Saturday, July 12

Letdown of a lifetime

I've never been less impressed in my life.

Tonight, out of the blue, lighting and thunder storms hit our neck of the woods. The showers were brief but the lightening and thunder has been going on for some time now. I was in the living room with Mom when we heard the Emergency Broadcast Signal's scratchy burps from the tv. The sound used to be a piercing screech but they changed it to series of even lower tech sounds a while back. I'm so familiar with them that I pretty much ignore them which, of course, defeats the purpose. Anyway, I heard the annoying signal followed by, for the first time in my life, an actual alert with a set of instructions directed at us. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not as though I want to have Emergency Broadcast Signals directed at me and my home but I've always been curious about them. Who hasn't? Why was I disappointed? Because the voice on the tv sounded like it was coming from a Jack in the Box drive thru speaker circa 1970. We could make out the occasional name of our canyon and several areas all around our home but could not make out much more. Were they kidding? This day and age and my life depends upon the scratchy ramblings from a shack in the middle of God knows where? All those tax dollars that disappear from my paycheck and that's all I get? What a rip off! It was so bad that we switched to The Weather Channel which conveniently had the full text of what we'd supposedly been read moments earlier (with an exciting bright red background!). It was telling us to move to higher ground to "protect life and property". Um, ok, that might have been helpful to understand the first time around. I shudder to think what would happen if I ever have to depend upon the signal for clear instruction.

I eventually shrugged, stood up and walked to Dad's office to tell him of my intense disappointment. He stood up , stuck his head out the window and said "My God. These people always overreact." That's pretty much his reaction to all emergencies. He would have been a great farmer during the dust bowl era. (Oh, but guess who moved funds out of IndyMac Bank the day before yesterday? My Dad. Way to go Pops, I'm impressed. You really would have been great during the Depression! Of course I can't seem to be able to shake the image of George Bailey talking folks out of pulling money out of the Savings and Loan. *shrug* Oh well.)

So that was it. All my life I've waited to see what happens when that signal goes off and it's not "a test, this is only a test" and it's nothing but a tremendous let down. The only bright spot is that it reminds me of the time when I told my 5 year old brother that you couldn't change the channel during an Emergency Broadcast Test or the tv would explode. Franky, I'd forgotten all about my warning until about 5 years later when I caught my brother turning the channel and frantically running away to hide behind the sofa. Oops! It seems he'd been terrified of Emergency Broadcast Tests all those years but the curiosity finally got to him and I caught him in the middle of his bold defiant move. Needless to say I laughed my hiney off. Ahh, the joys of being an older sibling.

Now, please go back to your regularly scheduled blog.

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