So what if Md. is a bit boring

at least it's safe

May 18, 2006|By KEVIN COWHERD | KEVIN COWHERD,SUN COLUMNIST

In light of recent events, it might be time to change the state motto to "Maryland: Maybe We're Boring. But We're Safer."

I say this because look what happened everywhere else the past few days.

There were deadly alligator attacks in Florida.

Torrential rain and flooding in New England.

And a crazed bear chased and mauled a cyclist in a Canadian national park.

Meanwhile, what's the worst thing that happened here in Maryland?

The pollen count went up?

Some daffodils didn't bloom?

And when you get into all the bad stuff that happens everywhere else as a matter of routine, Maryland looks even more like Shangri-La.

In Florida and the Gulf states, if you're not worrying about killer gators chomping your leg, you're worrying about shark attacks or a Category 5 hurricane blowing your house into the next ZIP code.

If you live in California, it's earthquakes and mudslides that terrorize you.

In the Midwest, it's killer tornadoes.

In the Rocky Mountain states, it's raging forest fires. In the northern Plains states, it's howling blizzards.

On the other hand, what calamity do Marylanders routinely worry about?

Whether it's going to be a little sticky in the morning?

No, the fact is, we don't appreciate how good we have it here.

Understand, no one's saying life is risk-free in the Free State.

Sure, you can get robbed or shot walking down the wrong street in Baltimore. And the way the nuts drive on I-95 or the Beltway, there's a good chance you'll see a fiery wreck almost any night of the week.

But at least we don't have nature and the elements turn on us in Maryland.

Of course, one reason for that is: We don't take any chances with nature or the elements.

Look what happened when those northern snakeheads turned up in that little pond in Crofton a few years ago.

Remember the northern snakeheads?

The Chinese thug fish from the Yangtze River that were going to wipe out all the other fish in Maryland --- if we didn't wipe them out first?

They sure arrived with a big rep, didn't they?

The Hell's Angels of predator fish, that's what their bio said.

They were supposed to be able to walk on land. They were supposed to be able to live out of water for as long as three days.

I had visions of these things leaping out of the pond and snatching neighborhood dogs and dragging them underwater, with the poor mutts' bones floating to the surface a few minutes later.

So we did what we do best here in Maryland when confronted by an unfamiliar form of nature.

We freaked out.

First, we tried trapping the snakeheads.

Then we tried electro-shocking them.

Then we dropped poison on them.

It's a good thing that seemed to work.

Because the next step was probably going to be detonating a small thermonuclear device on top of their little heads.

We don't seem to deal with other unusual forms of nature that well, either.

Think about the collective nervous breakdown we have when the cicadas return.

Big, ugly, slow-flying bugs that make a racket out in the back yard with their Cicada World Reunion Tour every 17 years?

Uh-uh, we can't handle that.

So we hide in our air-conditioned houses and peer out from behind the drapes until the whole Cicada Nation parties itself to exhaustion and goes away again.

And we sure don't take any chances with the elements, either.

If someone even mentions snow, we call off school and rush to the supermarkets to hoard bread, milk and toilet paper.

Then we rush home and bolt the door and stay glued to breathless 11 Insta-Weather coverage until the crisis is over.

So we're probably lucky that we don't have to deal with killer gators and mudslides and hurricanes around here.

We couldn't handle that kind of stress.

Sure, it gets a little boring around here sometimes.

But it's better than Red Cross evacuation teams sweeping into town and gator hunters in hip boots walking around your back yard with shotguns.

It's definitely the kind of boring you can live with.

Kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

To hear podcasts featuring Kevin Cowherd, go to baltimoresun.com/cowherd.

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