We Are Going to Die

If you’re reading this, I’m dead. Or: trapped beneath a pile of softball-sized hail, wearing a bike helmet. My wife saw on television that bike helmets protect against tornadoes and various airborne sixteen-wheelers. I guess she was wrong. Since I’m dead.

Anyway, I’m not going to mince words, the weather is ugly right now, folks.

While I write this, it sounds like the outside world is about to explode. My mother-in-law is looking out the window in horror — she’s wearing my old catcher’s mask and chest protector. And I can’t help but wonder if she’d be able to handle my four-seam fastball with that new hip of hers.

Earlier today, emergency officials recommended stockpiling a disaster survival kit, which I’ve already done. Flashlight, candles, lighter, radio, coffee, Southern Living cookbooks, and a sterilized five-gallon bucket with a toilet seat.

Also: toilet paper. Even in dire situations, we only buy quilted Tempurpedic tissue. The last time I bought the cheap stuff, Jamie used it for sanding oil stains on the driveway.

So, make no mistake about it, we’re all going die. Helmets and all. If you don’t believe me, just watch the news coverage. They’ll convince you in only three seconds.

The multicolored weather maps are downright apocalyptic. The green-colored areas, (marginal risk zones) are where it’s raining twenty inches. The orange areas (enhanced risk zones), twenty-five inches. The red areas (write-your-will-on-a-paper-towel-zones), are where chunks of Alabama and Florida get sucked into outer space.

And, just in case viewers’ underpants are still clean, the weatherman plays footage of Hurricane Andrew, Hugo, Katrina, and Iwo Jima to remind us of what we’re dealing with.

Disaster authorities advise taking shelter in a concrete place, like the garage. Which is what we’re doing right now.

The three of us have made camp next to my beer fridge. My wife and mother-in-law each get their own cot and sleeping bag; I’m huddled next to the lawnmower for warmth. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter. According to the weatherman, we’ll all be dead in a few hours anyway.

When you find my body, if you’d be kind enough to promise me something:

Don’t tell anyone about this stupid helmet.