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Oh, Its So Big, Hot and Wet

By: Jeff Pasternack


Ok, its time for a year-ending confession. Somewhere along the way, perhaps in June, I became hooked on a minor niche of pornography. But before you judge me, let me explain. You see, I can't help myself. I just become enraptured and I need my fill every three to six hours, otherwise, it just feels like my brain wants to crawl out of my head. I bring up the Web sites and watch the videos, imagining what I'm seeing is affecting me and my loving, attentive wife and the neighbor across the street or the one around the corner. C'mon, you know the images of which I speak...dang editors, let's see, ok, there's blowing, its wet, lots of heavy breathing with a slightly-panicky edge to the voices of the participants, yada yada yada. And there's the suspense about what's going to happen next, even though you know, you KNOW, what's going to happen next, but there's just enough uncertainty that you have to watch just to make sure. And then, finally, when I just can't take it any more, there's the all-too-familiar release, that rush, rich with emotion.

Oh, and the actors. Let me tell you about them. This one has her hair coiffed just this way, and that one has his chin thrust forward just so. And the poses, the positioning of the bodies, the lighting, just the whole scene, its like an art. It is an art. I'm not alone in thinking this, you know, there's billions of people around the world who do the same as I. Ok, maybe not billions, but still, a lot of people are also enthralled, even more than me. I know this one guy and he's a 24-by-7 addict. And women too, yeah, they like it. I know they do, I can just see it in their eyes. And when I meet someone who's just as into it as I am, I can tell! Its like radar or something.

Sometimes I dim the lights for effect. Other times its just a quick thing, before I head out for the day, or around lunch or before I go to sleep at night. Or maybe during the day I'll sneak a peek as I can view it on my Treo. Its so pervasive and there's no escaping its clutching barbs that pierce my being at a Maslovian level. I can see how people get hooked.

And you know, another thing about the participants crossed my mind: they just look so hot and wet. The way they move, its like a whirling dervish of tantalizing excitement. And there's those questions that everyone always asks, such as “will he” or “won't she” and “have you ever seen something so big?” Oh, and its amazing how quickly people become experts, too. Everyone has an opinion about what's going on. I guess the group thing is ok and all, but sometimes I wonder if it isn't just better for everyone to be quiet and go on about their own business.

Oh, wait a minute. Its just come to my mind that you might be thinking I'm referring to pornography in a prurient way. You couldn't be further from the truth: I'm referring to what south Floridians call Storm Porn. Engaging in Storm Porn is the act of looking at every media outlet's take on the latest tropical disturbance and tracking the progress of storms on your computer or plotting them on a wall chart, complete with millibar data and little curling arrows to indicate anticyclonic movements or vertical wind shear. Of course, one must flout this knowledge with every human one meets.

In the span of 3 years, I've experienced Irene, Frances, Jeanne, Katrina and Wilma. I've gone days without power, cable, Internet, telephone, cell phone, water and sewage. Most recently, Wilma caused raw sewage to run in the street in front of my house for four days. FOUR DAYS! You'd think I was back to living in the slums of Bethesda.

Through no fault of their own, the Storm Porn industry's producers are relying upon one of the strongest sets of marketing tactics known to humankind: fear, uncertainty and doubt. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center releases storm data every three hours with major updates every six. The data is easily accessible online, through phones and, of course, the television. You can view images and video clips across a wide spectrum, including infrared, water vapor, visible, shortwave, Dvorak and many others. There are six different modeling tools that provide guidance and an endless supply of official meteorologists parroting data and half-a-million people who, overnight, become experts and babble incessantly. And you can't help but watch and listen to each one with rapt attention.

As a user of the Firefox browser, there's an extension called ForecastFox which keeps me pretty much up to date on the weather and does so without any ads or annoying popups. My Treo obtains the data through NOAA's mobile product, which is very nice when I'm stuck in a 16-mile traffic jam on I-95 whilst trying to evacuate. Storm Porn is pretty handy that way, though: you pretty much know when you're doomed prior to actually entering the state of doom. Gives you time to do all sorts of things, really, such as getting out of one's car and yelling at people.

Storm Porn continues after a storm, too. All the photos of devastation and loss are so compelling, so riveting. You really can't imagine what its like to lose everything, but Storm Porn almost puts you in a state of mind where you think you can imagine it happening to you. Just like the other kind of porn, hmmm?

Jeff Pasternack is the president of Dynamic Consulting Group, a franchise partner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and author of the TechnoPeasant Review.
If you have questions or comments about this column, please write to him at