May 6, 2011

Big Break

Friday evening two weeks ago, a tornado hit the Saint Louis airport. It also tore down two major highways and damaged dozens of houses. Thanks for nothing, Earth Day.

Property damage was bad, though there wasn't a single fatality. But here's the thing about surprise events on Friday evenings: news stations don't have their crack reporters on duty. As I watched live coverage, there was a palpable air of "This is my big break!!" from almost every reporter. 

People who I expect will probably never make it:
-Guy in the studio, gently twirling back and forth on a desk chair, as his co-anchor gravely updated the audience on the airport closure. He gazed into the middle distance, smiling placidly as we heard about how the windows were blown out of the airport and a shuttle had landed on the roof. 
-Woman in a station research room, who began her findings with, "Christina posted on her Facebook page..."
-Fellow out in one of the areas that sustained the most damage, who frantically reported, "As you can see behind me—" here I have to pause to tell you that we could see nothing behind him, as it was nighttime and quite dark—"there has been TERRIBLE damage. Some people are calling it a a uh waarpath, some people are saying it's the worst destruction they've seen ever. I talked to some of the hostages—RESCUE WORKERS—I mean, uhhhhh..."
When he finished expounding upon the scene and the view shifted back to the studio, someone in the studio tried to ask him a question. After a while, his voice boomed out. Unfortunately, he was asking anxiously, "What's happening in my ear!?"

I suppose tragedy brings out the best in some, the craziest in others. 

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