Sunday 16 June 2019

Caught in warning whirlwind

Stock picture
Stock picture
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

We begin this piece with a warning. This article may upset you. As with flash flooding, you may misjudge the depth of this article. It will possibly be much shallower than you think. You may also find that, like the weather, it is simultaneously too dry, while also being too damp. At this point in the article we are issuing a status yellow alert, but this may change, depending on how the piece develops.

This warning is in line with a new widespread policy of taking Met Eireann's warning system and applying it to everything, because Met Eireann is right about this. People need to be warned more about things, everything. For example, over the last few days the country has been operating under a warning about the dry weather, and a warning about the wet weather.

It was literally a glass-half-empty situation. Met Eireann's warning system has helped us to see clearly that everything has potentially disastrous consequences: 'The weather is good. My God, no! Save yourselves! We're all doomed. If only it would rain. It's going to rain! God help us all. Oh, the humanity. Stay in your houses. No unnecessary journeys.' It's almost like no good can come of anything. And it is a very Irish way of looking at the world. Like the kind of homespun wisdom your granny taught you. Good weather, bad weather, whatever it is, it'll all end in tears. But the tears will not be enough to moisten the parched soil.

So how will this new system work? Well, basically, anything that could potentially upset anyone or trigger them, as the young people say, or anything that could end in disaster, will now carry a yellow, orange or red-level warning. These warnings will be issued by a special committee of grannies called the "No one listens to me any more but mark my words" committee.

So, for example, if Enda Kenny is going to randomly pop up looking slightly bewildered in a picture at a polo match with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, like some kind of latter-day ghost of Zelig, there would be a warning attached to that picture.

So before you clicked into it, you would see the message: "This picture may contain images of Enda Kenny that some viewers may find confusing." That would be a yellow-level alert for most people. Potentially disturbing but not disastrous.

Whereas red-level alerts would apply in slightly more extreme situations, things that are more likely not to end well, and that people might find disturbing to think about. So, for example, a red alert would apply to the notion of Conor McGregor doing anger management classes, and indeed doing any service to the community. And an orange alert? Obviously that would be reserved specifically for warnings connected with Donald Trump - another situation that may not end well.

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