Hurricane season opens June 1 -- unlike deer season, you don't get to hunt so much as be hunted by nature's version of Bambi on steroids -- and the collective hand-wringing from local news, nervous nellies and weather nerds will soon commence. But, for the moment, Texas remains trapped in another, seemingly less threatening, weather phenomenon: a drought.
Sure, it's not as terrifying as a hurricane -- unless your house is burning from a wildfire -- but it is no less historic than a major storm slamming into the coastline. The last three months' rainfall in Houston, a place so steamy a native Houstonian and former friend of ours once called it "fucking lush," has been the equivalent of the same three months of normal rainfall in the Sahara Desert. Yes, that Sahara Desert.
Now, droughts don't move the needles on the "Oh my God, we're all going to die" local news panic meter, which is why stories about how insanely dry it is out there have been relegated to weather blogs and the occasional "isn't that interesting" factoid from Frank Billingsley. But, we're here to tell you that there are plenty of reasons the drought is worse than a hurricane. Here are five of them.
5. Insurance won't re-sod your lawn. After a hurricane, if you can afford decent homeowners' insurance, your house gets all the repairs you've been ignoring for the last ten years FREE OF CHARGE! A pine tree crashing through your roof nearly killing your children is small price to pay for the new roof and kitchen remodel. But, try asking State Farm to replace your brown yard like they did your front porch after Ike. Who's the good neighbor now?
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4. During a summer drought, you have to try to look good. It's like perpetual beach weather, meaning you have to lose weight, dress nice and dab your forehead ever so gently with a handkerchief, while saying, "Dear me, it certainly is sweltering." Okay, maybe that last one is just in Gone With the Wind, but, after a hurricane, everyone looks like crap and no one cares. It's like an episode of any television show set in New Orleans; everyone is sweaty and drunk. We revel in our sweat-stained T-shirts and dirty faces like we're in a Lost costume contest. It's so much easier than busting cardio before work every morning just so you can avoid looking like a beached manatee.
3. You have to trim your own trees. Speaking of repairs, have you priced tree-trimming services lately? Ouch. One hurricane and problem solved. One of those big, dead limbs might smash a window or two, but that's okay. Just refer to number four on this list for that. With this drought, you'll have to pay to have your trees trimmed or just set them on fire. They are really dry, but if you do set them ablaze, you didn't hear that suggestion from us.
2. Governor Perry is making us pray. While we can't say we were taken totally by surprise when the governor suggested Texans pray for rain, it was pretty shocking to suddenly see it start pouring down after everyone asked God for help. Oh, wait. Perhaps the governor can try to trade Native American tribes in Texas rain dances for casino rights because that would be equally appropriate and effective.
1. No crazy news people jumping around in the rain. We'll never forget a rain-soaked Robert Arnold from Channel 2 standing waist deep in flood waters during Tropical Storm Allison begging viewers, "Please, don't wade in the water" because, you know, it's dangerous. Watching the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore brave even the fiercest storm is only slightly less entertaining than seeing Geraldo Rivera eat it on the seawall during Ike. This drought, for news people, is like that scene in Wayne's World, where they change their backdrops to appear like they are in different locations before stopping on Delaware, at which point they just stand there and Wayne says, "Hi, I'm in...Delaware." Also, no hurricane means no dancing bear, and what fun is that?