“Thank You, Butt Cramp”

I was walking back from lunch, where I witnessed the aftermath of a car accident in which both parties got ticketed. My guess is that, as happens, some moron tried to turn left onto Terrace Place from 21st as some other moron was trying to turn left from Terrance Place onto 21st and they met in such a way that the dude trying to go from Terrace to 21st ended up in the light pole. No one seemed harmed, but I noticed the cop seemed like he was taking a minute to reevaluate his life, thus leading me to believe it must have been an exceptionally stupid accident. I also saw a really, really buff college kid, like huge shoulders. I wondered if he was a swimmer, his shoulders looked so strangely muscular compared to the rest of him. Does Vandy have a swim team?

Anyway, so all that happened and I was walking down the hall towards the office when one of the kids who goes to school in the office next to ours said, in a perfectly pleasant voice to another kid just inside the door, “Thank you, butt cramp.” These kids have been next door to my office for years. And they are, to a letter, extremely nice and extremely polite. Shoot, when they use the bathroom, they wipe down they counters afterward (which is why I feel certain that the blood and poop issues are not caused by them), and they are constantly supervised.

And yet, I’ve long thought, “How can there be kids this well-behaved?” I mean, I don’t care what your student-teacher ratio is, what kinds of unique academic challenges you might have, there’s someone in your class you think is a butt cramp. And yet, never once in the whole time I’ve worked next to them, have I heard even a hint of rudeness.

Until today.

Today, a kid finally let fly with “butt cramp.” I don’t know if any adult other than me heard him and I bit down hard on my lip so that I wouldn’t laugh out loud, because I didn’t want him to get caught.

In fact, today, I want to call someone a butt cramp. I’m sure it’s supposed to be a politer euphemism for “pain in the ass” but I find it doesn’t mean quite the same thing to me. A pain in the ass is someone who is constantly, um, a pain in your ass. A butt cramp could shape up, you know? I feel like butt cramp leaves room for reconciliation. And it’s got nice poetic weight to it–“butt cramp.”

“Butt cramp” would be a good name for a cat.

Don’t even bother to object. You know I’m right. I’m totally naming our next cat Mr. Butt Cramp.

Edited to add: And come on! “You fucking butt cramp!” is just begging to be shouted at someone, probably an ump.

The Weather, The Morning After

We were very, very lucky here. Just seeing the pictures of the devastation to the south of us. I mean, it’s hard to even know what to say.  But who’s thinking about anything else? The internet has brought us closer. I sat on twitter and fretted over folks in Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, who seemed to just be getting pounded.

And then I watched nothing come from the few people I know in Alabama (they’re all fine) and it was eerie. You get used to the constant chatter, even if you only dip in and out of it.

Last night, on the Weather Channel, they were unclear if the storm that started in Mississippi, went through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, and into Georgia had just one sustained tornado on the ground or if it was just the same cell with tornadoes moving in and out of existence. I was reminded of the Tri-State Tornado of 1925, which appears to have been on the ground for at least 219 miles. There’s always been controversy about that tornado because it just seemed so improbable to scientists that you could have a tornado that would stay on the ground uninterrupted for that long. It defies how they understand tornadoes. And yet, all the evidence still left suggests that’s what happened.

In the coming days, we’ll get a better sense of this tornado, but I think what it shows is that, yeah, when circumstances are right, tornadoes can be on the ground for a long damn time.

Anyway, it’s bad. ‘Disaster’ seems almost like too small a word for it. Looking at the pictures coming out of Alabama, it’s really amazing that thousands of people aren’t dead.

Which is no comfort, of course, to the families of people who are.