Purge the Surge
And other calendar needs
Jason Raish Illustration
These are messy times. But you don’t need me to tell you that.
It seems like no one can get along. No one can agree on anything. We divide ourselves over every decision, conundrum and conflict.
But I think, after the events of recent weeks, I can put forth an initiative that we can all agree on. At least all of us in south Louisiana. And it is this: Let’s change the calendar. Let us dispense with the date of August 29. Permanently. I realize this could pose a threat to the social and political order of the rest of country, particularly if they do not go along with this idea, but hear me out.
To my knowledge, three of the last four major hurricanes to hit Louisiana, made landfall or its headway on August 29. Katrina, Gustav and Harvey. (And the other was Rita, which technically hit in September but which was basically just Katrina’s younger sister.)
The only relief I can draw from this statistic is that every couple of years we don’t have to go through Katrina remembrances and memorials because we are running - or driving, I guess would be more accurate – for our lives again on that date. It is a date on the calendar that is messy, painful and a harbinger of dread. And yet, it’s when the storms keep coming.
So think about it. What if we swapped out August with February. Give it 28 days only. And cancel Leap Year – or give February 32 days every four years. Anything but another August 29. No more flashbacks. No endless news cycle to haunt us. No communal PTSD. Just jump straight into September and get on with our lives. We could be relieved, as Franklin Roosevelt once said, of our day that will live in infamy.
You have to admit: the idea might be a little out of the box, but it certainly has some appeal. In an era in which we seem more inclined than ever to erase the past -- from Confederate monuments to civil rights advances -- why not erase August 29.
Understand, I mean no disrespect to the victims or the survivors of victims from any of those significant storms. Obviously, we will never forget. We will never retreat. We will never surrender.
But I cannot be the only person who really dreads that date on our calendar. We either relieve the pain or we experience a whole new portfolio of it.
Now, meteorologically speaking (and I am no meteorologist, by any means) I suppose the obvious counter argument to this would be that now September 1 would just be the worst day of the year instead.
And maybe that is so. In fact, very likely so. But at least it would be a fresh slate. And then if Mother Nature refuses to cooperate, we can just start September on the 2nd. And so on.
Watching all those images from Texas, and then Florida, just a few weeks ago (hell, even now still) was and is a jarring experience of déjà vu all over again.
I wish our mayor and our city had been more aggressive in inviting Houstonians and East Texans in general to our city for relief. Remember, there was no city in this country that stepped up more, and suffered the consequences for, our communities’ devastation, than Houston.
Remember the bumper stickers: “Thanks Houston!”
We owe them. Big time. I have talked with friends about heading over there one of these weekends, or maybe even weeks, to try and help out and pay back what they did for us.
I suppose I would need to do that sooner than later. While they are still mucking and tearing out sheetrock and carpets. Because one thing I have learned in this life about myself it is this: I am much better at destroying things than building them. I’ll knock it down. Someone handier than me can rebuild it.
We must never forget what happened to us here 12 years ago, and we must never stop searching for ways to thank the people who saved us. We survived by the triumph of the human spirit. Not just our own, but that of those hundreds of thousands if not millions who came to our rescue in our time of need.
So fetch your shrimp boots and go Oilers! Er, Texans, l mean. (I’m still not used to that name.)
Except when you are playing the Saints of course.
The state motto is “Don’t mess with Texas.” Well Texas is a mess. It’s our time now.