Saturday, August 11, 2007

A cow by any other name

I see in the papers that the Hawaiian Islands are currently being threatened by a hurricane named "Flossie. "

Okay, that's just wrong. "Flossie" is an appropriate name for (1) elderly aunts and (2) cows, two species not generally known for their tendencies to menace Pacific archipelagoes. Hurled at a tropical island, Aunt Flossie would totter up the beach offering her cardigan to bikini-clad sunbathers. "You'd better cover up a bit, dearie," she'd say, "or you'll catch your death of cold!"

What would Flossie the cow do? Moo and look bored is my guess. It is difficult to imagine an animal less hurricanesque than a cow, an animal that would fail to menace even among the amazing menagerie of overgrown animals inhabiting the Godzilla film genre. Picture a scientific experiment gone amuck producing an an immense bovine capable of stomping Honolulu: would actors beset with poor lip-sync abilities run screaming through the streets while the President debated whether to call out the National Guard?

I doubt it. For one thing, it's difficult to persuade a cow to go on a violent rampage. The day Flossie stomps Honolulu, I expect to hear that Borden has fired Elsie the cow after a three-day Vegas bender involving drugs, gambling, and a brutal attack on a doorman unwilling to allow a cow in an exclusive dance club.

And what if Flossie did attempt to menace the island? A sunbather might do double-take--"Look, Fred, a cow on the beach!"--before turning over to toast the other side. No one runs screaming from Flossie. She's just a cow, for heaven's sake. The kind of people who are afraid of cows are also afraid of flying and rip tides and catching their death of cold, so they're unlikely to end up on a beach in Hawaii when Flossie comes stomping in from the sea.

The people in charge of naming hurricanes have clearly made a serious blunder. Who will take seriously the warning, "Run for your life--Flossie's on the way!"? If they really want people in the path of the storm to take heed, they should add some meat to the warning: "Mad cow! Mad cow! Run for your lives!"

That'll send 'em packing--until they realize who the cow is. "Never mind," they'll say, "It's only Flossie."


Laura said...

The first thing I thought of was Flossie the youngest Bobbsey twin girl, twin of Freddy. Also not a very threatening picture.

Bardiac said...

HAHA! I heard about Flossie, and thought about what a bizarre hurricane name, but I didn't take it as far as you did.

Not just any cow, but a Holstein dairy cow, I'm thinking.

ps. I detested the whole shelf of Bobbsey Twins books I grew up with. (My Mom had loved them.)

Bev said...

I had forgotten the Bobbsey Twins! I had some of my mother's books and I know I read them, but they didn't stick. I suppose Flossie the Bobbsey twin would be old enough by now to be one of those elderly aunts, don't you think?

Joy said...

Okay, so this is an older blog post - but I've been out of Internet for a week and am playing catch-up. When we first moved to the Virginia coast when I was seven, we were exposed to the usual influx of news and info that accompanies hurricane season into Southern Atlantic states. After learning about the names, I would wait breathlessly every year to see if that was the year that I would have a hurricane named after me. Perhaps it's my size that wanted this, I dunno. Fast forward some 21 years - the company I worked for launched a hurricane window and I revealed to a group of co-workers my desire to share a name with a hurricane. My friend, Christopher, dashed my dreams by pointing out "You can't have a hurricane named Joy, you freak." No Hope or Faith either. Sad really...especially when Flossie conjures up images of my grandma's best friend from her nursing home.