Skip to content

Confessions of a ‘Nado Chaser

Looks like there might be a tornado in Athens County today. Brings back some ugly memories for me. Just when I thought I was out of the ‘nado chasin’ game, they pull me back in. And by “they,” I mean powerful ‘nado winds. Matter of fact, I used to be a ‘nado chaser. Before catching ‘nadoes, I caught dogs, but where’s the rush? A dog can’t hurl a stop sign through your abdomen.

National Weather Service don’t agree with Athens County’s ‘nado experts like me – they ain’t predicting any ‘nadoes. They may have book smarts, and I got the street smarts. A real ‘nado chaser doesn’t need barometers and other gismos. All they need is a full tank of gas, a 2 liter of Mountain Dew and nothing to lose. I just finished riveting a La-Z-Boy, an igloo cooler, and weather vane to the roof of a monster truck. ‘Nado mobile command center is go.

They say the first thing you learn when you start chasin’ ‘nadoes: make sure you grab a lid for your coffee. It’s a bumpy ride. You really don’t know what it feels like to be in an F5 ‘nado till you’ve personally ridden a double wide across the prairie at 288 miles per hour. One last thing about that double wide: it’s 600 feet in the air. Every ‘nado chaser thanks God for sending’ the Fujita scale and curses him for sendin’ F5 ‘nadoes.

Yeah, I’ve been in the ‘nado chasin’ game about 5 years now…and I’m talking about tornadoes, not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. That works better when I say it out loud.

I once saw a ‘nado pass over a forest fire. That was the great towering spinferno of ’98. Once saw a raging ‘nado strip the skin clean off a woman. Fortunately that woman was skeletal pundit Ann Coulter and no one noticed.
All the old ‘nado hands call newbies gusters. We do this because they usually die before we can learn their names. You can always tell a guster from a pro: they never keep a saddle handy. I’d like to see you ride a septic tank out of a storm without one! An F3 will put hair on a guster’s chest. An F5 will rip it off. It’s just the way of the ‘nado. Mandatory guster equipment: diaper, doppler radar. You wanna play with the big boys and earn your spurs? Face down a ‘nado stark naked.

I often ask myself what’s at stake huntin’ ‘nadoes. If we didn’t fight them out here, pretty soon they’d be poppin’ up in Boston and Los Angeles. I saw the freak Staten Island ‘nado last year. All the wiseguys pissed themselves. Me? I loaded a barometer into a crossbow. Try me, Mother Nature.
You may cherish your Blu-ray of “The Lion King.” But in a ‘nado, it’ll be your worst enemy. I once saw a copy of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” take a man’s head off.  And still there are those who seek entertainment in the shadow of a ‘nado. Some people ask me what I think of skateboarders building their ramps in ‘nado country for extra air. It’s damn foolish and damn brilliant. I respect a man who doesn’t fear a savage wall of wind. TV pundits may think dropping a mysterious old shaman into Libya to summon ‘nadoes against Gaddafi is a good idea – and their hubris will be their downfall. No one can ever control a ‘nado.

Ridin’ a ‘nado or having sex. Why not both?

Congress argues, walls get knocked down in Athens county. You know who benefits? Big ‘nado(s). If we keep fucking up the planet, mother nature will keep biting back. Or sucking. Or spinning. Or whatever the fuck it is ‘nadoes do. Time to face down the beast. I may get tornado fever or spinsanity, but what other fate befits an old ‘nado hand like me?

Actually I’m going to watch Top Chef instead.