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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Notes from E Street: A season to be reasonable

It’s about time to start being scared to death.

At least that’s what our local television stations would like you to believe. It’s hurricane season — run for your lives! — in Florida, which means, according to the panic mongers on TV, it’s time to flip out.

It’s time to run, now, immediately, to the store and stock up on every canned good, every bottle of bottled water, scurry like a rat to the nearest hardware store to fight dozens of others in panic mode for as much danger-prevention equipment as possible. People are preparing to reinforce like it was England in 1940.

The fun part is seeing the first drop of rain and turning on the local news. Here in Florida, it rains almost every day this time of year. We get used to it, just like we get used to seeing snakes on our lawns and smiling at the random alligator wandering the golf course. It’s a way of life. If you like critters, Florida’s got them. I once saw a bear cross the middle of a major road in Jacksonville Beach.

In the past 24 hours, I have seen a gator, a raccoon, two snakes, a frog (in my pool), about a zillion lizards, three armadillos, and a bunch of things I can’t identify. Everybody does. It comes with living in the Sunshine State.

But when it comes to the weather people on television, it is complete fear mongering. That first raindrop falls and immediately local television weather people run to the nearest beach and start talking about the impending disaster.

Now, I get a kick out of it.

There are many funny things about the fear mongers:

♦ I’ll admit it ... I like watching the reporters on the beach, peddling their doom, while people in the background wave at the cameras.

♦ Some reporter will look sternly into the camera, then turn around and point at the surfers taking advantage of the extra-big waves and say something like, “I don’t know what those people are thinking.” Often, the surfers are waving at the television cameras.

Now, some observations. Why is it fine for the television reporter to stand on the beach while warning us to stay off the beach? And if a severe hurricane were to hit, wouldn’t the reporters wind up looking like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” when the cyclone hits?

Look, we know what we are getting into by living in Florida. There is a reasonably good chance we are going to get hit this summer, but there’s no reason to be afraid. The fear mongers only make things worse. Get to the store and stock up, sure, but please do it before everyone starts to panic.

In the meantime, smile and enjoy the surf while thinking of all the other good things about living in Florida, minus hurricane season.

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