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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Impaled by a CowHurricane over Miami

Published: November 4, 2005
Section: Arts, Etc.

All right guys and females. I have something important to say. In some ways, what I am about to say is quite tragic. In other ways, it is even more tragic. And in still other ways, it is rather silly, but at least Im coming out with the truth. The thing isand I say this, mind you, while trying to keep a completely straight face by wrapping it very tightly in successive layers of Saran WrapIm from Miami.

As many of you know, Miami has been hit by a series of hurricanes ever since it decided to pop its little head up right SMACK in the middle of Atlantic Ocean Hurricane Central and see how long it could float there without sinking and/or being blown away. This happened thousands of years ago during an innocent game of Truth or Dare when what is now Butte, Montana, asked Miami who he had a crush on. Miami, the little scrawny chicken that it was, decided to go for the dare instead, and he remains in the middle of the Atlantic to this day. Butte, meanwhile, is still sitting there, nice and landlocked up north in Montana on some furry lounge chair with complimentary suede ottoman, stretching its legs and watching various horned animals run past as it sips on a strawberry daiquiri and wonders where all the people are.

Theyre in Miami, Butte. Dont ask. I have no idea why either.

Anyway, I went back to my hometown not two weeks ago in order to take care of some business. That business included, among other things, getting teeth pulled and getting my drivers license renewed. The teeth-pulling went rather smoothly, mostly due to the fact that I dont remember any of it because they gave me enough drugs to sedate a grossly caffeinated buffalo. The drivers license renewal, though, was a different story altogether. Sure, I mean, I got the new license, but I dont think the city of Miami really thought very deeply about the concept of a new drivers license when they actually gave me mine.

Allow me to explain. It has always been my impression that the purpose of requiring one to renew his drivers license is to either:

A) Test one to make sure he still knows that hes supposed follow all the rules like stopping at one of those big red octagonal signs unless hes too drunk to notice it,
B) Retake ones picture in order to correspond with the effects of puberty between the ages of 16 and 22, allowing him to have a drivers license with a picture that actually sort of looks like him, maybe. (He is a late bloomer, so be quiet.)

And yet, I received no driving test. For all the city of Miami knows, I could be running over stop signs all day with no one to stop me. I may even have no legs for all they care. This, though, didnt bother me all that much. I was quite happy to avoid the DMV. After all, it did happen to be the place that, despite the fact that I hit a car ON my driving test, still gave me a license to drive. (No, I am not making that up.) What perplexed me and still does is the fact that they did not even retake my picture.

And even that in itself wasnt so bad. But add to that the fact that the picture on my old license was taken at the age of 18 since I lost my original two years after I got it at 16, the fact that my new license has my original picture at 16, and the fact that my new license expires in 2011, do the math, and Miami has effectively renewed my license by giving me a six-year-old picture that expires when Im 28 and doesnt even know if I can still drive or even if I still have any of my limbs.

It took me a few days to start to care about all this. After those few days, I started to ask myself why a city would renew my license by giving me an older picture than I had on my first one, not even bothering to see if I still knew how to drive. After a few hours of quiet reflection in the humid Miami air and imminent dehydration, it suddenly hit me.

Anyone who can take out his fingers and toes, put two and two together and get any number between three and seventeen knows that from June 1st to November 29th every year, Miami has no idea whats going on anywhere in the world except at the local Home Depot. This is because the only thing on all of the local news channels all throughout hurricane season is Home Depot 24-hours-a-day-7-days-a-week-live-feed-right-into-your-living-room with a little box in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen that shows the massive buzz saw hurricane about to hit us going back and forth in a loop from the weather satellite over and over and over and over again non stop for nine days.

This means that, as a Miamian, you have one of two choices regarding what to watch on TV between June 1st and November 29th. Your first choice is to watch the Home Depot checkout lines and try to count how many sheets of plywood everyone is trying to cart off, divide that by the number of people in line, and multiply that by the plywood constant, which is 10,958.72 sheets per person. While youre trying to do the math, you can listen to the Home Depot correspondents for the respective local news channels try to explain to you exactly what is going on.

John, Im here at Home Depot on 163rd Street, where the lines for plywood are just starting to break the two-mile mark. People here are obviously trying to do whatever they can to cover their windows and ride out the storm. The people towards the front of the line have been here for days, possibly weeks, some of them beginning to show signs of death. Many have resorted to eating their plywood, which has been recommended by the National Hurricane Center as a leading source of fiber in hurricane preparation. Authorities are assuring everyone that there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to panic, and also to write their wills, tell their families that they love them, and, if possible, to move to Butte, Montana. Back to you, John.
You can either watch this, or you can watch the feedback loop of the hurricane for however long it takes you to get lobotomized or suffer a debilitating epileptic fit.

Once the hurricane hits, there is of course no TV for three weeks. And once power is restored, the only things on TV are aerial surveys of Miami by helicopter to see how many buildings are now upside down, incredible stories of survival such as that guy who was blown into a cows leg by 135mph winds and got impaled, and repeated calculations of the price tag the federal government is going to have to pay for the damage, as well as for that guy who was impaled by the cow.

This is where I live. Between June and November, we are completely clueless. All we know about is Home Depot, plywood, and, if youre lucky, the circumference of a cow leg. You simply cant expect any of us to understand the purpose of renewing a drivers license. Thats just completely out of our league.

Yet, we can know one thing for certain. Miami had a crush on Beverly Hills. HA! Thatll be the day.