The Wide Angle: Mother Nature and I are disappointed

A piece of my past was shattered the other day and it’s all because of something I’ve termed, “Paradox of Education.”

Yeah, I just coined that about 15 minutes before writing this. Feel free to use it in casual conversation.

The “Paradox of Education” states — in my recently connived definition — that those things we so lovingly remember as great, are ruined by the advent of increased knowledge. Whereas, the increased growth of knowledge is mostly looked at as a good thing, the “Paradox of Education” allows for certain circumstances to be completely altered after learning something new.

I feel so sciency.

In 1996, the movie, “Twister” came out. Being a man who is fascinated by the storm, I immediately ran out to see the movie. Several times in fact. The special effects for the time where amazing, breathing life into the tornadoes and making them a character onto themselves. They were the stars despite the appearance of Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt and the now passed Philip Seymour Hoffman.

And that says nothing of the soundtrack that brought together an eclectic assortment of musicians including Van Halen, Tori Amos, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits ,and Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac.

Fast forward to last week. Coming home from a particular taxing day of work, I was thrilled when flipping channels to find “Twister.”

Popcorn and a cold beer in hand I settled in and waited for the storms to work their magic, only to find the first tendrils of “Paradox of Education” begin to take form.

Since the first time I saw the movie, I learned more and more, in particular chasing tornadoes which is central to the film. I’m not an expert and realizing the light nature of the cars I drive and the understanding that even an F2 could probably fire my car to Glenville, I don’t go charging in head-first.

Still, I understand enough of the storms and how they work to realize that watching “Twister,” after all of these years would lead to no small amount of disappointment.

Bill Paxton’s character — ahh — Bill, is something of a storm savant, always, with just a look, able to tell what a storm is thinking or doing. He’s the tornado whisperer, looking at such subtle things as the way dirt drains from his fist in the wind and then observing with the cool calm of a sage the sky’s color, “Yellow and green.”

Wait, what? The simple presence of colors should have nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s an indicator yes, but hardly enough evidence to pack up your entire troupe and head directly into the maw of the storm. Granted, that is the whole point. To place Dorothy, a piece of science equipment packed with sensors, into the path of the storm.

And on that note.

They attack these storms with a reckless abandon that would make any professional storm chaser cringe. There is a very real group of scientists who strive to place a sensor in atornado’s path, and they have been successfully.

But each attack is done with planning and precision to ensure as much safety as possible.

Not cowboy Bill and cowgirl Jo (Hunt). Nope, they charge into the fray like a 4-year-old released into a room with one of those ball pits, all the while striking up witty and relevant dialog.

My witty dialog on the two very close encounters I’ve had with tornado chasing have been more along lines of: “#$%^@#@ %$#@ #@%$$@# @#$%@$#.” Salty to say the least.

But that’s a small thing. The idea of judging, on the move, how a tornado will move is just reckless and extremely dangerous. Tornados are unpredictable machines of destruction, given to change direction literally in seconds. It’s not something you just go motoring into, gas pedal to the floor.

And then there is the plot. At the time I was fixated with the tornadoes themselves, not really paying attention to the plot which is essentially a love story between Bill and Jo.

Through the chase of the storm, the couple, separated at the film’s start, find themselves again by movie’s end.

“Killing yourself won’t bring your dad back. I’m sorry he died, but that was a long time ago. You gotta move on. Stop living in the past, and look what you got right in front of you,” Bill says at one point.

“What are you talking about?” Jo asks, confused.

“Me, Jo.”

This exchange, while certainly containing the possibility of being a powerful exchange slips the believabilty scale when all around them Mother Nature is trying to beat the crap out of them.

Yeah, that takes place while the tornado is jumping around like a drunk kangaroo.

I never noticed it before, but now it’s just like dialog slightly better than “Twilight.”

“Now Eric,” some of you may be saying. “It’s just a movie. Sit back and enjoy it.”

Generally, I agree with you dear reader, but in this case the “Paradox of Education,” it was just too much. It’s too close to reality. I never doubted once that the Galactic Empire built a moon-sized destructive space station in “Star Wars,” because I knew in real life it wouldn’t happen.

Is “Twister” completely ruined for me? No, but a lot of it has been diminished. It’s just hard to get past the facts.

It’s just, yellow and green.


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