How I learned to stop worrying and fight the tornado

Last night the wife and I were sitting in the living room watching TV when she told me about the tornado that cut a swath of destruction through Oklahoma yesterday, including two elementary schools. She was catching the news on her phone while I was not renting a car for our trip to Detroit next month, which is what I was supposed to be doing.

This morning I peeked at some of the news stories on, looking for an angle; “blog ideas – blog ideas, Rob!” I was saying to myself as I worked through my second cup of mediocre-flavored ground coffee. Then it hit me: I really don’t want to say anything about the tornado. There’s already a profusion of commentary on the free web – mostly kind words and condolences – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I just didn’t want to talk about it. I felt the same way about the Boston Marathon bombing; I was just disgusted that such a thing could happen, and the marathon was even worse for me because I actually had ideas about training to qualify someday, but now it’s like it’s ruined for me. I’ll stick with the Kroll’s marathon here in Bismarck, thank you very much.

The difference in this case is that the government can’t take out some “guilty” party in order to give America the sense of closure we always seem to crave – all we can do is recover, move on, rebuild, and hopefully learn something of value in the meantime. But speaking of rebuilding, I felt a moment of guilt when I realized that this destruction meant more business for the plant where I work, since we make the attachments for the construction machines they will be using to clean up and rebuild Oklahoma. I almost felt like I was working for a warmongering weapons manufacturer, and then I realized that this was my takeaway: that even from North Dakota, just by going to work I am helping these people get their lives back on track. That’s got to be it – I can’t afford to donate money and since I donate plasma I am ineligible to give blood. I shall redouble my efforts; I will not falter, fail, or fear. Look out, disaster – From North Dakota’s heart I stab at thee!

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