My mask smiles for the camera.
That’s how the world knows me—a chipper façade of dimples and overly-white teeth. Such a bright, appealing shell I wear everyday and it secretly turns my stomach. But I need this job—need the public’s endorsement. So, I wear my mask and perform like a little organ-grinder monkey before the invisible map.
It’s always the same. The same report with only petty variances: sunny and 72º, partly cloudy and 68º, slight chance of showers with a high of 51º. Pure monotony. None of it really matters. Even on the odd occasion when my report is wrong, no one cares and neither do I.
Slowly withering inside, malnourished by a bland life—a cardboard existence—I walk through the motions like a motorized mannequin. The days blur by in a rotating door of meaningless faces and inconsequential small talk. Eat, sleep, report, repeat.
Yet somehow, despite my inner turmoil, they love to watch; love to hear my reports. They trust me, and that’s why I continue to wear this persona of classic Americana: Joe Next-door, Jack Hollywood. I lure them, tugging on the heartstrings of helpless viewers everywhere by exuding handsome warmth and pouring empathy down the camera’s throat. It’s almost too easy.
Can you believe that I get asked to pose for photos and sign autographs? Me—a weatherman, a shell of a human being. What has happened to our society? Why does an ounce of visual familiarity equal respect and adoration? A painted-on smile and gossamer compassion is all that’s needed to cue the public’s allegiance? Pathetic.
Even though I utilize this to my advantage, it still disgusts me. What most call life, disgusts me. This repetitive existence, brings me to the brink of madness.
And yet, once in a long while, I get a rare chance to really live.
When thermals collide and the humidity drops off at just the right time… magic happens. Churning winds of destruction touch down upon humanity, rendering homes to rubble and tossing cars across the county like a giant’s game of back alley dice.
Disaster strikes and I awaken!
Not only with Tornados, but any natural reckoning, from hurricane winds that obliterate beachfront structures, rising waters that wash whole towns into the next state, or earthquakes, tsunamis, and even volcanic eruptions.
Mother Nature’s wrath calls to me, like an ancient language whispering to my soul and lighting the hearth to my corporeal home. I’m compelled to go, to bear witness and experience her intent first hand.
Here, I leverage my job and my “fame” to get exactly what I want.
I visit the tormented scenes all across the nation, showing footage of natural disasters. The sweet music of suffering plays and I dance for them. I report heart-wrenching tales of loss and soul-warming stories of survival. They watch, riveted by my carefully crafted compassion and display of unflappable courage.
The station sees this as devotion to my job. My viewers swoon and can’t get enough, even going as far as to dub me, Disaster Man.
Fools! They’re all slaves to money and fame—clueless to my true calling. But, in falling over themselves to offer me their support, they grant me the one thing I really need: an infallible alibi.
You see, nature’s wrath and I are more than colleagues; we’re kin. The same craving for carnage gnaws on our nerves. The same desire to destroy builds within until it detonates on unsuspecting humanity, without discrimination.
After my reports, when the cameras go dark, I venture out and walk amongst the wreckage again, sometimes even amid the storm’s continuing chaos and I play my part. I spread my wings. I come alive!
Following Nature’s design—blending my work seamlessly with hers—I use the array of tools she provides on those her disaster has missed, those that she left for me.
Oh, how I revel in their torment! Pain and death is a virulent tonic like no other mortal brew, and I drink my fill.
So when you watch my reports of weekly weather and you melt under the charisma of my dazzling smile, just know that I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to live again. Know that when Mother Nature decides to thin the herd that grazes in your town, I’ll be there picking off the weak and doing my real job.
~ Tyr Kieran
© Copyright 2014 Tyr Kieran. All Rights Reserved.