow."
First off, does two inches of snow even qualify as a dumping? Two inches is just plain cute, more like a "sprinkling" or a "dusting." Secondly, is this the Associated Press, or a story ripped from the latest headlines of the best satirical "news" outlet on the planet, The Onion?
Now, before anyone points any accusing fingers at a columnist who appears to be making light of a heavy-duty situation, following is a moment of silence for the 14 or so people who died as a result of the storm – a little more than half in traffic accidents and the rest from fires blamed on space heaters.
Thank you for that.
Now, back to the good-natured ribbing of those who call the "Deep South" home.
I know Atlanta is a huge metropolis, and a crazy little storm in a city where "White Christmas" is only a song and not reality is going to wreak havoc, especially when schools are let out early because of the nasty weather right around the time people are leaving early from work in order to get home safe. But this is too much.
"We did not make preparations early enough," Gov. Deal continued in the AP story. "I'm not going to look for a scapegoat. I am the governor. The buck stops with me."
Preparations? What kind of preparations? Should he have gone on the state's Emergency Alert System and said, in a soothing tone, "Georgia citizens, try not to go all bat-#@*% crazy."
It was icy, too. Roads that thawed during the day froze up again at night, and no one south of Des Moines, Iowa knows how to drive a vehicle on the ice. It was the "bone-chilling" temperatures that "refroze" all the snow and ice, the Associated Press reported.
Bone-chilling? What an insult to us Great White Northerners. What a slap to our wind-whipped, chapped, dog-days-of-winter faces. If we'd been subjected to such "bone-chilling" temperatures around these parts in late January, the curlers at Crookston Sports Center would have sucked down a couple of cold ones, stripped naked, grabbed their rocks and headed to the outdoor rink.
It's 55 degrees and sunny as heck in Atlanta today, a fact that further illustrates just how fragile and overly-dramatic people who aren't subjected to four distinct seasons each year can be. Essentially, they had a bad day, and now everyone wants the governor's head on a platter?
A news correspondent at Atlanta-based CNN yelled at the Atlanta mayor in a live interview because she got stuck in the traffic jam for a few hours and wasn't buying his excuses for the preparations before the storm, or the reactions during and after it. The mayor wasn't aware she'd been in the jam, but the reporter made sure he knew of her plight when she yelled, "I was in it!"
Get over yourself. Copy the 55-degree fashion statement in Minnesota – shorts and a hoodie sweatshirt – and go outside to warm your bones.