Greetings from The Gulf: Elsa, I’m sorry but I’m swiping left

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By John Morton

Her name was Elsa, and I was told she was going to take the world by storm.

But, as my lady luck seems to always dictate, she turned out to be a total drip.

She barely rated as a 1. Not even Jim Cantore was interested in getting her number.

Oh, too soon for hurricane jokes? I should let this topic blow over a while?

No way. It’s the story of the year! After all, people from around the globe were sending their prayers our way, via social media. TV stations had reporters positioned up and down the Suncoast, speaking of the impending doom as tropical breezes and a steady drizzle nicely cooled them down.

It sure did beat the risk of sunstroke their on-location assignments brought them just a day or two earlier.

Many of us residents kindly thanked Facebook folks for their well-wishing. Others had fun with it.

My favorite was a post where a cheap outdoor plastic table and four plastic chairs were shown, and one of the chairs had tipped over.

“HURRICANE ELSA 2021 … WE WILL REBUILD,” was the smarty-pants caption.

Meanwhile, any poor kid out there named Irma is surely grinning proudly.

“At least I’m not an Elsa,” she’s saying to her classmate of that name.  

Indeed, hurricane names are interesting. For every obscure one, almost designed to spare people’s feelings who could share the same name, there is a conventional one.

For example, the next one on the list for 2021 is Fred.

Rounding out the list is Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.

Wouldn’t “Wicked Wanda” be a headline writer’s dream?

Some of the nastiest storms have carried common, old-school names. Donna in 1960 was brutal, as was Andrew in 1992, Charley in 2004, and Sandy in 2012.

You’ll see from this year’s list that there are also some contemporary, trendy names.

 Katrina fit that bill. She of course caused ungodly flooding in 2005, and that always made me think of the one-hit-wonder musical act Katrina and the Waves.

Worse yet, their big splash came with the song “Walking on Sunshine.” Something tells me they haven’t played a gig in New Orleans in some time.

So, you preggers out there, study this list and be careful when you select the name of your child. Would having his or her name match that of a hurricane bring them schoolyard fame, or recess shame?

When a little girl named Sandy walks the beach on Long Island, do people step aside out of respect or do they kick sand her way?

As far as Florida is concerned, I think having a hurricane name works for you. Take me, for example. “Going to the John?” What kind of expression is that? A Hurricane John would do me wonders.

Research (now known as “Google”) shows that eight hurricanes have been named John, and two kicked some butt.

One came in 1994, as a Category 5 doozy, and was the longest-lasting and farthest-traveling tropical cyclone ever observed.

It went from Hawaii to Alaska during a 16-day span, killing five in its path.

Two weeks and two days? From John?

OK, former dates of mine, stop the giggling. At least I didn’t kill anyone.

Oh, now you’re laughing even louder?   

In 2006, another John packed a punch along the Pacific coastline of Mexico. A Category 4, also with five died in this case. The damage total was estimated at $60.9 million.

It even caused mudslides.

And I’ll take one of those, nice lady behind the bar at the Daiquiri Deck.

I’ve had enough hurricanes.

Sluuuurp. And onward.

It’s quite incredible how Siesta Key has never received a direct hurricane hit in its recorded history. The closest, I believe, is when Charley landed in Punta Gorda.

Sure, bragging about this feels like the ultimate jinx, but trust me when I say I’m knocking on the wood of my desk with one hand as I hunt and peck with the other.

And please know that I’m well aware how hurricanes are not a laughing matter. But, like with everything else that’s evil and beyond our control, a little levity is sometimes our only defense.

Anyway, enough of this hot air.

If you’ve already named your child one of these hurricane names, all should be fine regardless of what transpires this hurricane season.

At least you didn’t name your kid Chad!

(Since the 2000 presidential election, that name hasn’t been allowed here in Florida.)

As for Elsa, she may not have been impressive but she sure was courteous. Imagine if she showed up a couple days earlier and doused our long-awaited Independence Day?

Elsa would no doubt be crossed off that baby-name list.

Keeping with our theme, may I suggest Stormy?

That is, unless your last name is Daniels.

In that case, go with Fred.

(John Morton is managing editor of Siesta Sand.)

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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