Memphis is Getting a Little Soggy


We're flooding in Memphis, in case you hadn't heard. The river is rising and the houses are sinking. Beale Street is half underwater. The half that isn't is still partying on, of course. This is after the tornadoes. I guess it's our turn.

I saw Melbourne burning, Queensland flooding, New Zealand endure a horrible earthquake. Japan hit with the worst earthquake of my lifetime, followed by a tidal wave that, I have to be honest, looked like something out of a Godzilla movie because it was just so huge and seemingly impossible. And then Alabama had tornadoes unlike anything I have ever seen, with the entire northern half of the state seemingly under attack by a swarm of tornadoes all at the same time. I had never seen three tornadoes running together in a pack before. I didn't even know that was possible. I guess I do now. Memphis got off easy compared to some, but now the Mississippi River is rising to record high levels and flooding everything anywhere near its banks.

I shouldn't complain. There are people north of Tennessee dealing with much worse flooding than we are. But I'm seeing the roads washing out and people losing their homes. It's a weird mix we have here in Memphis. Down on Mud Island the people in danger of losing everything are the rich and privileged. Not far from them, though, are the poor, the lower classes, the people who really can't recover from this loss. Many of them, I know, don't have enough insurance, if any.

This already happened in Alabama with the tornadoes. A man was reported as having shouted at President Obama who cruised by in his limo, "I've lost my house, my car, I've lost everything. I don't know what I'm going to do. Help me!" The President didn't stop to help. I have no idea what happened to the man.

My house is out in The Boondocks, outside the Memphis city limits. After our last house we wanted to make sure we lived nowhere near the bottom of a hill or even a slight slope. You would think being at the bottom of a slight slope wouldn't be a big deal, but we found out otherwise every time it rained. I've heard that the person who bought our house from us experienced a flood like the sort we feared we would eventually have to endure. I can only imagine what that house or that neighborhood looks like now. Since moving I've never gone back to look at it again.

We're halfway up a long, sloping hill. Our yard drains away and flows down the roadside to someone else's yard, where it drains away to somewhere else. I have no idea where it goes after that. The point is, we don't flood here unless the water gets really, really high. That was no accident. But then, we could afford to make that kind of move, to get away from the flood waters, the drug dealing/police informant trash, and the rest of the darkness that was Redneckville, the corrupt little town just outside of Memphis where we were living before.

When the hurricane hit Louisiana and flooded New Orleans, I have to say, I was disappointed at how badly the whole thing was handled. When Australia flooded, the Aussies rose up and shouldered the burden of rebuilding. They'd done the same following the catastrophic fires of Melbourne in 2008. When Muslim terrorists took down the World Trade Towers in 2001, politics and corruption stopped the towers reconstruction so that today we still have nothing but ruins where American greatness once stood. Those towers should have been rebuilt many times over by now. It isn't the lack of American will that keeps them from being rebuilt. It's just corruption and bullshit. New Orleans is the same, only worse because their leaders aren't just crooked, but also utterly incompetent. And I fear that Memphis, should it face a true catastrophe, will also suffer the consequences of incompetence and corruption.

We've had mild flooding out here in the Boondocks, but we're a long way from the Mississippi. The Wolf River comes out this way and threatens us. But the Wolf River can't compare to the size and power of the Mississippi. I remember when people flooded into Memphis from New Orleans following hurricane Katrina. As poor and vicious as Memphis is, we opened our doors to them and helped them as best we could. They robbed us blind. They did the same in cities throughout the South where good-hearted people helped them out. After that experience, a lot of people become cynical. I worry that if the poor people of Memphis should ever need that kind of help, people will be reluctant to give it.

Hopefully, it won't get that bad, and we won't have to find out.

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