Give Me Tornadoes Any Day

An earthquake just whacked Christchurch, which is New Zealand’s second largest city, about 500 miles south of me. Thankfully, no casualties to report, but maybe $2 billion in damage.

It all makes me think about relativity and Mother Nature.

Growing up in Oklahoma, we spent most fall and spring evenings with the television on, listening for the omnipresent boob boop boop tornado warning (e.g. “it could happen folks”) and the occasional tornado alert (e.g. “some of ya’ll about to get all kinds of blown away”).

Since we heard the boop boop boop about eleventy hunnerd times every tornado season, tornado warnings were just part of the weather forecast: humid, fair to partly cloudy, with a high of 92 and a low of 74, with a 90% chance that some mobile home, somewhere in Oklahoma, is gonna get blowed away, but it’s not near you so don’t worry.

People who don’t live with tornadoes seem to think they are like atom bombs, blowing up all over the place. Truth is, most tornadoes are small and stay in the clouds, never even touching down. But when they do touch down, you can be sure it will end up on the news: roll helicopter footage of the “path of destruction”, the three twisted mobile homes on their sides, a pickup stuck in flood waters, and a fat woman saying “it sounded lock uh big ol’ freight train.”

And people outside of Tornado Alley would wonder: why do those stupid Okies live in a place where there are tornadoes? Most of the time, these comments were from smug Californians.

Note: California is the state that will drop into the Pacific Ocean when the Big One hits. Californians have never grasped that while you can outsmart a tornado – “run sideways to it”, get in the truck and outrun it, join the poisonous snakes in the cellar – there is nowhere to run when an earthquake hits.

Thankfully, the earthquake that hit Christchurch was not deadly or the Big One, though it was plenty bad. And, thankfully, those of us in Auckland don’t have to worry about earthquakes. Or tornadoes. Or killer floods for that matter.

We’ve got volcanoes.

It’s all relative.

7 Responses to “Give Me Tornadoes Any Day”

  1. Marla says:

    And not just fat ladies. They also get the toothless guy wearing a wife beater tshirt to better highlight his tattoos. Did I mention I'm a native Californian now living in Oklahoma? Oh, I get it, brother!

  2. nodavebarry hisownself says:

    Hi Marie,

    OK, will make no jokes about your son's NZ honeymoon. I am busy thinking up jokes but will not publish them. Note: there was a baby born right during the Christchurch quake. Sadly, the parents did not name her Shaky or Quaky or Vibro. Well, maybe not the last one… Enjoy the blog.

  3. Marie says:

    Found your blog through Blog Catalog (yours was the post right above mine in the Promotion discussion) and I'm glad I did.

    I'm also glad you were not hurt in the earthquake. Two years ago this month my son and DIL were on their honeymoon in NZ and there was another earthquake, but it was in a remote section and no one was affected. (No disgusting honeymoon/earthquake jokes, please, it was my SON, eeeewwww!!!) This one seems pretty dramatic though.

    Now I have to go read the post that makes yours look like mouse poo. 🙂


  4. NZMoores says:


    Undoubtedly tornado pig and Bubba have the same girth and genome sequence, the result of way too many tornadoes and a family indiscretion that we shall not talk about.


  5. Jenny (aka J-P) says:

    My favorite blog topic so far!

    I must add that the last tornado that came through Arkansas had a news crew show up right after. They seem to find the most redneck, hill-billy, no teeth havin' people that could be found.

    They intervied this big ol' boy whose house was blown all to hell and back (but he was still wearing his best bib overalls). The story centered around his pet pig that "survived the storm". That pig was at least 500lbs and the animal was big too!

    Pieces of house, cars, clothes, etc.. all over and him smiling with that big ol pig! Kinda brings a tear to the eye (or a little bit of vomit to the back of your mouth!)

  6. nodavebarry hisownself says:

    Thanks Kris but, in all fairness and by any measure, your post today makes mine look like a mouse poo. Perhaps smaller. A baby mouse poo. A flea poo. A haemaglobin poo. The poo of an atom that has been divided
    a gazillion times. That's as small as I can go. In sum, Kris
    1 gazillion; Bill 7. See ya'll down at the crick…

  7. kris says:

    So I have stayed away for a bit so that you wouldn't think I was stalking you. Even though I sort of was stalking you for a little bit, there. Oops. But also? Not sorry in the least.



    Bring me more Oklahoma! More of your past. More phrases like, "some of ya'll about to get all kinds of blown away."

    In Michigan, we didn't say "ya'll," and our family didn't have a television.

    But the sky? That gray-green cast, and the wicked quiet just before all hell broke loose. Oh, I remember that.

    For me?

    An awesome joy to stand against a threat that was coming from without.

    As opposed to from within.

    Plus also?

    I love this post.

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