Don’t wish for hurricanes, but feel free to make the most of them

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The weird thing is: Hurricane Sandy was one of the best weeks of my life.

Up in New Jersey, it was my senior year of high school, and my friends and I were all off from school for an extended period of time. Every day, we played football, drove around town, and made eye contact with a girl once.

Meanwhile, just an hour away, people “down the shore” were losing their homes to the massive storm surge that shredded the boardwalk and the beaches. I still remember that famous photo of a ferris wheel stranded at sea.

So, how can I say that a week fraught with wreckage and destruction was one of my favorites? And, either way, am I allowed to?

This debate once again blew back into my life a short while ago, when Hurricane Matthew showed up on the radar as something with the potential to stop CNN from talking about the election.

Whether it’s acceptable or not, my first thought was, “Oh man, I could really use those days off.” Of course, I had no idea at the time that it would kill more than 1,000 people in Haiti alone. I can’t predict a catastrophe, and I’d certainly never wish for one.

However, I grew up in the Northeast, where we would wear our pajamas inside out the night before a snowstorm to bring us good luck, meaning no school. If it worked, I would wake up the next day, check the local station to see that school was cancelled, and then enjoy a wonderful day of shoveling my driveway.

So, I guess it’s unorthodox, but I’m conditioned to enjoy a spontaneous staycation – like saying you have to go to the nurse “for a headache.”

For example, if you land a new job, then maybe ten other candidates are now out of work. Does that mean you can’t enjoy your new position? Of course not. You’re gonna go celebrate and blow your first paycheck.

Of course, I’m not praying for a hurricane to come destroy people’s homes, and I’m certainly praying right now for everyone in Haiti who lost their homes. But, on our end, if I’m getting a premature fall break … I’m gonna make the most of that situation – which is the sort of optimism that life is about anyway.

Above all, we can’t wish or pray for hurricanes and snowstorms, but we’re allowed to be an opportunist when they come around – since, that’s all we really can do. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck worrying like, you know, when your football team loses three weeks in a row.

Danny New is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. The Maturity Column runs alternate Thursdays.

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