August 26th, 2011
03:01 PM ET

Letters to the President #949 'I am ready!'

Reporter's Note: Federal officials are warning people on the east coast to prepare for Hurricane Irene’s wrath. For my part, I am now sealing my daily letters to the White House in Ziploc bags. I think that should do the trick.

Dear Mr. President,

My wife and I have been watching the parade of public officials on TV for the past 24 hours warning us, as residents of the D.C. area, to get ready for the big storm. In addition, we’ve been getting phone calls, e-mails, and texts from family members loaded with what they assume are helpful hints on what we should do. And while I can’t prove it, I think the dog is also trying to tell us something. I take it all seriously, but to be honest, only to a point. I mean, in fairness, once I’ve bought some batteries, a case of water, and a couple packs of Fritos, what else is there to do?

I can’t keep a big tree from falling on my house if the wind kicks up. If the floodwaters rise high enough, I won’t be able to keep them out of the basement. I certainly can’t keep the electrical grid working on my own, and judging from past performance neither can the power company in my neighborhood. Ha!

Sure, I suppose I could get a little more involved in proactive measures, like making sure all critical documents and insurance papers are encased in some sort waterproof, fireproof, terror proof, plague proof, nuclear proof container. But I can just see how that would go if the house were crushed to the ground by a massive wave or screaming gust of wind.

“Tom,” my wife would shout over the raging storm, “What are you doing rummaging through the rubble? We’ve got to get out of here!”

“I know! I know! I just have to find the box. I must find the box!”

Maybe we could get a rowboat, fill it with all the essentials, and tie it to the back door. At the last moment, we could jump in, and ride the storm surge to a new home in Kentucky or someplace like that.

“Land! I see land! And horses!”

My wife, who has been more alarmed about all this than I am, actually suggested this morning that I take an old car with pretty questionable air-conditioning into work today, instead of my considerably more comfortable vehicle.

“That way,” she explained, “we’ll save gas in your car in case the power fails and the gas stations are not working.”

“So,” I said, “you want me to be protectively uncomfortable? Maybe I should just ride my bike...or walk all nine miles in to work...”

“Hmmm,” she said, tapping her chin.

“Look, if you want a divorce, just tell me. There is no need to engineer my demise in a mediocre hurricane.”

Anyway, in addition to my regular job, that is what I am up to as we wait for Irene. I hope it is in fact mediocre, and that all these preparations prove of no particular use. If that’s the case and we’re clear by Sunday night, do you want to come over? I’ll have plenty of water and Fritos to share, and we can sit in the rowboat and have a laugh.



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