Hurricane Earl: Tips From The Gulf Coast

The single most important type of hurricane ever -- one that threatens the New York metropolitan area -- is looming.

As everyone knows, events that happen in New York are far more important than events elsewhere. Luckily for TV viewers up there, we're sure the sophisticated local news shows will ignore any opportunity to hype Hurricane Earl and will instead calmly report that it's far more likely to miss the tri-state area than hit it.

But it's been a while since you guys up there have been threatened with a Big `Cane. So here are some tips:

1. Head to the Home Depot, or Lowe's, or any other big home-repair store.
You've always wanted to be on TV, right? Now's your chance!! Usually the routine would be for news crews to capture endlessly fascinating footage of people buying shovels and rock salt in advance of a hyped blizzard that ends up being two inches. Remember -- with hurricanes, plywood is your secret to local-news fame. Head for the bright lights at the plywood department, and have a pithy quote about "battening down" ready.

2. What the hell -- evacuate. What could go wrong?
Take it from Houston -- Rita is what can go wrong.

Don't worry, though -- officials always "learn things" from storms, so the traffic nightmare you endure trying to get away from the coast will come in handy 10 or so years from now.

3. Stock up mindlessly on food you will never eat. If it's still on a supermarket shelf, buy it. Even if you're not quite sure what it is. Hurricane scares are designed to fill your pantry to the brim. Later, when you need space for food you actually might eat, you can feel good about yourself by donating the other stuff to a food drive.

4. Hurricanes are brought to you by the bottled-water industry.
Don't try to fight it. Just try to be subtle as you elbow that grandma away from the last case of Poland Spring.

5. If you do put up plywood, be sure to spray-paint it with a feisty slogan. Again, your goal is screen time. "Go Away, Earl!!" is acceptable, but your chances will improve with "Looters: Have .44 Magnum, Will Use" or soul-stirring words to that effect.

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