Shell Shocked: A hurricane named Arthur
It finally happened. I got a hurricane named after me. And boy are my friends sore at me.
“Do you realize all the damage you can do? You can destroy homes, create floods and generate mass terror and hysteria. You should be very proud of yourself,” one Sanibel City Councilman yelled at me as we picked up our sidewalk order of pizza with extra cheese.
As a long time member of the Arthur Club, I feel for every American with that first name. We meet annually to glow about the wonderful name we were given when entering the world.
We worship King Arthur at our annual bash and give thanks to our parents for having the foresight and vision to name us Arthur.
We honor famous Americans with the name Arthur, like Godfrey, Schlesinger, Lake (he played Dagwood Bumstead of Blondie fame in the movies) and Miller (Marilyn Monroe’s famous playwright husband). While many of us have given in to the many diminutive forms of Arthur, such as Art or Artie, in our hearts we know we’re true Arthurs and have taken on the burden of upholding the tradition of our names.
The roof may come crashing down on us – literally. Some areas in the country may be victimized by Hurricane Arthur and blame those of us with that name and not the unpredictable weather patterns sweeping the country.
I even got a Facebook message from an anonymous resident of a southeast state that may be in the path of Hurricane Arthur.
“How can you look at yourself in the mirror after what you’re planning on doing?” she wrote. “I could lose all my worldly goods including a 1938 Batman comic book, a Sibby Sisti baseball card and a Captain Midnight ring. Couldn’t you use your good name to do good deeds rather than evil ones, like discovering a cure for the common pimple?”
I responded by pointing out that it wasn’t my decision to name a hurricane after me and that the National Hurricane Center selects first names on a random basis. I told her that the decision isn’t based on malice or prejudice but on a kind of lottery selection process.
I pointed out that Hurricane Sandy did far more damage and that those individuals with that first name are truly scarred for life and shunned by friends and family. But she would have none of it. To this Facebook devotee I am a Judas who has betrayed the trust of those who thought me to be a kind, gentle, caring individual. I am now a destructive hurricane rather than a dignified human being.
To the chagrin of the Arthur Club, our name is now infamous. Many of us are seriously considering resigning from the club before we’re picketed by weather battered citizens. Some of us are seriously thinking of changing our first names and sliding into a witness protection program. I personally am considering such new names as Slim, Tex, Buddy, A. J. and Spunky.
Even Art or Artie is too close a link to the name that we now must disown and discard. The irony of all this is that Hurricane Arthur may not be anywhere near as destructive as other hurricanes. But diehard members of the Arthur Club believe that our name should be removed by the National Hurricane Center for future hurricanes. We’ve been punished enough. Let them use some rare first names so that present day individuals with those names will be few, like Arsenia, Aristotle, Atilla and Anatole. Retired hurricane names like Andrew, Agnes, Alicia, Allen, Allison, Anita and Audrey may be done as hurricanes but are still available as names for newborn babies. Children bearing the names of retired hurricanes will no longer be subject to scorn and ridicule as they get older.
The National Hurricane Center has determined that the name Arthur isn’t considered destructive enough to preclude another hurricane from bearing its name in six years. The Arthur Club has petitioned the Center to retire our name for the use of future hurricanes but to no avail.
The hurricane specialists there like the name Arthur and are holding onto it for some future catastrophe. In the meantime, Ana, Alex, Arlene and Alberto – you’re next. You will be our next hurricanes. And let’s pray that Hurricane Ana will be nothing more than a mere wisp of a wind.