Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Frightening lightning

June 13, 2014

Holy Thor, you guys. I was almost struck by lightning this week. Wednesday, I was walking out of a grocery store and into a monsoon.

We won’t name the store, but here’s a hint: It’s the one Little Orphan Annie bet on. A thunderous crack of lightning struck the parking lot. It felt like the bolt was all around me. It struck in front of me. I thought I was hit. Ironically, I thought there would be no tomorrow (now, I’m just giving away the name of the store).

I’ve never been afraid of weather before. I knew it could kill me.

All winter I thought I would freeze in my tracks, walking from the bus stop to the office. I half expected to be a Micicle in February.

Also, you hear about guys dropping dead shoveling the driveway, but technically that’s a heart attack, and any good insurance man would say it wasn’t the weather that killed them.

Side note: Oddly enough, this was not my first near miss with lightning. When I was 13, my then-uncle Mark picked me up from summer theater camp (Hence, the reason I know songs from “Annie!”), and a bolt of lightning struck in front of his car. He tried to swerve out of the way, but we drove right into it. I was 13, and that was a long, long, long time ago, but I remember the car sizzled. I think the rubber on the tires protected us. Only my then-uncle Mark could verify the details. As he was an uncle by marriage, he is a un-uncle by divorce, and could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, I darted to the car. Another bolt struck. It was farther away, but at this point, I was terrified. I got inside the car, safe and sound. Then, I noticed that the parking lot was deserted.

The smart people stayed in the grocery store and waited for the rain to let up a little. I made a pact with God. I asked Him, “Could I not die in a weather-related incident? That would be stupid.” I don’t know if He agreed. God, also, could not be reached for comment.

I thought about the Norse god (small g version), comic book hero and movie star, Thor. Lightning was a much more powerful weapon in his arsenal than I thought.

I never gave him much credit for that. I thought the flying and the strength were cool, but I didn’t give the control over weather thing much credence. Of course, if I had that superpower it would be 80 degrees every day, and farmers would be taking pitchforks and torches to my house.

Another side note: Thor was a Viking god. He probably isn’t pretty. I’m guessing he doesn’t look anything like Chris Hemsworth. He probably looks more like those guys from “Duck Dynasty.”

You can bet your Bottom Dollar I’ll be more cautious when walking in the rain.



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