Mark Twain is as quotable today as ever: “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” In recent years it seems what we get is what we expect, times two.
The Bay Area has always been windy but 100-mph gusts that blow windows off skyscrapers and trees across highways are a bit extreme, as are the atmospheric rivers that have been flooding property and washing out roads for weeks on end.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another. The CZU Complex firestorm hit us with the most powerful, prolonged lightning show ever, but without a drop of rain.
As any unpaid humor columnist would, I tracked this story to its source. Here is a verbatim transcript of the interview I just made up.
QuipTide: “Thank you for granting this interview, Mom. It’s quite rare, you know.”
Mother Nature: “Don’t call me Mom! We’re not on such affectionate terms. You may call me Mother Nature or Your Grandeur.”
QT: “Sorry, Your Grandeur. What have I done to offend you?”
MN: “What a short memory you have! Remember that candy wrapper you threw out the car window, or the time you flushed outdated prescriptions down the toilet? I could go on and on with other examples. And it’s not just you, it’s All Y’all, with your smog machines, your deforestation, and your extinction of many of my species.
“If you want to blame someone for extreme weather, try looking in a mirror! Oh, sure there are a lot of natural disasters — tornados, droughts, forest fires, and such — and those are on me, but you go out of your way to make them worse.”
(The interview wasn’t going well.)
QT: “No offense intended, Your Resplendency, but it seems to me you’re a rather neglectful parent.”
MN: “How dare you, you ungrateful little twerp! Do you enjoy your ocean view, your redwood groves, your bright green fields of grass and bright orange hills of poppies?”
QT: “Well, who wouldn’t, Your Gloriousity? But please remember that you’ve been at this for 4 billion years, more or less. We’ve only been around for 300,000 years, and the first 250,000 we didn’t have tools, not even a frisbee. We’ve only had the ability to do real damage for 5,000 years. Most of us didn’t begin to realize we were harming you until 200 years ago.”
MN: “Hey, remember, I saw all that happen. So you got a late start, no written instruction manual came with the planet, blah, blah, blah. Poor innocent you. Well, the past is the past. What are you gonna do to fix it before it’s too late?”
QT: “So, are you saying these plagues you’ve been sending us aren’t signs of bad mothering, but are early warning signs, not punishments?”
MN: “Bingo, monkey boy! Maybe All Y’All will get the point.”
QT: “May we have a show of good faith? Nothing fancy, just a token.”
QT: “Your Generosity, can you bring back salmon season in a couple of years?”
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