Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Storms & Space Alien Pollen

A terrific storm blew through our corner of the world between 7 and 8 o'clock yesterday evening, featuring high winds and the unnerving waaaaaa of the municipal tornado siren. I was sure we were going to lose power but we didn't. Yet reportedly some 239,000 households not too far away did.

The Herald News reported this weather-related oddity today: "The storms even damaged a pollen-catching machine atop Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park that provides the Midwest’s official daily allergy count, according to the hospital. A doctor had to manually reshape the blades of the pollen-catching machine to put it back in working order, just in time to measure Wednesday’s high mold count."

How Gottlieb Memorial received the honor of being the allergy-measuring nexus for the entire Midwest, and why a doctor on staff would know enough about the machine to "manually reshape" the blades, I couldn't say. Doesn't mean I can't speculate, though. Maybe he's an allergist and the machine's his pet project. Anyway, picture the scene: his lab coat whipping to and fro in the high winds, the doc climbs to the perch on the roof where the machine, blades banging uselessly, needs his attention. With minutes to spare, he wrestles with the blades and puts them in working order, just in time for the computers at the NWS to read the data.

Yes, that's very cinematic. Could be a subplot of some movie: a doc devoted to his allergy-counting duties, so much that it causes domestic friction with a wife or lover who's feeling neglected. As second-fiddle to a pollen-catching machine, who wouldn't feel that way? But the doc's dedication helps the hero save a busload of school children -- or the entire tri-state area -- or the USA -- or all of mankind, why not -- when he detects invading space alien pollen.



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