Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas over the weekend, bringing unprecedented levels of rainfall and flooding to the region. It was a storm of catastrophic proportions, the ferocity and unusual trajectory of which can at least in part be attributed to a rapidly changing climate.
Yet, for every catastrophe that is wrought upon the earth, humanity will proffer forth a hero. Some poor sod, brave and naive enough in equal measure, will inevitably poke their head above the parapet and turn themselves into a beacon of light; of hope, and inspiration. In lieu of actual superheroes sporting capes however, we must reign in our expectations, inflated by fiction. The heroes we have will not be Batman, nor Superman not even that prick who was bitten by that spider. Instead it has fallen to a man who was forced by his employer MSNBC, to stand on a small, vanguard island in the centre of the storm's trajectory to relay incredibly frantic looking updates on just how stormy it has been. This is admittedly a less compelling backstory to the origins of a hero than the aforementioned crowd, I doubt we should brace ourselves for 'Weatherman' being added to the MCU anytime soon.
The man's name is Gadi Schwartz. The island that he was marooned on by his employer was, aptly, Radio Island. Gadi Schwartz, in his incredibly water-laden blue anorak and baseball cap - as defiant an item of clothing as one could possibly choose in a hurricane - was seemingly given one task and one task only: to find the the most dangerous and inappropriate looking parts of the island for a human to stand, and then conduct a live weather report from there.
"But what if the wind tries to knock me over," we can imagine Gadi Schwartz imploring as his editor informed him that he was being sent to cover the storm. "Gadi, I am not responsible for the actions of the wind, hell, I do all I can to not even be held accountable for my own actions around the office. What I will say is that if things get a bit out of hand, perhaps stand on the leeward side of a particularly sturdy tree that seems unlikely to be uprooted onto you, or perhaps cling to a fence. Good luck." And with that we can imagine Gadi being sent out, toward the island, a lump in his throat and his reporter's microphone stuffed into a sort of zip-lock bag.
Just look at these damn reports of Gadi Schwatz who, and I presume no official accolade exists for this, may have temporarily been the Western hemisphere's wettest man:
— Greg Yarbrough (@GregYarbrough) September 13, 2018
— Seekandfind (@Seekandfind) September 13, 2018
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 14, 2018
Can we just take a moment again to appreciate Gadi's insistence on wearing a damn cap throughout a hurricane. Short of wearing some sort of novelty sombrero, a cap is easily one of the most difficult pieces of apparel to get to grips with in high wind. And yet, despite this, Gadi impressively spends almost no time in any of these videos clutching on to it for dear life. This leads us on to two possible theories re: Gadi's cap.
Theorem 1: Gadi is a man who takes his caps seriously. He is a man who takes his caps so seriously that he has them custom-fitted and moulded to the exact shape of his head by some sort of cap-tailor and consequently they have achieved a level of fittedness that us slovenly mortals, who content ourselves with caps bought off the rack, can only dream of.
Theorem 2: Gadi loves caps so much that he has had one surgically implanted onto his head. Perhaps as some sort of ill-advised act of personal sponsorship.
Yet maybe there is another option, maybe Gadi, with his well-fitted cap, had been using it as a sort of 'canary down the mine' so as to adjudge how dangerous the wind levels were. If it remained stuck to his head then he knew that he was still standing and reporting from a spot that was in the 'goldilocks zone' of appearing suitably dangerous, yet if ever it was to be blown off then he would know that his life was in immediate peril.
Evidently, as an Irish person watching this, it is impossible to see the plight of Gadi Schwartz and not be reminded of Teresa Mannion's now notorious 2015 broadcast from Salthill during Storm Desmond. They are cut from the same cloth, the same rain-sodden cloth. It would only be fitting for Gadi to be similarly honoured, idolised for his willingness to stand in some comprehensively shit weather just so we can get a visual representation of just how profoundly unpleasant it looks. All so that we, as viewers can be thankful that we are not, in that moment, Gadi Schwartz. That is his gift to us, this is the heroism of Gadi Schwartz - to be Gadi Schwawrtz so that no one else has to.