Living in New Hampshire is boring. Our weather leans heavily to cold, ice, snow, and mud interspersed with brief bouts of sunshine and black flies. We rarely get hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes. When we do, we’re usually too busy doing something else to realize it until we pick up a newspaper or watch the Weather Channel. Our climate is ill-suited to man-killing gators or lions. We post warnings about moose (deadly if hit with a car) and bears. The bears don’t scare us, we just want out-of-staters to know we’re hard-core. Probably the most fearsome creature in New Hampshire is the skunk.
Striped Skunk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Our relative lack of natural disasters and scary predators leads many of our citizens, myself included, to regard the other 49 states as a veritable smorgasbord of danger and potential death. Still, many of our snowbirds make an annual trek to Florida, and most of them make it back alive. Even so, I believe that Florida is the most dangerous of the fifty states, ill-suited to a restful vacation.
Reason #1 – Sinkholes
Sure, there are sinkholes in other places, but Florida’s devour people in bed and make houses disappear. No way I can get a decent night’s sleep waiting for the earth to open up and swallow me whole.
Reason #2 – Pythons
It’s estimated that the Florida Everglades is home to over 150,000 Burmese pythons. Florida’s recent Python Hunt captured 68 of them. Burmese pythons are among the largest snake species, growing to 7 feet or more and weighing up to 200 pounds. They hang out in trees, until they become too large to be airborne, and then they slither along the ground, strangling and swallowing whole small mammals and birds. In Florida, if the sinkhole doesn’t swallow you, a python might.
Python (Photo credit: Aoife Cahill)
Reason #3 – Hurricanes
Florida’s hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30. In the twentieth century, 158 hurricanes hit the US. Florida had the most landfalls at 57. In 2004, Florida played host to four hurricanes. If the nature of tornadoes is to find and destroy trailer parks, the nature of hurricanes is to find Florida.
The MODIS sensor aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of Hurricane Charley on August 13 at 12:35 p.m. EDT. At the time this image was taken Charley was rapidly gaining strength and would reach category 4 status just 90 minutes later. Maximum sustained winds at 2:00 p.m. were at 145 mph and Charley was moving towards the north-northeast at 20 mph. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Reason #4 – Disney World.
Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Disney World is ground zero for a viral or bacterial apocalypse. Hordes of people eating junk food and suffering sleep deprivation, jammed together for hours in rides, lines, and around Goofy are the perfect fuel for a terrorist attack. Once released into the depressed immune systems of Disney-goers, a short incubation period should help spread the disease as vacationers crowd into airports, roadside diners, trains, and cruise ships. I have seen this apocalypse (in my dreams) and curse Disney World in advance for the demise of civilization. Watch out for the coughing guy in a wheelchair, he’s patient zero.
Reason #5- Super-sized mosquitoes
The Midwest has locusts, the Northeast has black flies, but Florida is gearing up for an invasion of giant mosquitoes. Hungry mosquitoes, the size of a quarter, will make Florida an even more uncomfortable place, with or without insect repellant. Think of the sheer expanse of flesh available to Florida’s mosquitoes. Flesh exposed on beaches, golf courses, and in convertibles, easily accessible due to tank tops, shorts, flip-flops, and bathing suits. It’s not wild speculation to think that Florida’s mosquitoes will get bigger each year, until, like in a SyFy movie, they’re big enough to swoop down and carry people into the air. Visiting Florida is only adding fuel to the fire.
If you’re looking for a lovely, non-lethal vacation, instead of Florida, consider New Hampshire. As the Granite State, we stand firm on our policy against sinkholes. In honor of our Live Free or Die motto, we are armed and willing to exterminate any pythons or poisonous snakes that would ruin your quiet enjoyment. Though our weather might be overcast, cold, and windy, we don’t evacuate and, if we did, there’s plenty of ways to get out of town. New Hampshire’s own amusement park, Canobie Lake, isn’t a target for world destruction, mainly because only people from New Hampshire and Massachusetts go there. And don’t listen to what people say. Massachusetts might annoy us, but we’re not ready to get rid of them yet.
As far as bugs go, we’re pretty proud of our black flies. They might not be super-sized, but they’re like New Hampshire, they pack a big punch in a little package. Come and see us. Chances are, you’ll survive your vacation with nothing worse than a few bug bites and some windburn.
Live Free Or Die (Photo credit: jcbwalsh)