How prepared are we? | VailDaily.com

How prepared are we?

Richard Carnes

There was a time when I liked the name Katrina. I think I even dated one, now that I think about it. I’m pretty sure she was psychotic or on the verge of being such, but that’s neither here nor there.But what if the inappropriately-called “perfect storm” hit Happy Valley with a force comparable to the Big Slam that just hit the Big Easy? Would we, with our quibbling leaders busy debating the political leverages of canning bar smoke, be truly prepared for the inevitable onslaught of fighting each other for food and shelter?COLORADO (AP) This morning a freak fall storm, apparently the remnants of history’s first clockwise hurricane in the North Pacific, engulfed the tiny ski resort area in central Colorado enforcedly known as Vail-Beaver Creek-Arrowhead-Cordillera-Avon-Edwards-Minturn-Red Cliff-Eagle Vail, yet curiously referred to at times as Happy Valley.Slammed with over six feet of heavy wet snow in less than 12 hours, most of the area’s 5,00050,000 citizens (we have been unable to get a verifiable count, as there seems to be huge discrepancies between numbers cited in marketing brochures as opposed to local government figures) apparently chose to “ride out the storm of the Lord’s vengeance against those damn God-haters,” as quoted by one local man who would only refer to himself as a “concerned for all conservatives.” This reporter chose to avoid any further contact.Even though residents had at least a 48-hour warning, many were caught completely unprepared for even the most basic of needs as their $10 million homes were consumed by giant avalanches.”It is complete chaos,” said another man, who although wearing the badge of the local Wal-Mart manager, preferred to remain anonymous for fear of “being sent to Kansas” if he said anything negative.”It was kind of weird,” he said. “All of the guns in the store were untouched, but most of the bottled water was scooped up by property managers and those in the hospitality profession. There were quite a few asking for more Evian and even some insistent upon Perrier for their dogs or whatever, which we of course don’t carry. Yet when I pointed out shelf after shelf of our own Wal-Mart brand of bottled water, they just looked at me like I was an idiot or something.”It should be noted that high-end clothing and linen shops were totally ransacked within hours of first light. Many second-home owners, which comprise anywhere from 25 percent to 85 percent of all residents (citing the same discrepancy as discussed above), were shocked to discover the lack of a community conference center for shelter.”We voted one in years ago,” declared yet another anonymous resident who said his name rhymes with ”noble but he “likes the letter K.” “It was supposed to be right here!” he shouted while standing atop a huge mound of snow in the middle of town. “It would have been a perfect shelter for the refugees,” he continued shouting in apparent disgust.Florida developer Bobby Ginn offered to bail out the small hamlet of Minturn in exchange for “preferential treatment in the near future,” this according to another individual who would only give his initials as “T.S.” When confronted about the possibility of his actual name being Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone, the man said, “Yeah, Tom Stone. That’s me. Toooooom Stone. Yipper.”The man was later spotted offering to put up those with verifiable balance sheets confirming net worth’s of at least $5 million for free at the recently refurbished Minturn Inn, which luckily was spared any damage from the storm’s wrath.Upon hearing an individual of color was caught in the storm, rapper Kanye West surprised everyone with his appearance on local Channel 8 claiming “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” and said Colorado is set up “to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible.”Lindsay Lohan, Eric LaSalle, Glenn Close, Richard Gere, John Goodman and Leonardo DiCaprio joined the good Rev. Jesse Jackson in questioning why President Bush has not named blacks to top positions in the federal response to the disaster, particularly when the minority of victims remaining stranded in Happy Valley are black: “How can blacks be locked out of the leadership, and trapped in the suffering? It is that lack of sensitivity and compassion that represents a kind of incompetence.”The dozen or so “blacks” in Happy Valley collectively replied, “Say what?”Local gas prices had just recently reached double the national average, an astounding $7.50 per gallon, allowing only those who could afford a minimum of $60K per car (before rebates) to stay on the local roads. Unfortunately, this means at least 95 percent of voting Happy Valley residents are still capable of driving, that is, of course, if they can find someone to shovel their driveways first.Although things might look a little dim at the moment, many residents were overheard making plans for something called “first tracks” tomorrow morning.This reporter will stick around to see what it’s all about. Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net. This column, as with all personal columns, does not necessarily reflect the views of the Vail Daily.Vail, Colorado